Nail in the Coffin?

Note: If you were among those who were offended by my blog “The Curls Have It”, stop reading now.  This one is not about my hair, but about something equally inane, yet wildly (disturbingly?) important to me.  If you are still curious, you may proceed.

For as long (or longer) than I care to remember, I have gone to great lengths to ensure that my fingernails look perfect at all times.  Along with my trusty mascara, it is a constant that I rely upon which makes me feel like everything is going to be okay while lulling me into a (clearly false) sense of security.  Because I find even the slightest chip to be offensive, I have had acrylic nails for, oh, I don’t know…fifteen years.  I ensure that whoever is doing my nails make them as thin and natural as possible as my love of good acrylic nails is trumped only by my hatred of bad ones.  It is not easy to be the person assigned to beautify my digits, so when I find someone who gets it, I am rabidly loyal.   While I have been known to embrace dark colors (think “Smokin’ Hot” and “Lincoln Park After Dark”) more often than not I go for the French. I never wear red.  Ever.  Occasionally I will go pink, but always regret it.  I take this seriously, boys and girls.

Notable times I have had my nails done: before all graduations, weddings and Bar Mitzvahs (well, duh…everyone does that!), the day before each –  I was induced to give birth, my bi-lateral mastectomy, my father’s funeral and my third (in a six-week period) back surgery.  Seeing a theme here?  Setting myself up for a positive feeling before diving into scary, unknown situations is key to my ability to hang on.  And in all the in-between down time during which my nails look perfect (I know it doesn’t seem as though I have much of  that these days…) I consider a bonus.  Bottom line, my nails always look great.  (No, seriously, people have commented on how great my nails look.  More than once.  Ridiculous but true.)

Of late, I have even been sharing my treasured manicure time with Jessie.  It was novel at first – having been the mom of two boys for ten years I will cop to getting a bit of a rush in teaching my daughter about the joys of well-appointed fingers.  Each time she has joined me she has opted for a neon color and little flowers painted on two nails (I never cease to be amazed at their ability to paint so crisply on such a tiny space!)  and I have taught her that sitting patiently to dry all the way is of utmost importance…nothing worse than the smudge that will ensue for those who do not embrace this exercise.  The novelty is somewhat mellowed by that fact that she is only moderately interested, and has not quite adopted my addiction…buzz kill.

But now (surely you saw that “but” coming) I have an issue.  My left ring finger in trouble.  The nail is starting to separate from the skin (gross, right?) and while it is not suffering from a fungus yet, it was strongly recommended to me, through somewhat broken English, that I lay off the polish and the gel and the acrylic which I so adore and let my nails grow out, unadorned with color.  #iamsosad.

As pathetic as it may seem, particularly amid all the craziness of everything in my life right now, this was the event that nearly drove me to tears, right there in the nail salon.  I felt my eyes welling up and willed myself to save the tears (and resulting puffy eyes) for something (more) important.  I couldn’t, frankly, imagine why I was so shook up until I realized that it was now official: the one thing that I thought I still had control over had betrayed me.  Game over.  Ugh.

Here is what I am left with:

Which means that this is on the back burner:

And so is this…for now:

29 thoughts on “Nail in the Coffin?

  1. Julie…… Don’t judge yourself by your fingers…… And remember we don’t really have control over anything. I would think this would be a good time to get a new ring !!!!

  2. As a rehabilitated alcoholic of 22 years, I can only say ‘I IDENTIFY AND I FEEL YOUR PAIN.’ We learn early on in our lives of our ‘drug of choice’ withdrawal – it is rarely the really big things in life that put us over the edge but the simple broken shoelace, or as in your case, the ultimate nail in the coffin. please keep us updated as to your progress – your description is impeccable and I wish you all the best with your plain jane fingernails.

  3. I love this post. Sometimes it really is the little things that make a big difference.

    Ps. I grew out my nails after the birth of each child – prenatal vitamins = strong & healthy nails. Sadly, once baby reached four months old I’d chop ’em. Nails, that is, not the baby:-)

  4. I too have amazing acrylics, get compliments all the time and I’ve had them for a constant 20 years. I have also had the same nail “technician” for all this time. This is not the first time that I have heard of your problem and I believe it is they way they are being done. I have a name for you when you are ready to get them back. She truly is amazing

  5. I get it. No matter what I am having to deal with (and some of it has been pretty bad), no matter what my weight, or how ugly I feel, my hands always look good … and they are always visible. Like you, I always make sure they are done before any big occasion, as well as the normal upkeep (I have solar nails and mostly stick to the french tips.) I had them done in a beautiful color just before my daughter’s birth 14 years ago and received many compliments from the hospital staff; at one point, mid-labor pain, my fingers went in my mouth and my only thought was “NO, you’ll ruin your nails!” … and out it came (I substituted my husband’s hand instead.) My suggestion for you is shoes, especially as you already do pedicures. Like my hands, shoes are always visible and fit not matter what else is going on. You don’t need to spend a fortune, but there are plenty of cute, fun, sexy, sporty, sophisticated — you name it — styles out there to choose from. Take Jessie shopping, or go by yourself. Before you know it, you will be back to getting your nails done, but in the meantime, go get some compliments on your feet!

      • Never! Just tell them you have a “winter/spring/fall” habit … this is your “summer” habit. Or tell them you are “feeding your habit”. Or “why, yes, I do. Thank you for noticing!” Or just smile, glance down at their feet, and say nothing. Or just smile and say nothing! If you have not reached Imelda Marcos level, you are fine.

  6. It’s those little things that help us get through life. If we can assert control over something like our nails we are less likely to be complete control freaks and less likely to freak out of things we have no control over. That is my take and my excuse to get mine done. No acrylics tho. Just rather short, but tidy. BTW Lincoln Park After Dark is a HUGE fave of mine. Now I am into Russian Navy or any navy color really.

  7. (GASP!!!!) NOT THE NAILS!!! I truely feel your pain. I have been getting mine done for 12 years now and can’t possibly imagine not having them. Here as of late, I have been going neon. Waikiki Orange and silver sparkles. (Sprinkles, as my 3 yr. old daughter calls them, and inspects every time they are done, to insure they are there.) On the bright side, they will grow, and they have all sorts of products to keep them long and strong. Good luck!!


  8. Not a nail person, in fact bad habit of a little biting her and there, but I feel your pain. Must admit, I didn’t see the “but” coming, I thought the “but” was, now that I have shared the time with said precious daughter, I’d like my nail time back. I guess that would be more tolerable at this nail crisis time in your life. Thinking about you girl, this and all. Keep writing, it must help you, and definitely entertains us.

  9. Completely with you: it is so upsetting when you can’t do something that you always could (different thing, but I can relate). Good thing your nail will grow again and you’ll love having your nailcare back. Meanwhile, take control of something whatever it may be. It’ll make you feel good!
    I must say that I’ve wanted a manicure for years (the luxury!), never once managed though. I know why: I am terrified of them asking me what I do to look after them. Honest answer: zilch (d’uh), there’s no point: they keep breaking whenever I just look at them. Heck, they keep splintering when I’m not looking at them!
    I just don’t know what to say, so I haven’t ever had one. I just can’t bear to in case I get asked.

  10. I know I’m way behind but reading as fast as I can 🙂 I do so feel your pain. I have to have my nails perfect as well and I’ve only been doing them for about 1-1/2 years since I’m TG and finally full time. Working in the yard now means wearing gloves and heaven forbid if I break a nail 😦 I so enjoy reading this blog and one day will catch up to present day

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