Morgan’s Week 2, Fear #31: Get a Manicure
This week I faced one of my silliest fears: I went into the completely unknown territory of a beauty salon. Major “Eeek!” for me! I grew up a hardcore tomboy, I was never taught how to do makeup, how to paint my nails or “do” my hair. I was, and still am, a no-muss-no-fuss kinda gal. So venturing into the super-femme turf of a manicurists was pretty intimidating to say the least.
I was raised to think that beautification was pretty low on the priority list. Being raised by two philosophy professors can make things pretty cerebral pretty fast and my appearance was never equated with my personal value. In retrospect I think it’s a good thing not to send your child messages—especially young girls—that how they look is the most important part about you. Having said that, it did leave me with a bit of a complex about self-care in general. Somehow I got it into my head that ANY self-care was frivolous and unimportant. Dressing up, taking time to “look nice” was just silly and a waste of time. I wasn’t worth all that extra time and money, I thought to myself.
As an adult, I notice that I talk myself out of spending any extra time on myself or my appearance. I tell myself it’s “too girly”—whatever that means—and that it’s stupid to spend money or energy on fashion, beautification or even massages.
This is why I chose to include getting a manicure on my master list of fears to conquer this year. I needed to remind myself that, getting a manicure is just a nice thing to do for yourself. It’s a symbolic way of telling myself that I am worth the time and money, even if I only do it once. I won’t turn into Paris Hilton or a character from the movie “Means Girls” overnight if I go get my nails done.
Self-care is important because it is a ritual that reminds all of us that we are worth it. As soon as I wrote that last line, I realized how much it sounds like a tag line from a makeup commercial but it is true. We all need to carve out a little time in our day to spend for ourselves. Taking care of ourselves prepares us to better help others. Just like the aviation safety drills tell us on every commercial flight: we must secure our own oxygen mask before assisting others with theirs.
After all my anxiety of crossing the threshold of the salon, I was greeted with kindness. I explained to my manicurist about my trepidation and she was lovely about it. She metaphorically held my hand through choosing a color that would suit me, talking me through the process, and reminded me to relax my hands (it’s more difficult than it sounds). Overall, it was a pleasant experience. I’m not sure if I’ll do it again but it was important for me to cross it off my list. I was not scared for life and I even left with nice clean nails for once. Thank you to the woman who guided me through this process. I couldn’t have done it without her.
Chris’s Fears Week 2: Beer
This week, I decided to drink a real beer. I am not a drinker and never really have been. It’s not like I am a teetotaler nor do I not like the taste of alcohol. On the contrary, I really do like the taste of most, high quality alcohol and beer (i.e. not piss in a can like PBR although they do support NPR so that’s something). The reason why I “fear” alcohol is what is that it lowers my inhibitions and I feel out of control when I start to get that buzz. In the past this has lead to me eating more than I want and stuff that I don’t want to eat which makes me feel like crap both mentally and physically.
I am also afraid of the extra calories. One of the first rules I always heard when I started to diet as a middle and high schooler is to not drink you calories and that alcohol would instantly lead to extra pounds, so I always have those echoes of shame, guilt, and fear lurking in the back of my mind when I start to think about having a drink. And those echoes continue to resound even after I have drink.
This is a gross exaggeration and really shows my black and white thinking. There are many excellent athletes who have an occasional beer and still excel at their sport and don’t instantly, develop a beer guy, so this week, I decided to have a good, high quality beer.
The beer actually tasted really good and I made sure to enjoy every last sip. If I stopped enjoying it, I stopped drinking it. This was not light beer and I had no source of calories on it so I did get some anxiety there but I took a deep breath and told myself, i
t’s ok to kick back and enjoy myself. Nothing bad will happen here.
When I did develop a slight buzz and I could feel my inhibitions relaxing, I just rode the feeling and focused on being mindful through it all. This mindfulness not only made me enjoy the taste of the brew more but also prevented me from eating out of control. Since I was actually being with my emotions and feeling them to their fullest, they lost their power and did not drive me to do things to avoid them.
Will this be a frequent indulgence? I don’t think so. I still don’t like the mental buzz as much as some so I think I will leave it to once in a “blue moon” (see what I did there?) treat. but I know now that nothing will catastrophic will happen after a single beer and that a single beer can actually be enjoyable.