Hyperhidrosis by Drishti Nagdeo

I hate holding hands,
shaking hands, high-fives, and everything else that requires my hands to come in contact with others,
my palms and feet suffer from hyperhidrosis,
sweat is not a visitor for me, it’s my skin

we can say that my body has water in overabundance
and like a chimney, my palms and feet are just the outlets
to take all the steam out,
except that steam and combustion require heat,
my body can do it fairly well at 2 degrees.

so,
i.
I cannot wear slippers, flats, sandals, and everything else that does not require socks.
In under ten minutes, I lose my grip, and start tripping.

ii.
nothing can be written on my hands,
it disappears with the turn of your face.⁣l

iii.
I cannot write with a gel pen,
the ink spills, my poems become drawings.

iv.
I cannot make fists.
The accumulation of sweat intensifies, makes me anxious.

v.
my phone doesn’t recognise my fingerprint,
and asks me for passcode.

vi.
I cannot hold anything in the same position, for more than forty seconds.
Phones, bottles, cups, bags, boxes, paper, plastic, steel, wood, glass, my palms are not discriminatory in nature.

vii.
in summers, it’s water dripping off a washed cloth,
in winters, it’s just moisture making my finger tips that of the icebergs, the insides of my palms, a home to negative temperatures,
time is not a factor.

for nineteen years,
I’ve buried myself in embarrassment, drowned in awkwardness,
and the only thing that has kept me floating are metaphors,
so here’s a metaphorical representation of everything you know about hyperhidrosis till now-

i.
if I walk barefoot from point A to point B,⁣
the distance AB shall be measured in my footprints,
and along with my ability to create imprints with words,
the world shall realise my power to leave marks, without ink.

ii.
unlike ink, the streaks on my hands are permanent
which I like to call orbits,
for all the stars and asteroids my body creates,
making my hands carry galaxies within themselves,
which is to say, I produced my own universe

iii.
the keys of my laptop bear the brunt of my hyperhidrosis,
they create words and still let me call them mine,
without complaints, without errors,
never letting my poems become drawings,
never telling me I’m extra.

iv.
open palms teach me acceptance,
they ask me to welcome everything in life,
and on an equally easy note,
let go of things.

v.
the people I call my own, question me,
but it isn’t strange that they are still on my side,
because I always knew the passcode.

vi.
my brother holds my hands, tightly,
my finger tips meet his, after 183 days,
and my hands rejoice on finding their lost home.
while the rest of the world cringes,
he makes me feel beautiful about it, about being raw, being myself,
hyperhidrosis makes me identify love.

vii.
the only other thing I hold close like that is my cup of chai,
keeping me warm,
even when my hands are colder than ice,
time is never a factor.

Drishti Nagdeo
Drishti Nagdeo

A spoken word poet and a storyteller from Delhi

Read more of her poems here


Hyperhidrosis is a common disorder which cause excessive sweating.