A condition in which abnormally short fingers are joined or webbed in their proximal portions.
This condition affects 1 out of 32,000 births, and I luckily happen to be one of them.
It’s a congenital abnormality (meaning you are born with it) that typically affects one hand. A bone may be missing from the finger, but in some cases the entire digit is absent. Although the cause of this defect is still a mystery, it may be a result of a lack of blood flow to the area or for some other problem with the tissue during fetal development.
In my case, my left hand is affected; I have short nub like fingers with an almost normal size thumbnail. But don’t feel too sorry for me, because it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds! It’s honestly made me who I am today!
I didn’t feel different from anyone else in the beginning. I grew up surrounded by friends and family who did a fantastic job of supporting me and loving me unconditionally. In fact, it became one of their favorite things about me! They were amazed by how quickly I adapted to my condition and there’s even that I could things that I can do better than they could! I played basketball better than some of the guys on my street. I typed faster than anyone in my family – so fast that my older brother asked me to write all his papers for school (annoying!). I drew so good that my art teachers wanted me to pursue it as a career. I could go on and on about my accomplishments!
Everything changed once I started elementary school. That’s when I began to realize I was different my friends and that my hand wasn’t a source of amazement anymore. I began to feel humiliated by my difference instead of unique.
I will never forget the first stares, whispers and comments I received from the my classmates. I don’t blame them though. They had never seen a hand like mine before and they certainly didn’t know what Symbrachydactyly was.
I did blame them a bit, I thought they were mean to me just because I didn’t not look like them. I wasn’t your so called “normal”.
Eventually, I didn’t want to go to school anymore. School was something that used to be so fun and educational for me but it turned into something I dreaded. I would lie and tell my mom I was sick for days on end. Of course she caught on to me after a while, and it prompted a conversation with her that I will never forget. This was the first time we talked about how my hand being different might affect more than my ability to physically do certain things, specifically – that it meant I would have to deal with being bullied about it. It was a good talk, an amazing talk, and one that I desperately needed. My mom helped me realize that there is no such thing as “normal.” Everyone has their abnormalities, but mine just happens to be more visible than most people’s. She told me that when they bully me about my hand, it isn’t really about me at all! Instead, they are projecting their own insecurities onto me.
I went to school the next day with a little more confidence the next day…
Now as much as I’d like to say school was a breeze from that day on, it wasn’t. BUT it definitely made me more resilient to being bullied. . What helped even more were the amazing friends I made along the way who saw past my hand being a little different – I loved them!
Life with my friends was pretty normal. I went to sleepovers, hung out with my friends at the mall, sang in was choir, loved art classes, danced and even played basketball with the boys on my street. As I transitioned from middle school to high school, things stayed pretty even. I partied, went on dates, and even a couple of “boyfriends” along the way.
The bullying never fully went away, and despite the amazing support I had from my friends, I still sometimes suffered from lack of self-confidence. That is, until I met someone who made me realize the truth behind this quote:
“One day someone will love the one thing you once disliked about yourself.”
Fast forward to 2011 when my first “love” and I rekindled our relationship. We were a thing my senior year of High school in ’08. Though we went our separate ways after graduating, he never actually left my thoughts or my heart.
Seven years later and we are still madly and deeply in love!
This amazing man showed me how to be – ME. He taught me to not be bothered by other people’s opinions, even his own. I can honestly say that until I met him, I wasn’t fully confident about letting people know about my hand – I was very skilled at hiding it. His words and his love made me get the confidence I should have always had.
Little did I know that he would come with two tiny amazing humans that were just as supportive of me and my differences. I gained two “unofficial” step children. It’s amazing to me to see my step daughter want to ONLY my special hand. The love of them always wanting to support me and hold my hand makes me feel so confident and loved.
By holding my special hand, they hold a special place in my heart.
I believe that having a uniqueness made me who I am today – Living and loving life with the most amazing man, fur child and two incredible step children. I wouldn’t trade anything for this life I live!