My nail beds suck

November 21, 2015

The happy hour conversation was unexceptional with a few exceptions; soothing in its familiarity. We spent 30 minutes playing catchup and gossiping like little hens. This person married their neighbor. That person was snippy when they walked by at daycare. Then someone lit the match. “You guys, I’m having a serious breakdown. I look old.”


That was it. A giant finger had dropped into the room and tapped the first domino in an intricate arrangement of insecurities. The now-ignited wildfire burned for 20 minutes at least. From crow’s feet to the empty baby apartments surrounded by saggy skin to shortcomings at work to extra weight, we beat the shit out of ourselves, passing the boxing gloves around the circle like a fast-burning “cigarette”.

Remember that scene in Mean Girls, where they stand in front of the mirror and critique their reflections down to the nail beds?

Karen: God. My hips are huge!
Gretchen: Oh please. I hate my calves.
Regina: At least you guys can wear halters. I’ve got man shoulders.
Cady: [voiceover] I used to think there was just fat and skinny. But apparently there’s lots of things that can be wrong on your body.
Gretchen: My hairline is so weird.
Regina: My pores are huge.
Karen: My nail beds suck.
[pause. All look at Cady]
Cady: I have really bad breath in the morning.
Karen: Ew!
Mean Girls
It was kind of terrible. The martinis and the dim lighting warmed us into this gross place of revealing every doubt and exaggerating every subtle flaw. But there’s very little truth to any of it. Where we see wrinkles around our foreheads, others see eyes that have crinkled and cried during furious fits of laughter or smiled a familiar grin at us a million times. When I look at my girlfriends I only see the things in them that I treasure and, I imagine, they see the same in me. But why we have to rely on each other to point those things out, why we are so blind to our inner beauty, I’ll never understand.

So, for the record, my stomach looks like a pound of Silly Puddy left out in the sun. My face is starting to crease and show the ups and downs of my 33 years. I have athlete’s foot. And I’m pretty sure I could pack my lunch in my pores. But would I trade the Puddy for my trio of princesses? Not in a million trillion years. Would I smooth a crease in exchange for one of those magical summer nights where the stories made me cry and the belly laughs echoed under a black bedazzled sky? Probably not. Clear up the athlete’s foot after I hand over my half marathon medal? Doubtful. Up my skin regimen time at the expense of a few extra snuggles? You know the answer.

Am I ever going to completely abandon my self-bashing tendencies? I don’t know anyone who’s entirely liberated from introspection, and I don’t think it’s healthy to neglect taking inventory every now and again. Heck, I just bought a Rodan + Fields package to try out last week. But I am going to make a conscious effort to celebrate a bit more than I chastise. Because the dings and dents in my armor were earned in glorious fashion, in glorious company. I should be proud of the places this body has taken me and the obstacles it’s conquered. I should rejoice in the meaning of every mark and the lessons carried through every line. This shell is a story, my story, and while no narrative is perfect, it certainly deserves some respect.

Girls’ night goal: More chat, less talk about being fat. Simple.

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