Playing My Best Hand in My Life With a Limb Difference
Life is hard. Life isn’t fair. But why let that stop you from being great?
In some aspects of my life, the cards I was dealt were great and some weren’t the best. I was born with one hand in a world where sometimes I felt very alone and unrelatable to most. When everyone looks at you as different, sometimes it gets to you. However, I am working on using my disadvantage to my advantage and embracing being unique.
On top of that, I have dealt with a lot of anxiety and wanting to shelter myself alone because of this. I often turn down doing fun activities if it involves me exposing my hand, because I am fearful of the judgment and just standing out. It was a lot worse than it is now, but it’s a thought that never goes away. In all honesty, 99 percent of this is self-manifestation, but regardless it is always a fear.
More recently since my mum passed away almost two years ago and finally going to therapy, I have become a lot more self-aware and have a greater understanding of what that means. My intention is to show that anything can be overcome with the willpower to do so.
Making Myself Great Again
There are two ways to look at being different. I use to look at it through the lens of not being able to relate to any of my peers, but now I am starting to see how to stand out from “being normal” to break out from the pack and be remembered. Being able to separate myself from everyone else is really a blessing. I use to look at my appearance as something that was wrong with me until I saw it another way. For example, when I was working on my Communication Studies degree in college, I remember on the first day of one of my public speaking classes we had to give a five-minute speech on something unique about our story. A lot of other students in my class started to scramble trying to think of ways to tell their story, but for me I used my blessing in disguise to get up there and tell my class about the One Hand Wonder Man. Public speaking is still pretty terrifying, but after I was done a lot of my peers came up to me and told me how inspiring I was, which was an amazing feeling.
This can also be applied to my freelance business. There are countless of other businesses that do what I do in terms of services, but there is only one Max Pete. Yes, I am sure my clients could hire someone cheaper and maybe even more experienced than myself, but they hired me because no other designer or marketer can provide the Max Pete experience in terms of my work ethic, my willingness to go above and beyond, and connect on more than a transactional relationship. I want to work and grow with my clients, not just get paid and move on.
I have really begun to embrace the “One Hand Wonder Man,” because why not? I am pointing out the first unique thing everyone sees, and using it as a tool to show I won’t let that or anything stop me from being the best version of myself. A lot of things were difficult growing up and still to this day, but nothing was impossible. I had a lot of help along the way, but I always figured out how to do everything — tying my shoes, playing sports and playing the drums. I used a lot of being told what I couldn’t do and the curiosity of doing things in new ways as motivation.
Being Unique Doesn’t Have to Be Bad
If you are feeling alone or not wanting to put yourself out there because you look different or just don’t want to appear as anything other than “normal,” I am letting you know it is OK. I’m not going to say it is easy or it’ll happen overnight, but if you work on embracing what makes you different instead of hiding it, I believe you will gain a lot of respect from the people around you.
Putting yourself out there has its benefits. You’ll not only be able to connect with your peers, clients and friends on a deeper level, but you will also be likely to inspire others to do the same. There is a lot to learn from each other, and when you allow yourself to open up and share what makes you the way you are, then real growth and evolving will happen.
Playing My Best Hand
I am learning it’s OK not to be 100 percent confident all the time, and it is OK to be different from everyone else. I am starting to compare myself less and less to others, even though on occasion I do catch myself doing it. It is a work in progress. However, becoming more self-aware over the past year has helped me love my uniqueness. Embracing what is different about me and using it to my advantage has made me grow and has allowed me to be doing what I do today. You get what you get; it is up to you to use it to your best ability.
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