Monday, February 27, 2012


By Catherine Roth, excerpted from her blog Restoring Life.

My teenage years were filled with poems and music and angst and art and an unquenchable desire to put into words and pastels and photos and pencil what I was feeling. I was in a portfolio art class in high school where we had to pick a theme, and with my love of words, mine was quotations.  I could create any piece of art as long as it was based around a quote. 

I used the opportunity to chronicle what was going on in my tedious, high school existence, or to put into pictures a song or poem that I loved. In December of 1999 I decided to use Jewel’s song “Hands”. I used a photo someone had taken of my hands in Central Park as a center piece, and painstakingly sketched my own, spelling the word “hand” in American Sign Language. After I finished the project, I often wondered if I should have used someone else as the hand model.

I’ve never liked my hands. My mother’s hands are long and elegant, with generous nail beds, and the softest skin, always having the warmest and most comforting touch. My own fingers are short with small nail beds that produce nails that like to bend and crack and break at the slightest provocation.  I always felt my fingers should be longer so that it was easier to play the piano, or should be more graceful and ladylike.

They have been my one true vanity as long as I can remember.  I used to spend every two or three weeks in a salon for an hour, having my nails filed to perfection or gelled or acrylic-ed until they were long and strong, neat and clean. And sometimes, then I would think they might be pretty enough. They might look feminine enough.

My father had thick worker’s hands. They were by no means ugly, but they had the tell tale signs of someone who did something with them everyday other than sitting at a keyboard or shuffling papers.  My father, as a baker, would often come home from work with his nail beds stained red or blue or yellow, depending on the icing or filling he had been working with that day. With his tourettes, my fathers hands would jerk and stutter occasionally. But when he was smoothing butter cream over sheet cake, or using a putty knife in the tiniest corner to smooth out a perfection, they were meticulous, artful hands that created beauty.

Whenever we finished a piece of art, we had to write an entry in our sketchbooks as a sort of summary of the thought process, the creation process. ... CONTINUE READING

Read the rest of Catherine’s story Hands at her new and lovely first-person blog, Restoring Life.

And then be sure to come back here to post a link to your own first-person story which I will move to a post of its very own and link back to your blog. Of course, I will also promote your story to my networks, hopefully increasing your fans.


  1. Donna,

    I'm honored that you highlighted my work as part of this collection of first-person bloggers. Thank you for the experience! It's been a joy reading the other posts on your site. Thank you!

  2. Catherine,
    Honestly, the honour is mine that you let me include your wonderful story on this new project. I look forward to reading more from you! --d

  3. Musing with WritingMuse by Sandy Penny . In honor of Whitney Houston's passing and Oprah Winfrey's firewalk, I reposted my own story of firewalking with reference to Whitney's One Moment in Time.

  4. Sandy,
    Thank you so much for the link to your firewalking story. What an amazing experience! With your permission, I will post it as its own entry on My Embellished Life this weekend.

  5. Catherine,
    I like the love you have for your mother and father, and the acceptance you finally reached of the hands you inherited because of their love for each other. It's a good story - a good reflection.