I’m easily stressed.
This is not news to most of you. It’s mostly because I’m a worrier. And a perfectionist. And…well, need I go on?
When I find myself in the middle of a stress spiral as I am this week—for many reasons, all of which have been resolved/finished/taken care of—the part of my brain that normally makes decisions easily just…shuts down.
“What do you want for dinner, Melisa?”
“I don’t know. I can’t even think about that right now.”
“Okay, do you want salad, or how about grilled chicken? Or burgers?”
“I don’t know. I don’t care. You pick.”
I am also a life-long nail biter, which is hilarious considering the fact that I’ve been writing for NAILPRO magazine for the last (nearly) eight years.
Full disclosure: I wore acrylic nails for the first six of those eight years, and in the last two years I have taken great care to get regular manicures because if my nails are done, I leave them alone. (That’s because chipped nail polish is, in my mind, much worse than ragged, chewed up nails. Shhh. Don’t say a word. It’s working for me.)
Naturally, when I’m stressed the nail biting/picking at polish gets worse.
That’s why, even though I had a bajillion other things to catch up on this afternoon, I kept my nail appointment. It’s been a brutal week for my nails too: my Shellac polish chipped once over the weekend and so, to keep myself from picking at it until all ten nails were free of artificial color, I soaked it all off. The days in between when I do that and when I have an appointment are…tricky.
I consider it a major accomplishment that I have any nails left after the week I’ve had.
So I kept that appointment. I sat down in front of my nail technician—who has done my nails for over a year and with whom I have an awesome, friendly relationship—and did what always I do after a rough week or two.
I slammed my hands on the table and said, “Look at this. I’m so sorry.”
She usually gives me a slightly disapproving look, and I know from working in a nail salon that the look is half in good fun and half because she’s thinking, “Dang, more work for me!” She took it in stride though, as always, and got to work.
She asked, “What color are we doing today?”
I sighed. “I have no idea. I don’t care.”
You would think that it would be a good idea for someone who is paying for a manicure to actually choose her own color, but with all of the other things I have to think about, I honestly, usually, don’t care. It’s why I’ve let her paint my nails purple, and blue, and other “weird-for-me” colors. I don’t care. I just need them polished.
The fact is, though, nail technicians are artists at heart. They have very strong opinions about colors. That’s why mine asks me if I would like to have green nail polish every time I visit her.
I always say no. I don’t much like green. I mean, green is a great color. I think there are more shades of green than any other color, and I say that because when I was working as a custom framer, it was so so so so difficult to match greens when choosing mat board.
Very scientific, I know.
My nail tech loves green on nails and I don’t.
But today, I arrived in a weakened state.
When she asked me what color I wanted and I claimed not to care, she said, “Come on, pick something!”
She handed me the color samples and I picked a color called “Clay Canyon”. It’s a neutral pink, which I thought would be great since my nails are really short and this week I really don’t want people looking at my nails.
I think she snorted at me before giving me a face and saying, “I will not put that on your nails. You’re not eighty!”
I protested. “It’s pretty though!”
“NO IT’S NOT,” she said. “It’s an old lady color!!! How about green? St. Patrick’s Day is Monday!”
“NO,” I said, “You know I can’t stand green.”
She laughed and kept showing me different green variations, and then she hit me in the weakness with the shiny sparkly one.
“Fine. I don’t care. Just use that one,” I said.
She was thrilled. I was exhausted.
And that’s why my nails look like this:
I will be sick of this color in two days, probably less. This was a reckless decision caused by stress, and even though I still despise green, that was one decision I didn’t have to make so it’s a winning green. I guess. Festive, even?