This was a woman’s place — a somewhat glitzy, somewhat faded, somewhat cluttered nail salon. The nail techs were women – all from Vietnam, all petite, most with dark hair and all with lovely Asian features. From the tiny older woman with the lined face, her grey hair pulled into a tight bun at the crown of her head who massaged a patron’s feet, to the tech bent over my manicure, young, with pouty lips, each hand with four nails painted bright red and one in glittered gold, they all looked tired.
There was a camaraderie among them – they chattered in Vietnamese, a private cypher in this English and Spanish speaking neighborhood. I listened and was curious about whether these women talked about the patrons, including me. I imagined their conversation: She looks good in that brown sweater. Can you believe she chose that nail color? This client is patient and tips well. That client is snooty. Maybe, instead, they talked about their families, their trials, and tribulations. I liked being in that space with them – their feminine voices, bodies, and ways of being are familiar and a comfort. I’m sure their chatter helps to make long days endurable. They often work 12-hour shifts.
The patron at the chair adjacent to mine was Black. She walked into the store toting a plastic bag from the Wal-Mart around the corner that held several cans of green beans and dried fried onions. I imagined these were the ingredients for a casserole she’ll put together later today. Her neck, long and elegant, showcased black hair drawn into a curly mass at the top of her head. She asked for a particular shade of white on her nails and wanted them shaped just so. She looked tired.
The older Black woman across the salon in a pedicure chair had fallen dead asleep. The big brown mechanical massage chair dwarfed her small frame clothed in patterned blue leggings and a matching shirt. Her son, a tall strapping dude, brought her into the salon and helped her climb up and sink her curled toes into the warm water basin at the bottom of the chair. “Call me when you’re done, Ma,” he said, and she waved him out the door. He looked ill at ease in this female kingdom.
Katy-corner to me, a White woman with thick white curly hair sat across from her tech. Her face was lined with a hundred stories. She looked tired, too. I was surprised that her nails were so long. I surmised she was in her late eighties. “Paint ‘em bright red, honey,” she said to her tech. “For Christmas. You just gotta celebrate it.” She chuckled. “And it’ll help me see ‘em!”
I picked out bright red polish with embedded sparkles for both my toes and fingers. Because it’s Christmas time. Because I feel grateful to be alive for another beautiful holiday season. Because there is an ageless being in me who loves beauty and all things woman.
I was tired, too. It felt good to be pampered, to sit; to having nothing to do but wait for polish to dry. It was a relief to lay down cooking, cleaning, working, caring and nurturing. The patrons at the salon didn’t talk much. We retreated to our private musings. We nailed the gift of rest. And wore the bling to prove it.
© Linda Sandel Pettit, Ed.D., 2022
Photo by Sophie Elvis on Unsplash.com
#lindasandelpettit #advent #adventreflections #hope #love #beauty #grief #forgiveness #spirituality #thejoyofgiving #Christmaswisdom #holidays of light
Linda Sandel Pettit, Ed.D. inspires intuitive-creative women healers to use their healing modalities, speaking voices, and written words to unfold and share the wisdom of the Sacred Feminine. Her podcast, The Intuitive Way of Love, debuts December 8th.
Linda offers sanctuaries, intimate small-group programs, to women healers who want to bring spirituality into their work, and to women writers who are ready to share, get feedback, revise, and publish.
Through her Apprentice’s Way individual all-in-one mentorship program, Linda encourages her clients’ spiritual evolution, psychological health, effective writing, messaging, marketing, and content creation.
Visit www.lindasandelpettit.com to learn more about her programs and array of masterclasses and courses.
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