This past winter I decided to try acrylic nails on for size. I went to a professional and endured a few grueling hours of having my cuticle’s clipped, my real nails destroyed and my finger tips bruised. While I was sitting in the shop, admiring my new and improved nails, I was told horror stories of women who ripped off their nails when opening up car doors, or doing simple tasks around the house. I tried to admire the works of art each finger had become, but I had a sinking feeling as I left the shop. Over the next few days I discovered all the difficulties one faces when they decide to attach gobs of acrylic to their real nails. I couldn’t open cans of soup, bags of cat food, or even scratch properly. I suffered through intense bruising and pain that nearly brought tears to my eyes. I would hold up my fingers and admire them, only to find myself unable to pick up a small button that had dropped on the table. It was frustrating, but those that had the nails told me it was a learning process and I would adjust quickly.
I did adjust as the months flew by. I learned how to do things slightly different from before, but it still infuriated me that I couldn’t scratch properly. My nails were fairly long, and I developed a nervous habit of clicking my nails on surfaces. I also started endlessly playing with my nails, to a point of distraction. They became my focus in life. I obsessed over little decals to put on them, making sure they were always pretty for display. Texting became a challenge, as did typing on my computer. The click of my nails on the keyboard irritated me; no more so than the way they snagged in my hair when I was washing. I finally got to a boiling point and decided I had to have the nails off. It all happened when a bike chain fell off and I had to gingerly work on the mechanics. By the time I was done making adjustments, my hands were grimy, the chain and gears were ready to go, and I had ruined my manicure. If I could have, I would have taken those nails off right then and there. I was warned that my real nails would look terrible, but at this point I didn’t care. I made an appointment to have them removed, and when my manicurist had to cancel I went ahead and took them off myself. A decision had been made in my head. There was no stopping me. I spent hours that night soaking and removing the acrylic. They were right, my real nails looked absolutely horrible underneath.
At the current time, my nails are still recovering from the 3 month ordeal I put them through. They flake off if I don’t keep them insanely short, and are so weak I have to be careful how I grab at things. It was a lesson learned, for this old broad. I still admire them on other women, but I can safely say I will never, ever, do that again. As ugly as my nails are currently, the irritation I was experiencing has dissipated and I can refocus my energies on more productive tasks.
I am constantly looking at the world around me and trying to discover how everything relates. When I was contemplating this post, I thought of how fake nails are similar to fake or made up stories. Stories rarely manifest out of thin air. It almost always starts from some basis (i.e. the real nails) and we then have to manipulate the medium (i.e acrylics) to shape and mold our thoughts. The end result can be quite artistic and beautiful, but without some sort of solid foundation it will just crumble. Lack of substance can be a detriment to us all. I realized that if I, as a writer, do not fully embrace what I am writing it will ultimately come to the same conclusion as my fake nails. What I write has to be supported by me and it has to feel right. I must not be afraid to rip off that which offends, and nurture that which I love. Writing should be fun, not something to endure.