I have a not-particularly-secret secret: skeleton hands.
I'm not sure they were always this way, but at some point in college, I realized I could always see the finger bones, even when I wasn't doing anything, even when my hand was just sitting on a table.
Worse yet is the view from the inside. There's basically no flesh on any part of my palms. Not only can you always see the bones from that side, too, you can run your finger across them for a disgusting-xylophone moment.
Living anatomy lessons.
On the plus side, I do have a convenient, portable cup located somewhere between my thumb and my wrist. It's not-quite-shot sized, but it's close enough.
Gross, Jilly. Just gross.
So why am I talking about my freakish hands?
Because I forget about them all the time. I forget not only that they look like part of a discounted Halloween lawn-decoration, but that they can't do things I want them to...at least not as easily as other people seem to do those things.
The other day, I went to open a bottle of cava. I tried to grip the cork...nope. Not working. The more I tried, the more painful it became (this happens almost immediately; no flesh or muscle as padding makes a jar top, or the lip of a bottle, surprisingly torturous).
Finally I wedged the bottle between my legs, tried to just hold the cork, and used my other (also mostly worthless) hand to twist the entire bottle.
Success. Which I immediately celebrated with Cava.
It got me thinking: maybe creativity is kind of like my skeleton hands? (This thought may have been induced by large quantities of cava.)
There are things that I dive into--either because I have to (metaphorical jar of foods-I'm-hungry-for) or want to (metaphorical cava)--over and over, either forgetting how painful they'll be, or unable to not do them, regardless of whether they'll hurt.
Creating something is like trying to get the top off a jar that you can't seem to grip, you don't have the strength to open, and which hurts you just to hold tightly.
And yet so many of us keep trying to open stubbornly-stuck jars--the perfect song, or story, or illustration.
There are all these things that get in the way of creativity, of getting your idea to become a thing that lives outside your head. Our hands refuse to do the thing our brain is telling them to. But having obstacles in the way might not be so bad. It might even be a gift. Because then you have to figure out some other way to get there, something you'll remember next time, something that lets you achieve the thing you wanted.
Of course other people might not have metaphorical skeleton hands. Maybe they just crack open jar after jar with laughably little effort.
But the thing is, I kinda LIKE my skeleton hands, even though they're stupid-looking and occasionally hold me up. When I do crack open a jar it feels like such an accomplishment. Which is kinda tragic if you think about it literally, so don't, just pretend it's a deep metaphor.
...one whose deficiencies I'll blame on my skeleton hands.