These Hands Don't Belong to a Lady

*Note Scarlett's cleverly crafted frock, cut from the curtains at Tara...that's one resourceful chick!
Lately I've been thinking a lot about a certain scene from Gone with the Wind, in which Scarlett, impoverished by the war, feigns love for Rhett, hoping he will rescue her family from financial ruin. Rhett takes the bait, so glad to support her and have her love at last. All is going well... until he holds her hands in his.

The jig is up: "These hands don't belong to a lady!" Rhett scolds. "You've been working with them like a field hand! Why did you lie to me, and what are you really up to?" 

Busted. She's not what she's pretending to be, and he knows it. Her hands have given her away.

Last week I traveled to Manhattan for a few meetings, which felt like a step back in time for me. I ate at chic restaurants, traveled around in hired cars, and sipped expensive cocktails. And while I mostly felt right at home, a little voice in my head nagged at me: "do you think they've noticed your hands?" Since I last spent time in the Big Apple, my hands have changed considerably.

They are now the muscular hands of a hard working woman. Hands that bare the scars of  kitchen knives, sewing needles, hand saws, and poor hammer/nail calculations -- with cuticles torn and tattered, marked by particles of soil and paint no nail brush has been able to touch...calloused by trowels and rakes and the occasional wheel-barrel...hard laboring hands, that feel at home in both dirt and dough. In a word: rugged.

I suppose I could have gotten a manicure. But honestly, it never occurred to me.

I've changed a lot in the past few years, in hundreds of subtle, almost imperceptible ways. And then, there are the glaring changes too tangible to overlook...such as the fact that my ability to walk in high heels has all but vanished, and waiting in lines is now infinitely more irksome, and eating microwave dinners somehow feels like a compromise of character. And of course, there are my hands.

In many ways, our bodies tell the story of our lives. My tale is becoming a narrative about loving the land and working hard. My hands let you know I spend lots of time digging in the dirt and very little shopping at chic boutiques or eating at Michelin-rated restaurants. My hands make it clear I am not--as I once thought I would be--a "fancy lady."

And frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

Allison (May 26, 2011 at 9:05 AM)  

Couldn't have said it better myself! I think I am in the same exact boat as you...and I don't for one minute, miss the salon trips, expensive suits and stuffy meals :)

Weekend Cowgirl (May 28, 2011 at 11:46 AM)  

My hands say that I have been on the farm way too long without a manicure. I could really use one soon! But honestly, the cows do not care!!

Courtney (May 31, 2011 at 10:50 PM)  

I have dirt under my nails more often than I care to admit, and new scratches seem to appear by the day. Not to mention my hair is usually pulled back into a braid or bun where I occasionally forget to pick the stray piece of plant out of it before leaving the farm. It's a messy life, but one certainly well lived!

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