Monday, August 25, 2008

The tale of the nail...

...and the lessons we learn about ourselves.

Back in April, I fulfilled a dream of sorts. I had my fingernails professionally done. Not just done...artificially enhanced with acrylics, longer-than-life, stronger-than-strong, fashionably shaped and colored and shined. I did this to A) celebrate having lost 60 pounds; and B) because my boss and fellow managers all do it.

Actually, reason B is the real reason...and begs the question: WHAT WAS I THINKING?

For as long as I've been associated with my current employer, I've envied the beautiful nails of my fashionable peers. They looked so polished, so perfect, while my own stubby nubs looked remarkably stubby and nubby. Nevermind that my hands do all kinds of things that don't lend themselves to long nails. Nevermind that I earn my living at a keyboard and never really learned to type with long nails and that I've never been a change-the-polish-shape-and-file kind of girl, preferring my trusty buck-ninety-eight clippers to fancier things like buffing boards and cuticle pushers. Nope...I would not be satisfied until I, too, had long, shiny, fake fingernails to drum on the conference table during meetings.

Well, I got 'em...and I HATED 'em! Holy cow! How does anyone ever get anything done with those things? I couldn't pick anything up, and everything I touched left a little bit of itself under a nail somewhere. Yuck!

Worse yet, they began to look really awful as my natural nails started growing out. Removing them required soaking in pure acetone for a very long time, and then the thumbnails wouldn't come off anyway. It was another two weeks...two weeks...before I got those babies off my thumbs!

My natural nails paid a heavy toll for my little experiment. They were brittle, thin, and kept a layer of acrylic na-na-na-na-boo-boo to remind me of how I let my vanity overrule my common sense. It's mid-August and the remains of my temporary insanity are only now all but completely gone.

That was then...

This is now.

So now my nails are stubby and nubby again. I can pick up what I drop and I don't have to scrape goo out from under them all day long. I sit in meetings and look around at all the long, perfect acrylic nails and then at my own nubbins and realize they don't look as pretty, but they can do what hands are made for and they don't require my constant attention.

That's beautiful.

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