Toenails and Mindfulness

Pretty good for a first timer.

I promised myself I’d blog every week. So now I’m here, online, writing, and the only topic that pops up is the pedicure I gave myself last night. My toes look mighty pretty painted a Jordan-almond lilac, but so what?


I’m not sure, so I’m just going to write, right here and now, and see what my preening is really all about.

First off, it occurs to me that last night was my very first DIY, full-on pedicure. Make no mistakes, I’ve paid for pedicures, and I’ve slapped on the quick, last-minute coat of paint. Last night though, I soaked my feet, scraped my callouses, excavated the gunk around my nail beds, pushed back my cuticles, clipped and filed the nails, slathered on the foot creme, AND THEN applied the bottom coat and two coats of the childish lilac. (Forgot the top coat though…next time.)

I was proud of myself when I woke up this morning. I might as well have been a bride-to-be holding out her hand to gaze at her engagement ring. Admiring herself, admiring myself.

I’m astounded that I’d never given myself a pedicure before. And, even more astoundingly, I sat around with Angie, a fellow writer, watching old BBC episodes of “Absolutely Fabulous” and drinking red wine while I did it. I’d never before engaged in a girly evening like that either. I’m serious, never, not even as a teenager. My best girlfriend and I used to play chess. Either that, or we were drinking with our neer-do-well friends. Call us bad girls with nasty toenails.

Angie was surprised by my cluelessness. I had a mom, I had sisters, I had many best girlfriends growing up. How did I miss this girly right of passage (sans the red wine–or maybe not)? How could I not know why we use a bottom coat? No clue. For most of my life, I’ve treated my feet, well, like feet. I need them to transport myself, and to hopefully maintain my balance.

Here’s the thing: DIY pedicures require a quiet mind. Otherwise, what’s the point? To rush through the process, thinking ahead to the many other tasks I must cross off the to-do list, fretting about aspects of my life over which I have no control…Perhaps this is why I’ve never indulged in the DIY pedi before now: I tend to inhabit the land of the future, and this land is fraught with imagined obstacles and turmoil and conflict.

It’s quite exhausting.

So maybe I keep gazing at my confectionary toes because they return me to mindfulness. Simple pleasures in the here and now, you know? I could get used to girly frivolity; it might even be good for me. And even better, doing it with a friend! Angie taught me, for example, that two thin coats of paint are less likely to chip than one thick coat.

Who knew? (I certainly didn’t.)

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