The claw is my right hand. Yep, that's how I've lovingly referred to it for years. However, it's not so claw-like since my most recent surgery where they insterted a metal plate running from my elbow to my wrist, then put pins into the joints of my fingers to stop them 'clawing'. Yes, sometimes I beep at airports. In 2015, when flying out of Brisbane the female security guard actually said "Next time, I recommend you not have so much metal on you". NOTE TO SELF - cut off arm, remove resin plate from skull and don't forget my passport. Easy.
So, as I've said in past posts, having a mandatory style overhaul because of paralysis was kind of hard to adjust to. Feminitity, by definition, is made up by a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles associated or portayed with/by women...but sometimes, it's the 'superficial' things like hair, nails, makeup and clothes that determine whether a women feels feminine. My long hair had to be 'removed' multiple times for surgery, but it's now grown back...mysteriously white blonde, not the brown hue it was before ;-) Although, it frustrates me everyday that I can't tie it up. If anyone knows a secret technique for bunning or ponytail-ing hair with one hand - pleassssseee share. Now, from hair to hands. A woman's hands, fingers and nails can say a lot. She's terrible at applying fake tan or she takes care of herself. Not everyone is amazing at applying nail polish but when you can't actually try and fail to do your nails yourself, it's annoying. For years I've waited until a steady-handed friend has come over and then I've proceeded to casually drop into the conversation "oh while you're here, would you mind painting my nails?"...Even that gets tiresome. So just before I moved to Melbourne, I started getting my nails done. Acrylics on my left-hand and just a manicure/polish on my right. $20p/ month to make me feel a lil' more 'feminine'? Yep, done. Some girls have their heels, I have my nails.
You guys might be thinking, is she serious? Of all the issues facing women, she chooses to talk about nails? But it is an important issue that the health care industry never considers - beauty and disability. They're not meant to go together. Well, yes they are in fact. From the moment I could decide which colour gym pants to wear to rehab (and the coordinating hat), I wanted to regain control over my appearance. If I applied mascara, my eyes would be the focus, not my shaved head and so what if I was in a wheelchair, that didn't mean I couldn't wear a LBD! Girls will be girls and ladies will be ladies - the rules of style and beauty don't go out the window if you've got a disability. Everyone you encounter on your recovery journey has the same goal, to get you back to what you once were - speech, mobility and general motor skills. Feeling beautiful and feeling confident, whatever it takes to achieve that, is just as important.