This brought up a lot of conversations about the importance of insisting on self-care, about pampering, and about pleasure. I felt particularly grateful for those reminders, especially with all the terrible and tragic events happening around the world. However, mid manicure I started having an identity crisis...
Yikes. But what if those voices are right? How can I call myself an activist or change leader if I'm sitting around doing my nails? I should be protesting, training people, infiltrating major corporations, running for office and smashing the patriarchy!
I took a deep breath, got some tea, and gently asked myself what I know to be true. There was wisdom waiting at my fingertips...
Here are the five things I learned from my manicure that day...
Manicures help build community
When I get together with people to pamper myself, it allows me to connect with women in meaningful ways. There is something wonderful and transformational about women making time to come together to enjoy each other’s company, express their unique style, talk about important issues, and celebrate the beauty of being a woman.
At the core of peacemaking is the ability to bring people together. People come together for many reasons: for hate, for criticism, for trauma, for competition... why not come together for pampering? Seems like a good idea to me.
Beauty is for me to define
Makeup, hair, nails, etc... If you participated in Burlesque for the Boardroom, you may remember questions about whether or not you can wear makeup and still be a good feminist. It is important to define your own standards and intentions of beauty.
Self-adornment isn’t about fulfilling someone else’s beauty standards. Most companies try to capitalize on me believing my self-worth is related to an impossible commercialized standard of beauty that diminishes women.
Beauty is about the joy it brings me to take slow deliberate pleasure in adorning myself. It is about colors, shapes, textures that feel good. It is about tiny moments, tiny rituals of self-care and self-love, that remind me I deserve to be treated with great care and affection. It is about remembering and worshiping my goddess self, and seeing beauty through the female gaze.
Put my money (and manicures) where my mouth is
Getting my nails done is an example of my social-political-economic influence. I can choose to support a women-founded or women-run local business, and contribute directly to women's engagement in the economy. I can connect with part-time working mothers or entrepreneurs who are closing the wage gap in their families by finding new and creative ways to work. I can purchase products/services that are not only good for the environment, but better for me.
Personally, I'm obsessed with Jamberry nail wraps because they are non-toxic, vegan, gluten-free, made in the USA, and three sisters started the company. I'm also a Jamberry independent consultant. With women dictating a large majority of the purchasing decisions in the home, where you put your money matters.
Touch is one of my strongest love languages, and there is something deeply intimate about our hands. Our hands are our connection to the physical world. They caress, hold, hug, cook, clean, wipe tears away, massage, congratulate, shake, grip, plant, brush... One of the first things we do when we greet someone is reach for their hand (be that with new born babies or in business negotiations).
Taking care of our hands is a brilliant act of love and generosity to ourselves. It is a way to create relationship, build trust, and deepen intimacy with ourselves and others.
Pleasure and self-care are non-negotiables
I will keep telling myself that until it finally sinks in. If I can't care for myself, I will never be able to share my full heart with anyone else.
To remind us of this, I'm going to be bringing back some of my favorite Burlesque for the Boardroom lessons over the next couple weeks. Make sure you are in my Facebook group where I'll be sharing insights, reflections and activities.
I'll also be raffling off free nail wraps to help remind you of these lessons from my manicure.
Get to know your neighbor, and make connections you would not be able to make alone. Learn about each other’s’ unique style, challenges and triumphs. Come together with friends, new and old. Hold someone's hand (literally or metaphorically) who is in need.
The next time you get a manicure, reflect on what it means to you.
Want to learn more about Jamberry nail wraps? Check them out here.