Ever since I was a little kid, transition was a challenge for me. My mom tells me about bringing me home from preschool and putting me in my room to play quietly for a while. She knew even then that I needed extra time to decompress from the bustling activity of a classroom full of newly-socialized 4-year-olds and Playskool toys and chubby crayons.
Sometimes, as an adult, it’s easy to forgo that essential decompression phase during a time of adjustment. Sometimes, even a really positive change (*ahem* new job with no commute *AHEM*) can trial one’s equanimity. It might just be where I live right now.
So today, I am going to paint my nails.
Back in college, I shadowed a very sassy neurologist who kept a little vinyl bag in her desk. It was her emergency baggie, she said. In it, she had a few sachets of Black Cherry Berry tea (yech), a tube of crimson lipstick, and a bottle of sheer shimmery pink nail polish. If the day was really going to hell, she could throw on a coat of polish or a swipe of the lipstick and through some mystical femme magic, strike an emotional reset button.
I don’t mean to take something so purely whimsical to such a rational place, but listen: it’s grounding to look at your fingertips and see a color that you chose, that you made time to lacquer on. It’s a reminder that you have a little little tiny power over a little tiny thing–little and tiny, yes, but you see it every waking moment of your day.
And it’s cute, dammit.
Painting my fingernails provides some (perhaps false, but still effective) sense of control over my life, and reminds me to take things lightly. Whimsy is an essential co-factor in the synthesis of resilience.
Now, if I could just pick a color…