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Every thing is something

Courtesy of Alexis Schlesinger

By Alexis Schlesinger

Editorial Staff

My whole life I’ve held a sort of pride in my soft skin, especially my hands. Some people have even told me they were jealous of it. 

This winter, for the first time in my life, I’ve had dry skin.

It started sometime in October, and the current condition of my hands is sort of alarming. I have scabs across all of my knuckles. The skin that isn’t speckled brown is dotted with red, as open wounds continue to form and my skin cracks apart. 

I’ve tried everything short of going to a dermatologist, which I simply don’t have time for. 

It doesn’t matter if I drink tons of water to hydrate, if I soak my hands in water, if I use some sort of moisturizer. The dryness persists.

It could be the cold, but I don’t spend much time outside lately.

It could be stress, but the cracking doesn’t appear anywhere but the back of my hands - though it has started to creep in the other direction, up my fingers. 

The state of my hands has been especially jarring for me, not because of the pain, the urge to scratch at them, or even because they’ve become quite an eyesore.

My hands have always felt very symbolic to me.

A lot of things in my life do. 

I’ve always loved metaphors, analogies, and symbolism. I understand Shakespeare and poetry very well. I think and feel poetically. Thoughts and feelings make more sense in an art form. 

Art brings hope. It brings beautiful things to light. 

Romanticism - the state or quality of being romantic. 

How do we go on with being hopeful, how do we go on producing beautiful things, if not to romanticize the lives we live?

And what is poetry, what is symbolism, if not their own art.  

It’s the reason why we write letters. The reason we photograph moments we love. The reason we keep a box filled with every little piece of someone we’ve ever received.

It’s why we wish on stars, it’s why we don’t let our friends “split the pole” on the sidewalk. It’s why “third time’s the charm.”

We keep trying.

Funny thing about my hands - despite the numerous tiny wounds, and the scabs that have become more like scales, they still work exactly the same.

They aren’t soft anymore, but they still write my feelings all the same. They still hold what I love with gentleness. 

They still take my photos. They still drive me to school. They still carefully clasp my favorite necklace around my neck. 

The consistent stinging is only unbearable when I give it attention. It is easily ignorable when I’m doing what I love. When I’m with who I love. There is so much beauty in my life that is much more important.

Is it really worth giving the pain that much attention either way? 

I do what I can to manage it. I stay hydrated and moisturize. I wear gloves in the cold. I take care of them as well as I can. It’s unrealistic to think I can ignore it completely until it goes away.

But it’s not worth trying to give it more attention than I can. If I spent all my time worrying about my dry skin, my tiny scrapes, and my scales, it would eat away the time I should be spending on the art of my life. 

My hands are my greatest metaphor - they care for what I love. I hope you can find your own metaphors in life, and that you see the same beauty in them. 

Make what you have your own. 

Worship. Symbolize. Wish. Romanticize. 



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