The Difference a Few Years Can Make

Sometimes I look at my nails and feel sad. I remember when I was fourteen, and each nail was a different color and pattern than the preceding one. Saturday (because that was when I could pretend I didn’t have any responsibilities to deal with), I’d pull out my collection of cheap, neon polish (My grandma once suggested getting some nude colors, and I had pulled a face) and spend hours painting my nails. I’d replicate patterns I saw online, except without the fancy brush tips and gel polish, and even though my fingers were covered in splotches of color, and my nails would eventually smudge because I put on too thick of coats, and my lines were shaky and not elegant, I took such pride in the 10 masterpieces I painted. For a week I’d show anyone who’d look, at least until I’d anxiously chip away too much of the polish and there would only be an irregular square of color where hours of work used to be. I had liked my nails long then, but didn’t know how to take care of them, so usually I’d have a couple short nails amidst my long ones.

Then life happened; basketball and soccer, where nails that peered over the finger were decimated; high school, where I could maybe get away with a quick coat of different colors on my misshapen nails, but my weekends were more often spent sleeping or trying to catch up on homework than working on nails. Sacrifices, huh. And then I got a job in the food industry, and, well, my nails were clipped and bare. When I tried getting really wild with a light pink or not clipping my nails one Sunday like usual, a break that’d take a half or so off my nail would remind me to stay in line.

A few weeks ago I saw a picture of my fourteen-year old nails which sparked this observation. In the picture my nails were rainbow, striped, polk-a-dotted, (there was even a bird on one). The nails that pinched and zoomed the photo on the phone were uniform, coffin-shaped, dark purple almost black. Each nail was the same, even, and not a smudge on them.

I mean, I guess not much has changed, if I’m being honest. I still scrape off the nail polish when I’m talking to people. I still make too thick of strokes, and have to take off the polish and redo the nail. I still end up with polish on my hands, I’ve just learned how to make it look like I never did.

We learn a thing or two,
Growing up.