Thursday, November 1, 2012

Capable Hands, Lazy Nails

For the last couple of months I have been taking the time to paint my nails and take better care of them than I am usually likely to.  The regular manicures, with filing and cuticle treatments and polish have been nice moments of relaxation in which I focus on myself, and enjoy the results of the rest of the week.  I have an ever expanding selection of nail polish, and am forever on the hunt for new and different.  I'll pain my nails anything from the candycorn-style I attempted for Halloween, to traditional pink, red, purple, green, blue, silver, lavender.  I like them all!

However, as this habit has reasserted itself after a few years of neglect, I find myself remembering something my mother used to yell at me when I was in high school and in my early 20s.  See, back in those days I spent a lot of time on myself, what girl that age doesn't??  I styled my hair, put on make up, painted my nails.  My mother ridiculed the make up as trashy, the hair as overdone and the wrong color, and the nails as lazy.

Yes, that's right.  I had lazy nails.  According to my mother, if you had the time to care for your nails, paint them, and not have them torn to shreds as you worked, you must not be working hard enough.  When I first got a job as a secretary, she swore the days of "lazy nails" had to be done.  No employer would take me seriously if I didn't take myself seriously and ditch the "lazy nails" for "capable hands."

That really hurt. I thought my hands were perfectly capable.  I wasn't one for the ultra long nails, just nicely painted and cared for. I worked as hard as the next person.  Still, the site of my nails, freshly painted was enough to set her off on a tirade.

My mother died when I was 25, so she never got to experience the years in which I indulged in artificial nails and regular pedicures.  Nor was she there to comment on  the months during my pregnancies when I went for twice a month mani pedis.  She also wasn't there to nod smugly when my nails spent years brutally trimmed and unadorned while Connor was a young child.

So now, as I have periodically over the last 5 years or so, I am on a kick of painting my nails.  Each time I do it, I hear my mother shrieking at the laziness of it all.  Yet, when I see my neatly painted nails encrusted with dirt from the garden, gloppy with the meatloaf I am forming for dinner, dripping with soapy water from the floor washing, I silently tell her to stuff it.

These days, I see that my "lazy nails" rest on the most capable of hands.  Those hands deserve to be cared for as they care for others.  Why shouldn't my strong and capable hands be pampered and decorated?  I paint my nails because my hands work so hard.

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