[This week Julie Goucher has asked us to describe our physical self in the Book of Me, Written by You Challenge. This is my response.]
If you are friends with my through social networks, you might think I’m a 10 lb. Jack Russell Terrier. I am usually behind the camera, not in front of it.
(Me and Misha having a good laugh as she sings Happy Birthday to You last year)
So, how would I describe myself? I would say I am a mass of contradictions. I’m short, midget short as my nieces like to remind me (they’re short too.) I’m only 4 ft 10 inches. Short runs on my Dad’s side of the family. My Grandfather loved to tell the story of how he got Grandma into the circus under the child price because she was so small (4′ 9″). Grandpa wasn’t much taller.
I’m small and thin, with a childlike build. At 49, I still buy my clothes in the kids department since petites don’t fit right (just like ergonomics equipment is never the right height or width). I have dark green eyes that people seem confused at what color they are.
(Kindergarten…the last time I was one of the tallest kids in my class.)
I can’t remember any scars. There are signs that the big toe on my right foot was broken at some time in my life. But, you can only see that with x-rays.
All my life people have thought I was younger than I am. So much younger that in my early thirties I was mistaken for one of my brother’s children. Their oldest was about 10 at the time.
On the other hand, my hair went prematurely grey, starting when I was 14. It’s long, wavy, and a mix of brown and gray now. I’ve let it go gray and I have to admit that I enjoy the confused looks as people try to match the face, the height, and the gray.
I have had a deep, powerful voice since I was little. Teachers were always surprised when the smallest person in their classroom would answer “Here” with the deepest voice in the classroom.
Inside my body, I feel like an 80 year old. I’ve been plagued with digestive issues since I was a teenager. When I hit my early thirties, I began experiencing excruciating pain in my feet. It turns out I have a form of arthritis called spondylitis. Spondylitis has destroyed my feet. If you saw my x-rays, you’d know that I have little to no cartilage in the middle joints of both feet. I can still walk, and do so even with pain, though I’ve been told multiple times by medical professional it shouldn’t be physically possible. Yeah, what do they know.
Although arthritis has hit most of my major joints, you can see the physical damage the most in my right hand. After ol’ Arthur did a number on my feet, it traveled to my right hand, then moved on to other joints. For several years, my pinky was locked in a curved position which was handy for things like putting on my pants. My fingers no longer line up the right way which makes most activities trying. I used to write long letters by hand to pen pals in foreign countries. I enjoy the act of writing. Now, writing a greeting card is painful.
(When I hold my hand up, the fingers no longer lay next to each other.)
As the years have gone by, I’ve notice my once round face is more angular. I seem to have developed my Dad’s chin in the last few years. Now that I know what my ancestors look like, I think I favor the Portuguese and French and not a whit of the Irish-English. I’m pretty pale. My sister says I’m slightly green, which must be the sisterly way of saying olive. I rarely tan and I rarely burn. I have to be outside several hours non-stop in blazing sun for several days to get a sun burn and it takes me all Summer outdoors to manage a slight suntan.
As I said I am a mass of contradictions. Sometimes the youthful exterior is overshadowed by the creaking of my joints. Personally, I would have rather look older on the outside and have a lot less creaking on the inside.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com