Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Color me true
It's very exciting for me to be in New York, a place where having many nail salons lowers the price of a manicure to $6, half as much as it costs in Seattle.
The nail salon on Kingston was quiet when I walked in with two friends the other day.
The arduous mental task of picking a color was all that stood between me and my seat in front of a sweet, middle aged, non-English speaking Asian.
I looked at the wall of colors.
Does anybody actually wear lime green nail polish?
Probably not, but they have it anyways.
It’s all there, to create a beautiful rainbow on the wall of potential colors that can have you standing for hours trying to decide.
My eyes go directly to the row of reds.
Red nail polish is so fun.
Red is boldly feminine.
Red is eye catching.
Red is dramatic.
Red is alluring.
Gosh, you know the word I'm trying to get at.
I pick up the red.
I’m excited about this.
But something keeps me looking.
I am being held back from committing to the color.
The voice within is talking.
It’s saying, “Red is just too hot.”
It’s saying, “Red is a statement.”
It’s saying, “Be attractive, not attracting.”
In contrast, the friend I was with decided on red rather easily.
The pressure kicked in, and I told her about my inner struggle.
She said, “Yea, who cares? Do what you want.”
I say, “I should go with my intuition, right?”
But what is my intuition?
One part of me is saying, “Do what makes you feel good.”
The other is saying, “Don’t be so loud.”
I decided to end the inner battle by going with my initial attraction to the red.
I fell for its flames, and, with an excited smile, went to get the show on the road.
I sat down, and started chatting idly with the lady who was now dipping my hands in blue liquid and filing my nails to a square.
The whole time, I’m looking at the red positioned next to her hands, and glancing back at the color well.
The thoughts are still like waves in my head.
Would I wear red nail polish on a date?
Would I feel comfortable wearing it in front of the people I admire?
Does it give off a false impression? Portray a boldness that I just don’t relate to?
My hands are now ready for the polish.
The lady is shaking the bottle.
She is twisting the cap.
My hands are limp at her whim.
No joke – a second before the brush is about to hit my nails, I pull my hands away.
“Wait, I’m so sorry, but I am going to go get a different color!”
The color of nail polish should not bring forth such a mind battle.
Either it fits, or it doesn’t.
I took it as a sign that I really am uncomfortable with the red.
Right then and there, I decided - I am going to show my true colors.
I quickly ran back to the color wall and picked out something lighter, a warm peachy color.
For me, no matter how attracted I was to going for the bold red, it didn’t sit well with me.
I had to question my motives. I had to hear the stronger voice. I had to be honest.
When it came down to it, something overrode my attraction to the red.
I have not formulated a strong opinion about red nail polish.
I am not making broad claims about the nature of those who wear it.
This was just me being forced to make a personal decision, and trying to be true to myself, and where I’m holding.
I don’t want to be a person who doesn’t care.
If I had to tell myself “I don’t care” to go with it, then I couldn’t do it.
With my decision against red that day, I decided to have a conscious about even the seemingly insignificant choices I make all the time.
Everything about my outer appearance, yes – down to the color of my nail polish – is meant to blend and jive with who I am beneath it all.
So, I spent that Shabbos with a polish color that was more “blah” than “wow.”
And the funny part is that, deep down, what nobody sees is that I am very attracted to hot red nail polish.
I am wearing lighter shades, but little do you know, I hurt my head deciding against red.
“Mimi doesn’t wear red nail polish.”
Yea, so what? I don’t wear it. But I am attracted to it.
In the end, does my choice of color point to my modesty?
Modesty starts from within, but within - I want red!
There, the truth is out there.
Don’t be deceived.
Yes, in the end, though – I didn’t go for the red.
And what does that say about me?
It’s not so clear.
But one thing is for sure.
While my nails may not be painted a bold red, the decision I made left me feeling pretty brave.