I Wish People Would Love Me For Who I Am, Not For What I Can Do

I worry about the way people see me just as much as the next guy. I want people to like me for who I really am, but when you have the talents I do, it can be hard to know who you can really trust. I get so tired of questioning whether every relationship I have is based on my ability to stretch my joints further than most people.

When I tell people what I can do, they look at me in a totally different way. They demand to see me stretch my finger in a way that’s just slightly outside the margin of the typical human body’s capability, like I’m some kind of circus monkey only there for their amusement. I’ve been wondering a lot about whether the people in my life love the real me, or the me that can move my thumb three millimeters further left than average.

I’m more than just my slight double-jointedness. I am a man, with complex feelings and emotions, and I shouldn’t have to wonder whether my friends are only there for what my ability to move in a slightly abnormal way can bring them.

Generations of talented people—Harry Styles and Stephen Hawking, to name a few— have had to deal with questioning whether their loved ones stay with them for the right reasons, and I guess I’m just one more person wondering whether my gifts have done more harm than good. Yes, my thumb can inhabit spaces yours could only dream of glimpsing. But at what cost?

Sometimes I wish my thumb would move the same way everyone else’s does. Sometimes I want to curse the muscles that give my metacarpophalangeal joint a sixty degree range of motion. How nice it must be to have the normal fifty, and to never have to wonder whether people are just interested in what you can do, not who you truly are. So please, stop gawking at my ability and love me for me. I may be abnormally jointed, but I’m just a regular human being.

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