Tiny acts of rebellion

I didn’t get my nails done.

I went to the nail salon with my daughter, Carmen, who was very excited about getting her nails done, and I turned down the service for myself.

This was not an earth-shattering decision by any means. I didn’t participate in a protest; I didn’t fight for humanitarian rights, I didn’t do anything other than saying no when the woman at the nail salon asked me if I wanted my nails done.

It was nothing more than a tiny act of rebellion, for me, myself and I. No, thank you, I’ll skip the forty dollars, damaged nail beds, and fleeting sense of accomplishment that comes with the shiny lacquered look of a fresh dip manicure. The sense of accomplishment that will pass in a week when they begin to grow out, or chip or fade.  Then I’ll be faced with another trip and another dip…into my pocketbook, in my mood, and if I’m not careful, my sense of worthiness.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I don’t like the look of beautiful nails; I do.

And I’m not proclaiming that I’ll never get them again, I might.

It was a tiny act of rebellion because, more and more,  I find myself thinking a lot about the demands on women to be pretty, perfect, and polished in every last thing that we do.  I think about how a luxury, such as manicured hands, has become necessary because, in some warped way, our worth gets tied to how something like whether the tips of our fingers are artificially colored and shaped.

I think about the subtle and not so subtle messages we’ve gotten that say…

“People will look at your hands, and you’ll be judged on their appearance.  You don’t want to leave a poor impression…do you?”

Of course not.  I don’t want that.  That wouldn’t be good, would it?

I want to be good.  In fact, as a woman, I’ve been conditioned to believe that good is my most desired state.

A good wife.

A good mom.

A good employee.

But I can’t help but wonder, when did manicured hands get added to the list of what is supposed to make me, or any other woman good?  Is this an exaggeration? Maybe, but I don’t think so.  I watch as the women in my life add more and more to the list of things they must do to be good.  I watch as they struggle with their confidence, with their worth trying to keep up with this endless and oftentimes pointless list.

I watch, and I wonder, when did the tips of our fingers become a reflection of the condition of our hearts or the depth of our integrity?

As women, I wonder when we will remember that we are good enough and that striving to be good for someone other than ourselves is an act of rebellion against our very hearts?

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