what having acrylic nails taught me

what having acrylic nails taught me

There are a number of reasons as to why I haven’t been writing regularly, but one of the most recent excuses is my new acrylic nails…

Not too long ago one of my younger cousins came down for a visit before she had to go back to school. We decided to treat her and make the most of our time; especially since we didn’t get to see her very often. Somewhere between shopping for school clothes and sucking down Starbucks, we decided to get her nails done for her first day back to school. Even though she was but 15, her mom usually took her to get acrylics instead of your simple “regular polished” mani.

(Honestly I was a bit surprised: my mother would always get us regular polish and nothing more so it was a shock to me to see a 13 year old girl getting full on tips…)

I decided that it was now or never.

I took the plunge and actually got acrylic nails.

I didn’t care that I was 24 years old- nothing could have prepared me for the excitement that was acrylic nails. You should have seen my face as I watched her dab the brush in the solution, again in the powder and form a brand new nail from it. It felt like the first time I watched a tiger walking around at the zoo: it was completely surreal.

I had asked for a shorter tip which turned out to be the longest length I’d had when I decided to grow my nails out naturally. I suddenly understood what women were saying about getting their nails done and how it made them feel like a complete and put-together woman: I clicked them on everything in sight; gawking at the white claws elegantly extended from beyond my fingertips.

Here’s the thing though…
Here’s what they forget to tell you about getting acrylic nails:

You need to make sure they match your lifestyle.

There was a whole other universe of femininity that I truly believed I’ve been missing out on since I was in high school. I didn’t go to salons to get my hair and nails done (I mean I did get my nails pained a couple of times for birthdays and my senior prom) and I almost never wore makeup (scratch the times I was performing at a dance concert). Needless to say, I was a girly girl, but not in the form a girly girl in high school was supposed to be. I didn’t sport the latest color Vans or drop $60 on torn acid-wash boyfriend jeans. I just didn’t see the need. And it wasn’t until after I got those acrylics did I recall why.

I’m a writer. I have been since I was a toddler. With the rise in technology came my love for using Google Docs when my favorite pen wasn’t nearby. But these nails… These nails… I would have had an easier time typing with chopsticks than with acrylic fingernails. I feel as though I’d been living my entire life not knowing what the pads of my fingers felt like, but now it was all I could use. The tips of my finders were pointless.

I completely forgot that I played guitar and piano. Ha! It wasn’t happening with those claws protruding out of my stubby fingers. I even recall a time I tried picking out fruit at a super market and accidentally stabbed right through a peach…

When being presented the opportunity to finally look like all the girls did in high school, all the women flooding my Instagram search, all the regulars who stared at me as if I’d walked into their front yard butt naked…

I chose it over who God made me to be.

Don’t get me wrong: I have absolutely nothing against women who stay in the salon. That just isn’t me. After cutting my chemically treated hair 4 years ago to embrace the God given curls that spring from my head, I’ve grown to fall in love with my natural self – including my nails. I began caring for my physical being as if it was a cherry tree and hoped that I’d see little blossoms of life as I cared for it. I am a woman who needs short nails because I do far too much with my hands to not to. Again, kudos to women who rock long nails. You’re my hero.

I’d finally had enough when a friend of mine asked me to write something for him for a collab. A line came to me in an instant, but instead of being able to turn to my laptop and type it out, my fingers tripped on the keys and rolled around the spacebar; causing me to make far too many errors and I ended up losing the line.

For those that don’t write, losing a line is the equivalent of being on a boating trip and accidentally dropping your smartphone overboard

Let that sink in.

I knew then and there that these nails had to go. A bottle of pure acetone and 5 hours later, I had my natural fingers back and boy I couldn’t be happier! I don’t mind that I don’t look like any of the fancy girls around me. I’m willing to bet that my strengths aren’t the same as hers. And if they are, praise God we share a similar trait! I will never be the women I see around me. I can only be myself. Sometimes that sucks because what I have in mind and what God have in mind can be two completely different ideas, but it’s great to know that the pressure isn’t all on me. I don’t have to live up to the standards of a woman who doesn’t even know my name.

I’m Julia Lauren with the short nails who writes a lot. Come at me.

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