Unclinching Our Fists…to Find Our Word, Our Way

Dear Reader:

Don’t we associate newborns and little babies with their tiny fists coming into the world…as if they know intuitively life is a struggle…might as well get ready?

Doctors explain the phenomenon as a primitive gesture found in human infants and primates…known as the Palmar Grasp Reflex. A couple of days ago I found and then “lost” a poem that popped up on the internet that made an analogy between human fists and finally the opening of our hands revealing the word that identifies our being.

The poem was followed by readers revealing what their word would be to identify their lives when their fists finally unclenched. (Just as I have become aware of the number of times I unconsciously touch my face lately…think about the number of times we glance down and see our hands or at least one hand curled up in a fist.)

For most of us it a defensive gesture used to alleviate stress or repressed anger and frustration in our lives. What if…unclenching our fists to finally reveal the real person inside us is a final product of the process of living our life?

Since I taught American history for almost three decades I am a great lover of true but little unknown facts in history. One story popped up in some dusty neuron in my memory yesterday connecting an historical figure with a fist/hand story. Example:

After John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln he was on the run for almost two weeks before being caught and surrounded in Richard Garrett’s barn. When Union soldiers set the barn afire Booth’s accomplice, Davy Herold, surrenders but Booth refuses.

An Union soldier, Boston Corbett, looks through a gap between planks at the back of the barn…fires and hits Booth in the neck. He is dragged out of the barn, paralyzed, and dies a slow agonizing death three hours later on  Garrett’s front porch.

Witnesses remembered at one point Booth lifting his hand… as if seeing it for the first time in his life…unclenching his fist and mumbling “Useless…useless” as he stares vacantly at the outstretched hand.

I think at the end of our lives…we all want to leave with our fists unclenched, not saddened over an “useless” or purposeless existence. Instead we want to leave this world for another with our hearts and hands wide open.

So until tomorrow I want to share a thought-provoking twist on words that my sister-in-law Lassie conveyed to me in an earlier conversation we had (in relation to the coronavirus and our attitude towards it)…one centered around counting our blessings.

“We might not be able to go anywhere…but we have somewhere to stay.”  (A blessing indeed!)

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Yesterday was a memorable day for Tommy and Kaitlyn as they became new owners in their law partnership. They received lots of well wishes, flowers, and a delicious chocolate bundt cake from Aunt Lassie. Congratulations again Tommy and Kaitlyn…I am very proud of you two and your work ethics!

*I wanted to add this thank you message Kaitlyn put on Facebook last evening thanking everyone for their support through these trying times …(since everyone doesn’t read Facebook.)

I wouldn’t suggest juggling a house fire, world pandemic, and becoming a law firm owner at the same time, but here we are! .
Life is crazy y’all: we can make all the plans in the world and the universe can simply throw you a huge curveball
Its hard to believe this is real! I’m really excited, exhausted, and scared all at the same time. Im also really grateful. .
I’m grateful for parents who literally gave me my entire foundation to succeed; Lassie for ensuring we don’t go bankrupt; to Mr. Styles for giving me a job when I wasn’t sure I even wanted to practice law anymore and being generous with his practice ; to my husband for being my partner through it all; and to myself for never giving up. .
Thank you to our family and friends for your continued and tireless support. We loved getting these beautiful flowers from Boo and a cake from Lassie. . .
I have no idea what comes next or what the future holds but I do know we’ve got this and we can most definitely do hard things.
Also thanks to @iibrunettes and @shopcopperpenny for making sure I had some clothes to wear 😂



A sign of the times 🙂


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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1 Response to Unclinching Our Fists…to Find Our Word, Our Way

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Wow…very proud of them and for them.


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