Friday, July 10, 2009

Nailing the Truth

Hot Flashback
Earlier this year when the economy was making its first impacts on our family, I decided that my gorgeous acrylic nails had to go because of the cost of upkeep. My nails grow like weeds anytime I wear acrylics, requiring fills every couple of weeks. I was willing to do my own manicures most of the time, although I knew my natural nails would probably never look nearly as good.

For awhile, I did China silk wraps—more natural feeling and flexible—the latter being important to me as a nonstop typist. However, I was hard on them; they were always breaking; and the couple that owns the neighborhood nail shop talked me into letting them paint on the stronger acrylic.

“Will it weaken or ruin my own nails underneath?” Silk wraps supposedly didn’t, so I wanted to know if the same held true for modern-day acrylics.

“No, no,” they both said. When I’d done acrylics many years before, they had certainly left my own nails as weak as tissue paper when I took them off. When Mr. & Mrs. Nails told me that wouldn’t happen, I assumed that newer and better materials had been developed since then.

To put it bluntly, they lied. (Some of the heat in this hot flashback is from anger.) When I had my acrylic nails taken off at another salon (lack of forthrightness being one obvious reason I’ll never return to Mr. & Mrs. Nails), my own nails were pathetic, worse than the wreckage of my last acrylic-to-natural transition 20 years ago. The process of getting them off was grueling. It required soaking my nails for nearly a half hour in undiluted polish remover and prying off the false nails with a variety of implements. Then my own nails broke to the nub and peeled for weeks. It was painful to watch and sometimes painful, literally.

Flash Forward
Today I treated myself to a
French manicure. My nails look nearly identical to this picture. I can’t stop admiring how great they look—the best in my whole life. I kept thinking; there’s a lesson here.

Cool Insight
As we peel away the false layers of ourselves and remove with great purpose any part of us that’s “plastic,” our psyche’s are as tissue-paper fragile as my nails wrenched of their protective covering.

We work hard on our fragile emotions. As I did with my nail rehab, we do the psychological equivalent of filing down our sharp corners, put on hand cream to smooth out the roughness, and work on nipping those pesky, irritating hangnails. Our ego balks at having to give up looking pretty. It’s hard to hide on our faces that we feel lousy.

After awhile, we begin to understand that being ourselves is the right decision, even when it doesn’t look so hot. Once we stop obsessing about how we appear to others, nature—and healing—take their course. Eventually, we stop thinking constantly about our wounds, hang-ups or hang nails, and one morning we wake up better than ever.

I admit; I didn’t go it alone on this healing miracle. I had Vaseline Healthy Hand and Nail Conditioning Lotion. Maybe for our emotions, we have counselors, clergy, best friends and other salves that help us make that transition when we’re so exposed and tender …

… but when we stop being so self-conscious and let the Great Healer Above and Below Within Us take over, it’s no surprise that nature takes its course and returns us to renewed strength and wholeness.

I love the hidden meanings in language. Who knew I’d learn so much from a manicure? “Man, I cure.”


Photo Credit: FEMALE HAND ©


Debra Stokes said...

Who knew!?!?!?
"Man, I cure" Love it! Thanks Joyce. Your cool insights are always inspirational.

Joyce Mason said...

You're welcome, Debra ... and thanks for commenting! I'm grateful every day for these symbolic inspirations, and I love sharing them.

Eileen Williams said...

There you go tweaking my thought processes and opening my eyes to the greater gifts of life once again! Yes, just like your nails (and mine years ago), natural and authentic is the way to go. And, when I get wrapped up in trying to falsify my being in any way, I'll be reminded to cease and desist by my new mantra: "Man, I cure!"

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks, Eileen. Language is amazing sometimes in the truth it tells. I'm always grateful for your perspective.