The Warrior Worrier

This morning on NPR they were discussing a new finding that indicates a correlation between the length of your fingers (the difference between the ring and index, to be more precise) and its translation to your tendencies to live your life as either a worrier or a warrior.  According to their research, if your ring finger is longer than your index finger, you are a warrior.  As the panelists were talking, I absolutely removed my hand from the steering wheel to assess my finger length.  After admiring my manicure and noting to myself that I could use some moisturizer, I was immediately perplexed.  As it turns out, I am a warrior.

Only I am not.


Yes, my ring finger is longer than my index finger.  By quite a bit, actually.  I even made sure to check the other hand to see if they were consistent which, not surprisingly, they were.  But, I know myself pretty well and would argue (as would most of my most intimate acquaintances) that I am solidly a worrier.  In fact, there are people in my life (RRL and MLS, I am talking to you) who have given me the moniker “pre-worrier”.  You see, I don’t just worry, I worry about things that maybe, possibly, if the stars are aligned and in a particular sun, could happen.  Most of them never do, yet I still worry.

On the other hand, big things are a breeze for me.  My mother often grumbles (with a bit more than an air of irritation) about my unique ability to sail through monumental things like a bi-lateral mastectomy, but freak out if my hair isn’t cooperating.  I can handle (with a fair degree of aplomb) notifying my entire community that my son would heretofore be my daughter, but when some bitch who normally registers nothing on my radar of people I give a crap about looks at me sideways I am in a puddle.  Sounds more like a worrier than a warrior to me.

According to, a warrior is a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage or aggressiveness.   Oh, well, if you put it that way…perhaps I am part warrior.  Color me confused.

But I have long owned (embraced, even) the realities of being a worrier…and a hardcore worrier at that.  I have more full-fledged, certified panic attacks under my belt than I care to remember.   I like knowing that I have a Xanax available, should the need arise and I have spent countless hours obsessing over the infinite “what ifs” of the world, with little positive outcome.  I fret over the minutiae of life and constantly weigh myself down with unnecessary anxiety.  Given those actualities, you, too, would consider me a worrier.

However, that whole longer-ring-finger phenomenon must be based on some kind of fact – it was on NPR, after all.   Add to that’s definition and, well, a pattern is emerging.  I have shown vigor, courage and, most certainly, aggressiveness in my lifetime.  I have, in fact, exhibited each of those characteristics on more than one occasion, and sometimes all at the same time.  I am fairly certain that many on the outside looking in on our story as it unfolds would call me a warrior, if, for no other reason than my having gone wide with what many would consider a very personal adventure.  As the ride continues its ascent (or are we on a descent?) I am, with slightly more regularity, embracing my inner warrior and telling the worrier to pound sand.  This does not, in any way, shape or form, solidify my warrior status, though.

Which got me to thinking…and looking at my hands.  Perhaps the fact that my index finger and its neighbor the ring finger lean in towards one another suggests a cosmic pull between my inner worrier/warrior.  (Or it could be early arthritis.)  And maybe there is some sort of meaning attached to the fact that I have enormous hands.  (Or I might just have inherited them from my mother who, in turn, got them from her father.)  And perhaps there is a study going on, at this very moment, looking at the significance of long nail beds versus short nail beds.  Regardless, it is not lost on me that when you say “worrier” or “warrior” quickly, they are nearly indiscernible.  And maybe, just maybe, that means more than any research may seek to prove.  And perhaps I am a new breed: a warrior worrier.

14 thoughts on “The Warrior Worrier

  1. I really believe that every great warrior balances their inner worrier, and uses that anxious energy to move forward productively. Embrace both, they work together!

  2. Well, I’m glad that you didn’t take off your shoes to check your toes while driving, as well. Julie, have you considered the possibility that NPR did that segment just to mess with the minds of worriers? I think that you should just utilize your middle finger and forget the whole thing! (better than sucking your thumb, anyway)

  3. I must be a mess. On my right hand, the ring finger is shorter, and on the left it is much longer. What does that say about me? I worry while I war? Or, I’m a warrior who worries? I think the only finger that’s relevant here is the middle one.

  4. Hi, This topic came up at work and I can not for the life of me track down that NPR story. It was a talk show facilitated by a women right?
    What was the name of the show?


  5. When I started reading this post, I had thought you were going to address the issue of finger length and gender identity and sexual orientation. There are many studies addressing the 2D:4D (second digit to fourth digit) ratio and linking it to different health conditions and traits. There is a lot of contradicting research looking at 2D:4D as a measure of prenatal androgen exposure, for instance in girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, or in people with gender differences. The studies are not all in agreement. I had not heard the more recent association with personality traits like aggression, assertiveness, and worry.

    • I am aware of these studies, but I’ve discounted them just as I have the lines on the palms of my hands as being any kind of predictor of life or love, let alone gender identity. I do have opposable thumbs, however, so I believe that I am at least a primate of some sort. I am more concerned about the large size of my hands and fingers, which are often signs that mark me as a transgender woman. A man asked me to dance the other night, and I began by worrying what he might have been thinking of holding my (huge) right hand as we danced. The real problem, though, was the discovery that I have two left feet! 🙂 😦

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