Symbrachydactyly and Me
I have a congenital hand defect of my left hand, symbrachydactyly. I was born different, but it took me a long time to determine the “difference.” As a small child, I would notice how family members would stare at me and shake their heads with shame during family gatherings. However, I was too young to know they were gawking at my hand. I just knew that they were not very nice people and I did not want to be around them. This made me very timid and withdrawn that those qualities eventually followed me into adulthood. I became known as “mean” and antisocial amongst my family members because I never wanted to attend any events. If I was forced to attend a gathering, I sat in a corner by myself so no one could stare at me or say something hurtful or offensive.
I have always loved to learn so school was my safe haven until one of my classmates shouted that I was “handicapped.” This broke my heart because, until that moment, everyone in school always accepted me. That moment changed the course of my childhood and how I would make it through the rest of my schooling. I put up so many barriers and became so cold. I pretty much hated everything and everyone around me. I did not know how to cope with being teased and bullied at school as well as around some of my family.
Once I started college, I began my journey of personal discovery which led me to more self-love. Even though the bullying continued in college, I did not respond the same way that I used to. This time, I was more in-tune with myself. I no longer needed to play this tough and mean character to convince others that I was not weak. I was able to be my authentic and mild-mannered self.
Through adulthood, I have had to deal with my share of asinine comments, people afraid of being near me, and frequent stares. I have learned there are many ignorant people in this world but, battles must be chosen wisely. I feel like a lot of my childhood was wasted on moments of pain and sadness ergo, happiness and wellness are now a daily occurrence. My birth defect is now one of my favorite body parts.
I have learned to forgive myself for the shame and regret I had about past experiences. You are a product of your environment. Therefore, you will act accordingly. People fear what they do not understand. Thus, being an anomaly arouses panic in some people. I know that every time I leave my house I may be subjected to ridicule, but that does not prevent me from loving and living my best life.