No, wait... that's a lie.
It all started one sultry summer morning a decade ago, when I woke to my lover staring at me with his head cocked so far side-wise he was practically upside down.
"Whhhhat are you doing?" I giggled.
"Looking at art." he replied, with a tone that rested somewhere between sincerity and severity. I thought he had gone stark-raving mad, but then again I never could see my beauty, or my potential.
Then some years later upon our reunion, engaged in enriching conversation over my cluttered kitchen table and the new hot pink Mr. Clean I'd just purchased, he reminded me that we are our own works of art, even if we don't use charcoal, oil pastels, or paint. Even still, I couldn't bring myself to be that superficially engaged with my appearance.
Recently, though, my great-grandmother kicked off. You know what they talked about most over her still open grave? How lovingly she spent so much time perfecting her hair, face, and nails, so as to present herself as perfectly as possible, and how amazing it was that she did it always without a drop of vanity.
I was at her bedside for most of her final week. Her nails were perfectly filed into a point, which I always thought was odd and perhaps even dangerous. The paint was chipping from the ends, and between her raspy and uneven breaths I found myself unable to handle the knowledge that she would not want to leave her perfectly imperfect body with flaked nail polish. Then and there, I decided to remedy the sour situation despite my slight distaste for the smell of all things nail related.
Not that it was the first time I'd ever painted anyone's nails before, but there was a virginity to the moment that defies articulation. My perception about these seemingly superficial things began to shift. I've always had much more important things to worry about than any kind of make-up could make up for. My nails were most certainly the very last thing on my list of things to fuss over. I was doing good if they were ever properly trimmed and filed.
So where was I?
"Mommy, Can I paint your nails."
Remembering the power of having shared such a moment with my grandmother, there could have been but one answer to such an innocent question, "Absolutely."
Only having about three bottles of nail polish in the house, off we went to find something in a shade other than lime green, sunset orange, or hot pink from a nearby discount store. A week later we were buying tip guides. A week after that, sponges to do gradients. Another week later and we're scouring Amazon for stamping supplies.
I'm hooked, and it's more than just another way for me to procrastinate. It's more than just another way for me to forget the many disappointing job interviews I've had in the past few months. It's more than a way to spend time with my daughter before she stops wanting to spend time with me. It's more than a way for me to revitalize my over-given-ness. It's more than, as another blogger somewhere on the interwebs said, ". . . twenty blank canvases that I carry with me everywhere." It's more than a fun way to connect myself to my most cherished memories. It's more than a temporary means of externalizing and expressing myself. It's a happy amalgamation of all of these, and it's bringing me back to life.
Here are my first few attempts at nail art. The manicures that nailed me to a new craft. :)