The Broken Nail….
It was days of dreaming, planning and packing. After a long time I was finally going to have some exclusive time with my hubby. In fact we had had this trip planned even before setting our marriage date! It was a reunion with his college mates and I was going to be joining the group for the very first time. The pressure of first impressions has never spared anyone. Although very reassured and confident that I normally am in my skin, I was more worried that I portrayed the right image of a just enough modern, yet traditionally supportive partner. That included choosing outfits carefully, to suit the locale, weather and mood, the superfluous accessories well as other essentials. And that definitely included carefully manicured and painted nails!
We women carry some peculiar idea of perfection when it comes to our dressing. Be it the hairstyle, footwear, the stole or handbags we carry or the accessories we flaunt. It actually boosts our confidence for some cosmic reason, and adds to that spring in our step, whether others notice it or not. We carry that feel-good factor with us and it helps us cruise through the event. But what catastrophe can befall a woman when this feel-good factor suddenly fails!
Travelling through airports and lifting, carrying and dragging my suitcase brought down on me such an unpredictable disaster, when one of my daintily painted nails broke! Ah! The weird and absurd look of disproportion, irregularity and asymmetry that had landed in my hand literally! There can be no greater discomfiture that to live with this embarrassing predicament in public, when all you want is perfection. It felt that the entire world was gazing down just that absurd looking broken nail.
But as I enjoyed and reveled every moment of the reunion, the company and exclusive memorable time with my hubby, I completely forgot about that insignificant broken nail. Its existence or absence did not count as a marker to my interactions with new acquaintances or the new bond that I forged with that vibrant and energetic crowd of new friends. My husband noticed my frown and laughed out loud. Being a Lead, offering project management solutions constantly, and handling contingency planning, the easiest practical solution he recommended in a jiffy was, ‘chop ‘em all off to the same length!’ Indeed, it WAS as simple as that, and how much wool I had over my eyes about it!
What we do not realise is the so called ‘perfection’ is actually about the ‘imperfections’ we have. THAT makes us real, human. It is in fact the flaws that give us our own unique identity. Like they say, efficiency can never be 1; I have now come to believe there can never be a fixed standard for ‘perfect’. Everyone is unique in their own way and hence everyone is perfect. Why compare, when we know each one of us has our own exclusivity? That we are all inimitable? One broken nail cannot hold back us back, nor can it limit our perfection. The genuine difficult challenge is accepting yourself first, with your flaws, and then still believing that you are the best version of yourself, anytime, anyplace.
I had accepted just that at the end of this extraordinary time I had, hugging my hubby in the airport corridor. Broken nails would grow back again with time, of course they would. Life is too short to fret and ruin a remarkable moment for a petty, inconsequential pretext. My gate had just been announced. I looked at the chipping nail paint and the irregular broken nail. I had decided already, THIS was MY kind of perfect. It belonged to a REAL me. It kind of reflected my factual existence. Idealistic stuff comes and happens in dreams. Blemishes and shortcomings happen in real life. I smiled at myself, and waited for another one to chip as I dragged my cabin strolley towards the aircraft, carrying that priceless feeling of perfect contentment inside me.