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big hands

So there’s this girl with big hands. Some people say “massive.” Certainly above average for girls her age. Puberty hit her early—in 5th grade, she got her first gloves, and by 7th grade, she’d already grown out of all her gloves. She went back to the mall with her mom and had to buy all new gloves—black, white, nude, pink. She felt pretty insecure at school since most of the other girls were still wearing sports gloves or training gloves. They didn’t need to be fitted for gloves yet—small, medium, large would do. She tried to hide her hands under baggy sweatshirts or shrink them down with super tight gloves. Sometimes she could barely breathe in these super tight gloves, but she didn’t care—anything to make her hands appear smaller, a more normal size for her 13-year-old body.

The boys loved her hands. Starting high school, she was instantly deemed popular for her tall physique, athleticism, kind smile, and big hands. The boys wanted her and the girls wanted them—those voluptuous, perky twins that fed both her popularity and her eating disorder. My hands are big, so I’m fat, she convinced herself. Yes—if I want to shrink my hands, I must shrink the rest of me, too.

And so, she began her journey. A journey to a life that didn’t require gloves with every outfit, for fear of the twins bouncing and hurting when she stepped too quickly. A life filled with talking to boys who didn’t glance down at her hands every other sentence but seemed to like the brain inside her body. A life in which she didn’t think twice about appearing too revealing, unprofessional, provocative when getting dressed for school. A journey to perfection, as she elevated it in her mind.

She disguised the journey as getting better at sports. Her excessively-long runs were to build endurance. Cutting out sweets and carbs was justified as “eating healthy.” And it was working; the super tight gloves fit rather comfortably now, and she flaunted her progress with more fitted clothing. Her collarbone began to pop, her jawline sharpened like a blade, and she grew increasingly short-tempered. Her gloves grew too loose, so she sized-down for a whole new wardrobe. A boy didn’t like her back, so she continued to shrink—those damned, too-big hands. Once they are small, once I am small, I will have it all.

The doctor called it anorexia and bulimia when her mom brought her in. She was one of those girls now—sick, weak, superficial—for letting prettiness prevail. And yet, her hands weren’t small enough yet.

They will never be small enough yet. Not at 13, not at 16, certainly not at 18 when she started drinking and her hands grew even larger. Not at 23 when she stops playing sports, not at 27 when exercise turns to hot-girl-walks before work. Certainly not in her 30s when she has kids and those hands inflate like balloons. Perhaps in her 40s, though—when pregnancy is out of the picture—she can return to no sweets and pulling trig and a short, short temper to shrink those hands back down to where they were at 13-years-old. Or better yet, she can pay for a hand reduction; yes, she can reduce herself to the exact size she craves. And then, when she has fixed all the things she hates about herself, perhaps she will be perfect—perhaps she will love herself, then.

I want to tell her that, perhaps, it is time to stop complaining. Because there will forever be girls that want your hands, and you will want their hands, and you will both want to switch, and what will you both want want want next? And there will forever be clothes that look good on those small-handed-girls, but are tight tight tight around your curves; clothes that accentuate your beautiful hands, but hang off small-handed-girls like a rag. And there will even be girls with bigger hands than yours; yes, girls that crave a smaller glove size—a size like yours.

So, I just want to ask her: When will you shut up and move on?

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