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Everyone Has Their Own Version of Brave

May 7, 2013

My awesome Mom 2.0 Summit roommate, Elan, came all the way from Saskatchewan (which one lady we talked to didn’t actually know was a real place) to talk about being our own true authentic selves, about coming out of our shells to proudly claim who we are and what we want. She had seven minutes on stage in front of a ballroom full of people to cover her subject.

Elan Morgan

Elan is pretty scared about public speaking, but she did it anyway. She knows if you want to grow, you have to face your fears.

I faced one of my fears at Mom 2.0, too. It’s probably not as common a fear as public speaking, but I don’t have a fear of public speaking, thanks to Toastmasters. Insert ad here: TRY TOASTMASTERS, HONESTLY, IT’S GREAT.

What I can’t do – or what I couldn’t do before Thursday – was get a manicure. What the what? That’s a STUPID fear.

I know. But just because it is stupid doesn’t mean I can’t be afraid of it.

qkZmj - Imgur
Me, right before the manicure

I didn’t grow up with any guidance on how to be girly. My mom never told me one single thing about how to dress or be pretty. I never got hints or lessons on hair and makeup and clothes. Into that vacuum of information, the deluge of 1970s feminism fell.

I was left with the idea that taking pains to be beautiful was somewhere between vain, stupid, and traitorous to the cause of Womanhood.

Live hardcore

I never did much to rectify that situation on my own, either. I always feel like it is embarrassing to be seen trying to be pretty, with the result that I usually look either sloppy or…oh, let’s just leave it at sloppy.

So to walk in a nail salon and let a tiny, stunning Vietnamese woman have her way with my snaggletooth nails was just EXACTLY like Elan spilling her guts on stage.

Ok, maybe not exactly the same thing, but I was truly afraid. It took all I had to suck it up and walk in that terrifying door, heart bumping in my chest. I paused in the parking lot, checking my phone, hoping for an important message that would require my attention.

Finally, I walked into the Mystery Palace of Womanhood. Just as I feared, the manicurist was horrified by my claws.

Then I got even braver, because she talked me into having MY EYEBROWS WAXED AS WELL.

I KNOW, right? When I got done, I was all I am Woman, Hear My Eyebrows.

So I stand before you, proud to claim what I am – no longer a manicure virgin. I fear no nail salon!

It did take her a while to get rid of all those snaggleteeth, though.

My first manicure. Really.
Voila. Turned out nice.

  1. Gretchen permalink
    May 8, 2013 04:30

    At 51, I’ve never had a manicure but I did have my first pedicure last winter. I blame it on growing up in a small town and having a mom like yours. Live and learn!

    • May 8, 2013 07:00

      We’re the same age, Gretchen. Manicures used to be fancy! People who grew up after the nail salon explosion just sort of expect them, I think.

  2. May 8, 2013 06:53

    Thank you, Suebob. I had my first (and thus far only) pedicure at 42. I still haven’t done my eyebrows but I’ve been wanting to for oh, about 10 years. I think you’ve just given me the courage to suck it up and get it done.

    • May 8, 2013 07:02

      I thought the eyebrows would hurt waaaaay more than they did. The bonus was that I was at a blogging conference, so someone complimented me on my eyebrows within the hour, so I was all “Wow! I guess it DOES make a difference!”

  3. kizzbeth permalink
    May 8, 2013 06:58

    I don’t do it often but I feel as though manis and pedis are an allowable indulgence. I mean, I’m never going to fix all the damage I’ve done to my paws on my own!

    • May 8, 2013 07:03

      Dogs are not kind to our hands. I got my hand jammed between a pillar and an attractive tennis ball when I had Abbie on the leash the other day…still recovering.

  4. May 8, 2013 07:19

    Good for you. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little beautifying. And I don’t even think of it as being “pretty” – it’s more along the lines of making it obvious that I care enough about myself to about how I look. (Kind of like how I joke when I pull weeds outside that I want my place to look as if someone lives here and cares.) This gives me a certain amount of self-confidence which in turn helps me in a positive way to deal with others. It’s good to care about how you look. It isn’t good to obsess over how you look or let it become a distraction.

    • May 12, 2013 09:26

      I have to write more about this. I get embarrassed if I think I’m giving the impression of trying. It doesn’t give me self-confidence – it makes me fee shame. I have to look more and this and hopefully get over it.

  5. May 8, 2013 08:20

    I haven’t had many manicures or pedicures but I am awed at your eyebrow bravery. I can’t do it. My skin is too much of a sensitive snowflake when it comes to waxing, which means I look fine the day of but a day or two later it would like something tried to eat my eyebrows off.

    • May 12, 2013 09:25

      I had a moment of fear that she would rip my skin off and I’d spend my weekend explaining the bloody scars on my head to 500 bloggers.

  6. May 10, 2013 12:05

    I completely get the feeling of embarrassment associated with trying to look good. It sounds weird when I say it out loud, but it’s something I’ve struggled with, too.

    Truth be told, I had eyebrow envy when I saw you, but I was too shy to make you push me into a salon. You look good🙂

    • May 12, 2013 09:18

      I guess I should write more about it an explore the topic. It’s so deeply rooted that the first time a stylist wanted to dye my hair, I started sobbing for a bunch of reasons…There’s this false modesty that we’re taught. So then what is real modesty? Hmmmm.

      The whole manicure/eyebrow thing was only $24, which seems pretty cheap for that much attention, but it’s a week later and my nails are all chipped, and I’m certainly not spending $1200 a year on nails and eyebrows. I always equate it to a trip to Paris, even though I’ve never actually gone to Paris.

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