It's funny how things in your life can take on new meanings, isn't it? And sometimes those new meanings can kind of change your perspective on things. And sometimes it can kind of blow your mind. (Or, if you want to be less dramatic, it can at least make you think a little bit.)
If you know me at all, you know how much I love nail polish (and have since I was a kid.) Sometimes it's muted colors, sometimes a little more wild. Sometimes I go for the cute look, and sometimes a little more funky. It's just one of those little things that I can do to add some style and personality to my look. And it's fun.
But in preparation for my family's recent camping trip, I had removed the polish and cut the nails short, knowing that I would probably be breaking them out in the woods anyway. (Which I did, starting about five minutes after we got to the campground.) I was perfectly fine with that, really. But on the way home it did cross my mind that it would be nice to be back home, and clean, and nicely manicured once again.
And that was the plan. As soon as I could find a moment to sit down with my box-o-tools I would give myself a manicure. Only I didn't do it. Just like I didn't do a lot of things in the two weeks that followed. Like I mentioned, the week after we came back from camping was a pretty bad pain week. And that was frustrating, and depressing.
It was made even more frustrating by the fact that the pain had been caused by something that I really enjoyed doing. And I have to admit that it made me a little bitter. I had all these wonderful pictures and stories to share. But every time I thought about the trip, it just reminded me how much pain I was in, which made me cranky, and sucked out all of my desire to write (and, eventually, to do anything that made me happy.)
But you can only live like that for so long. For me, at least, being cranky and depressed starts getting really irritating after a little while. So I decided to make an actual effort to feel better, instead of just going along with feeling bad. It took a couple of weeks, and a lot of inner dialogue, but I finally got through it.
And then I sat down and painted my nails. And it made me smile. Which made me feel a little better. And once I had that little glimmer, I had something to build on, and eventually let go of the pain and frustration that I had been letting control me. (And it turned out that being "back home...and nicely manicured" was much more of a metaphor than I had realized.)
This isn't the first time I've been through a pain cycle like this, and I'm sure it won't be the last. But if there is a bright side (and you know there always is) it is that I was reminded of a few very important things:
1) It's not so much about where you are. It's more about how you feel. (Your physical location doesn't matter nearly as much as how you react to it.) And once you're in a good place mentally, everything else is brighter too.
2) It is incredibly important to find - and do - those little things in life that give us a reason to smile. Paint your nails. Read a book. Watch a favorite movie. Go for a walk. Whatever you do for your "me time" - make time for it.
and 3) Feeling better doesn't happen instantly. Even when you "decide" that you're going to get over things and move on, it takes time. But it's important to keep at it, because eventually those little things that make you smile will add up, and smiling will be your way of life again.