Rusted out boiler room. 

I painted my daughter’s toenails last night. Happily, she gave me a huge hug after admiring the pink sparkle then whispered in my ear, “You are the BEST mommy, ever!” I basked in my most honored parent status because it never lasts long…

The first time I had my toenails done was when my husband gifted me a spa day as a graduation gift from residency. After so many years of slaving away under florescent lights and hospital grime with stress piled upon stress, it sounded like the perfect gift to everyone except me. 

I was thirty years old.

Some girls grow up getting their nails done. With moms. With friends. By themselves. 

But I had never done it before.

The anxiety was overwhelming. 

For weeks I stressed about the condition of my feet: the rather large bunions I had inherited from my father, the years of callous buildup from marathon training, the shape of my nails… Hell, did my feet smell bad?

Go on, take a sniff.

I darn near chickened out. I sat there throughout the procedure, mortified. Each touch of the nail tech’s hands was painful. Not physically painful. Emotionally painful. 

Someone was touching my horrible feet!

In the end my feet looked beautiful. For the first time in my life my feet, my toes… they looked beautiful. At least to me.

My feet could be beautiful?

As a very little girl I always felt beautiful. Then I saw the reality of me in a photograph and all of that magic disappeared. I have spent the rest of my life trying to recapture it. There are times when I can catch a glimpse, however fleeting, when I can successfully hide the myriad of perceived flaws beneath clothes or makeup enough that I can forget about them for a moment.

Maybe it is silly that something little like nail polish can do it for me?

Perhaps I am actually lucky. Some women go to extreme measures…

I am still terribly self concious about my feet. Having my nails done is not my favorite thing to do. I can bring myself to it maybe once or twice a year, but I never regret it.

As for my daughter, I will paint her toenails pink whenever she likes and hope that she, too, can some day find that magic again and maybe escape the bunion problems…


102 thoughts on “Ugliness

  1. Pedicures are my most favourite thing! I’m sorry that you can’t share in that joy. Hopefully you make make some new traditions, memories, and meanings with your daughter as she grows up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How fun for you and your daughter to do that together!

    I’ve only had a pedicure on a couple occasions and never a manicure. I must admit, they feel wonderful, but the introvert in me just can’t bring myself to keep going. So I paint my toenails myself. Which reminds me–it’s sandal season. Must get my nail polish out… (My fingernails stay bare. Too lazy to go there too.)

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I hate feet. Mine are ticklish and so I am anxious if Hubby so much as brushes them in bed at night, so you can imagine the fun (not) we had applying the ointment to the verruca I had a little while ago.
    Funny story for you though, I fell asleep on the couch one evening and when I woke up had ten smiley milies on my toes. Hubby was holding the bottle of nail polish with a bin grin on his face.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think being the change we want to see in the world begins with how we view ourselves. Or our feet. There is a lot of beauty in this tired old world, despite the ugliness that predominates everything we read in the news feeds. The secret is looking past the bunions to the polish that empowers us and alters our perspectives, hopefully for the better.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The last time I discussed manicures and pedicures with a man, his answer was a woman that does that every week is a ‘high maintenance’ well there goes the jist. Mif you have money you do it if not you cut them short and live with it and your feet wear close shoes.
    Great story, lots of us can relate. Quenya

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was 30, too! A girlfriend visiting from Chicago took me for one. I would have been mortified by the state of my feet if I weren’t so darn tired from pregnancy. Now I go in for a pedicure once or twice a year, but I have to skip the polish because I haven’t yet found one I don’t react to. *shakes fist* (My earrings are this my indulgence!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know how old I was when I started getting pedicures. I’d always done my own, but then I got older and my feet got rougher, so I needed professional intervention. I do know I was in my mid-30’s and I lived in Georgia. Here, I go maybe 3-4 times a year and maintain them in between. Winter is so nice, lol πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I think I was 40. And I loved it — I love it. I do not do a lot to pamper myself, so every once in a while I do it. My husband gives me a hard time about it every time. Tough luck, buddy. (Oh, and Duncan bites my painted toes — I think John taught him that.)

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  9. Why do we do this to ourselves? I have stressed over my appearance, too short too fat, too thin and now thanks to my accident my back is C shaped instead of S shaped and I hate it . I hate the way o look more than the physical pain it causes! Yes the sensible part of me knows I should be grateful that I can walk… I just have to slap my legs and get on with it! As for feet .. Don’t get me started. :). ❀

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Victo, no pedicures or manicures for me. Never wanted them! Clicked on photograph in your post and can relate to early school photographs though. Mine around 5th grade…smiles with shiny gold braces, and always “bangs” and short hair! Yikes! Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am flabbergasted at women who do not feel beautiful. I see all women as intrinsically beautiful – no matter the state of their feet or any other body part..They can act ugly but they can’t BE ugly.All women are born beautiful and remain so throughout their lives. I can no more conceive of a woman who is not beautiful than I can conceive of a woman who does not breathe. I do feel when a woman thinks herself more or less beautiful, so have at the manis and pedis.

    And when you act ugly around me, I am much more given to forgive you than i am a man. Even so i cannot believe you are not beautiful – i just may not be able to see it at the moment through your actions, but I know it is there. And that is more than faith, that is knowledge..

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I love manicures. It’s not so much the actual manicure. The first time I had one, I was 30. I was the mom if one with one on the way and my sister convinced me to go get a manicure. I resisted but finally gave in. It was wonderful to have someone pampering me and to have that time to myself. My son was at my mother’s so I wasn’t worried about him. I felt so relaxed. After that up looked forward to a manicure every time I drove the hour to my mom’s house. She watched my kids and I got to be pampered.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My daughter (middle-aged) has always hated pedicure and manicures as she does not like the touching. Now I see she is not alone! I am definitely low maintenance in that area. Yet I admire those with lovely nails! Keep on being the best mom ever!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I’ve still never had a pedicure… hate my feet and think they are so ugly. Totally get your anxiety….maybe one day I too will brave the salon for my foot makeover.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sometimes, they actually hurt. Am I the only one ??? I must have some rough cuticles maybe. I’ve had both kinds of “cures”…would rather do it myself. But I live in running shoes, so why bother ?? I used the birth of my daughter as my excuse to no longer do manicures; nursing mother, keeping nails short, etc. I still use her as my excuse. She is 31. ☺

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well, you get your money’s worth then, right? πŸ™‚ I used to be terribly concerned that my feet were too large, too. But then I realized that when I looked at people I was NOT making judgements about them based on their shoe size, or even really noticing the size of their feet. Why doesn’t that work with bunions?


  16. I am 61 (on Monday) and I have NEVER had a pedicure. However, my toes have always been done. I do them. Every spring, it is a ritual when the weather gets warm. I soak my feet and buff the skin and do my nails. I will continue with the nails until fall. I figure, being a fat broad, if I remain flexible enough to spend a hour conforming into positions to be able paint my toes, I am good.
    I have psoriasis arthritis and one of the conditions affiliated with it is discolored and bad nails. Hence, I take great time and effort to keep my nails on my hands in shape and painted all the time. We do not wear long nails at work….as I am sure many do not here.
    But when I was younger, I did my own acrylic nails. Spent hours on them. Can’t wear anything other than polish now and I always do. I do not really equate painted nails with the total image of beauty. For me, it is being professional and well kept. and not an old fart!

    Liked by 2 people

    • My skills with polish are limited. I can do all manner of artsy, crafty things EXCEPT paint my toenails well. Maybe if I had more practice? I am too busy with other crap to make it a high priority, though. Fortunately my daughter does not mind that I suck at it. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  17. This post makes me want to take better care of my feet, because feet are important, and I tend to neglect mine. On the other hand/foot, I can’t help but think about the scene from the movie ET where Gerty, the little sister grimaces and says, “I don’t like his feet.” Her brother, Elliott, says, “They’re only feet ya twerp.” ET’s alien feet were not pretty by our standards, but they were functional. I’m sending love to your feet, and mine. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I’ve never had my feet done and I’ve only had my nails done once, for my daughter’s wedding ❀ My hands are feet are…Fred Flintstone comes to mind, lol! I wouldn't say ugly, just very utilitarian. I paint my own and call it a day. For a little pampering, bring on the chocolate πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  19. That was me. One month ago. I was given a pedicure as a present. I am now basking in the glory of a pedicure, having thought my feet were pretty horrible. I have 2 daughters and have never painted their nails. Things have got to change, before it’s too late. One of them is 16.

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  20. I had a pedicure once. My wife and I won a contest that included a full spa treatment. It was a harrowing experience. Not the worst thing I’ve ever gone through, but I was glad when it ended and will never do it again. After the pedicure, a massage. That made everything better. Don’t get me started on the facial.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. So often, I wish I could wave a magic wand and help people, myself included, to love and accept themselves and actually feel worthy. So many of us are hiding something. So99mething too awful and disgi=usting about ourselves and yet I’m sure if you just let down our guard, others wouldn’t even notice our mortifying faults. I am very reluctant to have people into our home because after years of being crook, it has become quite rundown. This means we ostracised ourselves to an extent. I have been able to get some help as I can’t access many cupboard etc and run out of energy easily and the place is starting to come to life and we’re looking at opening the door very soon.
    By the way, thanks for sharing your feelings about your feet. xx Rowena

    Liked by 2 people

      • Yes! That said, they sound painful. Do they restrict the types of shoes you can wear? I’ve been in joggers since I broke my foot last December but have managed to wear a pair ofd boots a few times. Not such a huge issue with my lifestyle but it would be fun to wear some fancy shoes some time.


  22. I adore my daughter and never get enough of her. Eleven years ago she had cancer surgery. I spent a month with her afterwards, so she could stay off her feet to reduce swelling and enhance healing in her radiated leg. I enjoyed every minute of doting on her, cleaning, cooking, bringing her books, drinks, just whatever it took to keep her off her feet. One day a friend came in when I was doing her toenails. Her friend burst into tears, saying, “My mom would never paint my toenails.” In a minute, we were all crying. I am so glad I’ve had time to be with my children. By the way, she is an eleven-year-survivor, about to deliver a baby girl. I am so blessed.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. I read this first on a wobbly wifi connection on holiday, and instantly empathised. I’ve always found my feet terribly ugly. Nail varnish makes a huge difference, a nice bright colour to light up the toes. Then I ended up in a relationship with a guy who had a foot fetish (he kept shtum on that at first *laughs*). We weren’t together long, that isn’t my bag, but he made me see how long strange looking toes can be deemed attractive, and generally had lots of tips on how to keep my feet supple and soft. I like them a bit more now.

    “Be careful. You would NOT want to be walking around with ten erections!” – Hahahahaha.

    – sonmi upon the Cloud

    Liked by 1 person

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