For many women, a fresh mani is the cure for a sluggish mood. There is much truth in the saying when you look good, you feel good.

Getting my nails done is optional though. I enjoy that particular pampering irregularly, and it is one of the first frivolous expenses to be shoved to the back row when more important life endeavors arise. But I, too, love the refreshed, new nails, who dis attitude that comes with a set of freshly manicured nails. I keep it simple – not one for acrylics or designs. I just pick a color to match my mood, the current season and keep it moving. Everything is all good until my nails grow out or the dreaded premature chipping occurs.

I suppose it’s all reflective of life, really. We go through this process of getting everything just the way we want it, and, boom, you look up, and the next to-do list is fully formed, or the next obstacle is there to replace the last. It’s a never-ending cycle of chasing perfection.

Look, there is a reason that preserving one’s nails is a $5.9 billion industry. Women are indoctrinated from birth to put stock into their appearance. Pretty dresses, pretty nails, pretty purses, pretty shoes – physical appearance becomes the driving force of self-confidence. Women are often left to navigate the true meaning of valuing self well into adulthood.

That’s why I’ve learned to live with chipped polish. Maintaining perfectly kempt manicures is an unattainable goal – just as living a perfect life is impossible. You could get the gel polish, or its other iterations, that last two or three weeks, but eventually, the maintenance will have to be revisited. It becomes part of the rhythm women dance to in the name of beauty.

Learning to peacefully sit in the mired state of the in-between is essential for developing deep self-love and self-acceptance. Because life doesn’t stop lifing during our imperfect conditions. I fully believe it serves us well to not place too much value in things such as the length, color, or design of our nails – this should include our clothes, shoes, and hair as well. Let’s face it, we are constantly bombarded with imagery of what a self-assured woman looks like, less on what being one actually feels like and even less on how to get there.

It has taken years of trial and error to get the right blend of therapeutic practices for my soul to feel at my baddest whether my nail polish – or any other physical marker of a prosperous woman – is perfect or not. Life is charging ahead according to our plans or not. Ensuring you are equipped to feel and be at your best despite any chinks in your efforts for a well-polished life is essential to dwelling in true peace.

Growing in strength to push forward in love and life, whether plans fail or require adjustment, takes work. That work includes asking yourself who you are without the things that project who you are to the world. If that requires going to therapy, go. If that entails going out in public without make-up or with chipped nails – do it, knowing that perfection is unachievable, and beauty is relative.

The soul has to be just as fly as the nails – and that kind of confidence can drive you forward in the face of anything.




Patrice Nye

A woman, confidently lost, writing about navigating life while embracing the versions of herself that
emerge along the way. A compliance professional by trade, runner, foodie, wine enthusiast, travel
junkie, huntress/shooter, and lover of all things beautiful. Being lost can lead to Beautiful places!