My nails are full of grease. I can't remember when last they weren't. They're rimmed around the outside by a thin black line that no amount of scrubbing will remove, and my right index finger has a similar layer under the leading edge of the nail too. There's a few rough bits, and some are a little longer than others. One is cut down completely. I used to have beautiful hands - now, not so much. Thinners, acetone and Sunlight dish liquid as grease remover have dried out my skin. There's rivulets of black permanently embedded into the rougher skin along the edge of two fingers.

Not even very dark nail polish makes a difference! It only serves to attract attention to the flaws.

As much as I'd like to have good-looking hands again, I don't mind too much that they're well-worn. When I look at my hands and my nails I see hands that have done things, that have worked hard and accomplished a lot. I see learning curves and things ticked off the to-do list. I see hands with experience.

Looking closely in the mirror recently (a rare occurance these days) I saw the same on my face - tales of days and nights spent living. The slight shadow under my eyes a testimony to late nights spent scrambling to move forward and reach my goals. The wrinkles at the edges proof of sqiunting against the sun while putting in some outdoor work. The freckles evidence that my desk job doesn't last from sunrise to sunset.

I'm covered in experience. A bruise on my arm from removing the carb from the engine bay 2 days ago. Slight swelling above one ankle from a spider bite while under Olivia. A bump under my left eyebrow where I (literally!) walked into a door a few weeks back. Greys taking over the blondes across my scalp - time marching on as I approach the next birthday. Scars from when I was 6, from when I was studying after school, from a few years ago, from last month. Each one a tale, each one a footnote to my life.

Yes, many consider them imperfections - I'm not about to win any "best-looking" awards. But I'd rather have imperfect and relishing life than perfect and bland, anyday.

And that's precisely why my ingrained grease and dirt isn't bothering me this morning.