I am trying to practise being more spontaneous. So, when my housemate said there was a union trip to the seaside, and I wasn’t already doing anything else, I thought, why not. It is a truth universally acknowledged that swimming in the sea is far superlative to swimming in a pool, and even if the weather were to be rubbish, there’s plenty to do at the seaside.
And I got up early, and got the bus to the coach, and went on the coach, and got through the Bank Holiday traffic, and went on the beach and in the sea, and had fun with a toddler and her mother, and my housemate, and we took photos, and came home again.
We return home, and I check my ‘phone camera. And there are photos of the beach and the sky and the sand because the weather was gorgeous and these things make me happy. And there are photos of my bust, smiling in the water, my right-side hidden from view.
But there are more. Photos of me with my back to the shore, walking into the water, arms akimbo as I try not to fall over. God is taking care of most my sense of balance for now. One of the things I would dearly love to have back. God knows best.
I instagram the photos. Most of them. Not the ones of me walking to the water. They are horrid and repellent and ugly. I am ugly and unsymmetrical and unattractive. I know that it is because my mother always called on me to hide my right arm before photos were taken. There are very few of me where the disability is visible as child or adult because she reminds me still.
On Sunday, my housemate does the instagramming. I didn’t know she’d taken any pictures. Me, looking into my flower press; hand furled. Ugly, the children at school called it. Ugly, ugly, ugly hand. Stupid hand that doesn’t work.
I hate my body. Not just for what it can’t do, but for the way it appears. And the way it appears isn’t the way that my head tells me it appears; my mind sees my arm as central, not sideways, not unbalanced.
The reminder that it isn’t this way is horrid. I want to be symmetrical.