Valentine’s Day is this week, so what better theme for the blog than love? I’ll be sharing my thoughts on finding love, as will my beautiful wife, but today we kick things off with the hilariously talented Kristy Desilets. Kristy is a teacher in the Boston area who likes to run, loves expressing herself creatively, and secretly wishes she had twenty cats. Shhhh. I met Kristy a couple weeks ago and love her perspective. I hope you’re inspired by her confidence!
Hi, I’m Kristy, and I was born with only a right hand.
That’s not my usual introduction line to strangers, by the way. As a guest blogger on the topic of finding love, Ryan suggested discussing this question: Had I ever been nervous that I’d never find love because of my (one) hand? To answer that question, I pose another: When was the last time you heard a guy comment, “Wow, that chick’s got a great pair of hands!” Never. That’s when. Turns out most guys don’t care so much about hands. Huh.
And the truth is that (bit of shameless bragging here) I’ve never had a shortage of male admirers. Plenty of friends from high school, college, and beyond have confessed to having crushes on me. That’s probably why, when one two-handed friend bluntly asked me if I thought I was single because I have one hand, I raised a confused eyebrow. No, I had never given that thought any airtime, but thanks for planting the nice idea in my head.
Instead, my dating insecurities over the years have all been nauseatingly normal. Will he think I talk too much? Am I being too picky? Do I flirt correctly? Are all the good guys taken already? Does my butt look too big in these jeans? Honestly, several years back, I was way more worried about my weight than having five fingers. However, thanks to lots of practice in positive thinking, I was able to quiet down many of those negative voices and accept myself, imperfections and all. No, my confidence is not a ruse. These days I think I’m pretty awesome, but it took awhile to think that way. And, I should mention, no woman should worry about having a bit of “junk in the trunk” because guys like that stuff. Case in point, just look at J-Lo.
Living in my five-fingered body, the knowledge of being slightly different is simultaneously ever-present and non-existent. At the same time that I “forget” about having one hand, I also am constantly aware of it. It’s a weird contradiction, but it makes sense to me. On a first date, I tend to half-consciously tone down my hand gestures when telling stories (sorry to my Italian ancestors) and make my left hand less conspicuous until the topic comes up. The guy almost never brings it up. It’s always me. Once that happens, or I realize it’s date two and I ought to at least mention my hand, the guy usually shrugs, tells me he’s already noticed, and has no questions because he’s cool with it. It’s as much of an issue as my hair color. Like I said, most guys don’t care a lot about hands.
In fact, I don’t think most people care as much as I imagine they do. For that reason, it seems sort of silly to announce an irrelevant trait about myself when meeting someone for the first time (see also: first sentence of this post). If some guy introduced himself on a first date, “Hi, I’m Jim, and I have dyslexia,” I’d think it was sort of odd to bring up out of context. Rather, I want people to remember me first for the things that shape my personality: “I met this cool girl Kristy today. She’s a teacher, an artist, a runner, a language learner… and she laughs a lot.”
Many of us might believe that our differences make others uncomfortable about getting close to us, when they actually don’t. We need to give others much more credit than that. If I were to say, “Who would ever love me? I’ve got only one hand,” I would literally be insulting the intelligence and depth of the wonderful guys who have been interested in me over the years. Every guy I’ve dated has been sweet, smart, and thoughtful. Anyone who IS bothered by it obviously wouldn’t click with me anyway. Better to get that sorted out in the first couple of dates.
All that said, I really think that the dating world is the same for me as it is for any single guy or gal: sometimes fun, sometimes aggravating. A lot of it is simply good luck or timing. The biggest key to dating success (and, I assume, ultimately finding love) is to really love and accept yourself. That’s true no matter who you are or what difference you may have. Because if you don’t think you’re awesome just as you are, how can you expect to advertise that convincingly to a potential partner? For me, it was not until I gained an acceptance of my flawed self that I truly was ready to open up to the possibility of finding love. And I’m ready now.
Bring it on, love.
Share your thoughts! As a parent, did this help? If you are limb-different, has your experience been similar to Kristy’s?