“Vena Amoris”, And My Fear of Veins

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Embrace the Ick.”

Think of something that truly repulses you. Hold that thought until your skin squirms. Now, write a glowing puff piece about its amazing merits.

There are thousands of things that I could write up here that are truly disgusting and repulsive, but the first thing that came to mind, were veins.

Especially that thin bit of flesh where your veins pop out and it feels delicate and soft, right before your hand juts awkwardly out. (In simpler words, your wrist.) It’s disgusting. I hate looking at them, I especially hate touching them or seeing someone else touch theirs, and right now I’m hating writing about it.

Yet I guess there is something beautiful in them, too.
The bluey vessels that ink your pale skin remind me of a drop of ink falling in clear water. How at first they’re a brooding deep sea-blue colour, but then the droplet dances with the crystal clear water and splay outwards, separating from the rest in small little delicate lines. They are our rivers of life, our intricate little channels that weave and conjoin in lakes, like Venice, our hidden little gems.
Like the water that flows through the city, they give us life. These are personal little signs of our existence. Proof that we are living. You can push on them to feel your pulse. To know that your heart is still beating. These little tiny speckles of blue go deeper underground and wire all the way up to your heart where there’s bigger and more complex guttering with tubes and pipes criss-crossing and lunging all over the place. All from this one little surfacer, like the grids appearing above ground in the street, hiding unknown depths and mysteries… And that’s pretty amazing.


Not only is it a symbol of life,  but it’s draped in romanticised ideals. The red and the blood of the beating heart obviously symbolises passion and sexual lust, but most significantly it was thought the fourth finger on the left hand was the “vena amoris”, latin (ironic when considering my aforementioned reference to Venice), literally meaning the ‘vein of love’. It was believed this vein in your finger predominantly ran to your heart alone. Obviously, that’s inaccurate, but this romantic notion still lingers in our society still as we wear our wedding rings on this finger as a token of our love and devotion from the very depths of our hearts.

Yet it can also take life. With any sharp objects you can jam them directly into your little life-lines, causing that now-not-so-romantic blood to projectile everywhere. You can damage them with tracks from razor blades or inject filthy needles with drugs that poison and corrupt them. Yet this, too, is sort of romanticised in a sick and twisted way. Imagining your tiny little blood vessels dancing with the devil, that dirty heroin injected in movies like Trainspotting, or the tragic ending of a young adolescent in a music video, slashing their wrists with blaring screamo music until they fall to the bathroom floor, blood and blackened eyeliner streaming down the walls in a pathetic and wasted attempt to call for help, realising it’s all too late to lust for life again…


It’s these two contrasts that scare me. Give life, or take life. All in the power of these tiny little vessels that seem so insignificant, and yet they aren’t. The delicate line between living and dying, all raised amidst the tiny little pricks of hair. They’re exposed by your sleeves and your jackets every single day. Not to mention that wrists are so elegantly skinny that someday they look like they could just snap in half, and expose your veins..

Someone once told me that a fear of necks and wrists meant that you were executed or hung in a past life. Perhaps your hands were chained to one of those medieval torture devices, the stocks. I wouldn’t dismiss this idea because it seems ludicrous to me why nobody else suffers from this seemingly ridiculous fear.

Anyway, I tried. I tried to write positively about wrists and veins. Notwithstanding its merits and praise, but I feel queazy now and none the better since writing about it.


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