Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Polishing the Image

So I had my nails done today.  This was a “holiday” luxury I enjoyed for several years pre-café.  It was even an indulgence I continued to allow myself during the café years, in an attempt to make me feel like something more than the slave-labor sweat-hog that I actually was.

But I haven’t had nails since the restaurant closed.  I’ve had many excuses—that nails were too expensive and I didn’t have the money…that I didn’t want to spend the holidays as an “acrylic nail cripple”…that  my life consisted mainly of yard work, kitchen work and craft work, none of which was made easier by the complications of acrylic nails.  And all of these things were (are) true.  But I don’t think they were the REAL reason for foregoing my favorite winter-time indulgence.

The real reason?  Penance.  Punishment.  Self-flagellation. 

Somewhere in my exhausted and wounded mind, I believed I was no longer worthy.  I had failed, utterly and spectacularly, at the one thing I had believed was going to turn me into the grown-up businesswoman I had aspired to be since I was scarcely more than a little girl.  It had taken thirty years to bring the dream to fruition, and I went down in flames.  Yes, America, I do STILL see myself as a failure.  Though it may not have been—decidedly was NOT, in fact—entirely my fault, I nevertheless did fail.  It’s still a big, fat “1” in the loss column that will never go away.

And I have continued to fail, since.  Failed to “recover” as quickly as I thought I should (whatever that means…)  Failed to find a job, or even find any enthusiasm for a job-search.  Failed to climb back on the horse and become a contributing, tax-paying member of society again.  Failed to have faith in my writing, and just go for it (though I’m not really sure what that means, in this age of self-publication and blogs by every Tom, Dick and Mary…)  Failed, even, to honor my spiritual quest by taking it to a deeper level (and I’m not sure what THAT means, either.)

So I let my hair grow out.  Since menopause hit, my hair looks horrible if it gets any longer than chin length, but I told myself, too bad, you can’t afford a short haircut that needs to be trimmed every six weeks to the tune of thirty or forty dollars a shot, and you SURE can’t afford an $80 color job…EVER.  And I couldn’t possibly justify the expense of acrylic nails.  Or a pedicure.  Or anything that would make me feel prettier or sexier in this aging body that feels more like someone else’s body (can’t possibly be MINE) every day.

All I have to say now is—F**K that crap. 

Slowly, I’ve been “allowing” myself to indulge again.  Last spring, I started getting my hair cut and colored.  OMG, it looks SO much better short…I’m NEVER going back to trying to let it grow out.  In July, right before our gigantic Festival week, I got myself a pedicure.  Monday, I went clothes shopping at somewhere besides Goodwill for the first time in at least a year.  And today…TODAY I got nails. 

I’m SO done punishing myself.  SO done letting myself look like “less than” because I believed I WAS “less than.”  It’s a surefire recipe for depression:  self-inflicted and self-perpetuating.  And it doesn’t do anybody any good. 

Go me!


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