I Never Liked Going to the Beach as a One-Handed Child

As a very young one-handed child I was not a fan of going to the beach. I was stared at and pointed at often, subtly teased and slightly bullied. It was something I did not like very much when I was a little kid. Which is interesting because as an adult I simply love being at the beach and hanging out in the sun. However there is a big difference from being the age I am right now and being a six-year-old boy. My mother could see I was very uncomfortable with my body and how other kids looked at me. She gave me some advice back then that I still use today in many different ways in many different situations with many different ages of people. Blog #10 of my “40 Blogs in 40 Days about my first 40 Podcasts” is related to my Podcast Episode OHS036 and the advice my mother offered me.

My mother truly enjoyed going to the beach and she’s loved being outside and sunbathing. This could go back to her being born and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico. Regardless of the reason she spent a lot of time in the sun. I have many memories of her sunbathing while my brothers and I played in the backyard. Then one day she started going to the beach and wanting us to go with her. After my first couple of visits and experiences I did not want to go back. I did not enjoy the beach.

When I was very young I was very confused by the way I was born. I am referring to the 4 to 6 year-old age. It was not just how I thought about myself. I was also very confused by how other people would look at me and how some would treat me. I have many one-handed friends and people I know who did not have that experience as a child. I am happy they did not experience the things that I did. Not sure if it was the era I grew I was raised, or the how the people around he thought, or maybe there was something in the water. Whatever the reason, I had a very frustrating and tormented childhood. And the beach was a magnifying experience in many ways. I was already uncomfortable with my body. Now I am completely exposed for all to see. 

I have this very visceral memory of two children staring at me. I was playing in the sand with my plastic shovel trying to build a little sandcastle. It was a classic stereotypical movement of two boys staring at me, whispering to one another, and pointing at me. I guess other people noticed I was very affected by these kids. For a moment that felt like an eternity many people were watching my situation. I was trying not to be seen or stared at and I was hiding my arm. All this made playing in the sand and building a sandcastle difficult. I just wanted to be left alone. That is when my mother spoke up and asked me to do what she told me to do when kids were staring at me.

I shook my head in absolute resistance. I really didn’t want to do it. Then she brought a bit more sternness to her voice. She said in a much more loud and forceful voice, “Do it! ! My whole body was in a state of refusal. I remember saying to myself and shaking my head, “I don’t want to do it… I don’t want to do it… I don’t want to do it!” That’s when stuff got real. My mother got into her deep mama voice and she said with commanding authority, “do what I told you to do!” I said “OK.” I paused for a moment and then took a deep breath. In my 5-year-year-old experience I brought together as much composure as I possibly could. I summoned as much courage as I have ever done in my five short years on this planet because I knew what I was about to do. I stood up and turned to face these two little boys staring and pointing at me. Then I did exactly what my mother told me to do.

What happened next has been etched upon my memory as clear as the day it happened. It is also one of the best nuggets of one-handed advice I have ever received. Plus, the reaction of the two boys was (and still is) priceless. Additionally, it is something I have been doing when I notice people staring at me and my arm over the course of my entire life. no matter the age, the gender, or the situation, this one little thing always produces a fantastic result.  

To hear the story of what my mother told me to do, the reaction of the boys, and the people at the beach click and listen to my One Hand Speaks Storytelling Podcast Episode OHS036. Please feel free to share this blog or my podcast and I ask you to offer a comment with your opinion and feedback! Thanks!

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