Breaking Point: #13

After reading this hopeful post, the words of the poet Wallace Stevens came to me:

Only this evening I saw it again,

At the beginning of winter, and I walked and talked

Again, and lived and was again, and breathed again

And moved again and flashed again, time flashed again.

May we all flash again with the coming of Spring.  yrs. Laura


Submitted by:  Robin Dake, whose ebook is available here.

Painting My Nails

I painted my toenails last week. At one time, I kept red polish on my toes – bright red, happy red. I had tried other colors, but kept coming back to red. At one time, I sparkled. But somehow, in this last year, as my 18-year marriage crumbled, cleaved, then ended, I lost my sparkle and I stopped painting my toes.

At first, it was just putting off the repair. I noticed a few chips on the edges and thought, ‘I need to fix that,’ but never got to it. The chips got bigger and my toes now needed a full-out re-do. They needed to be stripped down to bareness, filed smooth, then lovingly repainted. By summer, the nails themselves were raggedy, but I didn’t have the energy to lift an emery board, much less gather the polish remover, lotion and cotton balls.

In yoga class – the class I joined to learn to breathe in the year there was no breath – my chipped and sad toes mocked me. They shouted that I must be a failure because I couldn’t even keep my toes neat and presentable. I couldn’t hear it then, but
there was another voice speaking softly, saying, ‘it’s okay, love your raggedy toes now and know you will be okay.’

As the months went by that voice did get louder and I was able to accept that I was a girl whose toes were no longer painted red. I could do downward dog without trying to avert my eyes from my toes and I found myself looking at polish colors in the drugstore aisle. In October, I unearthed the toenail clipper and neatened things up. I stripped away the last of the red and left it at that. I wore patent leather shoes to court that day, but underneath the shine, my toes remained unfiled and naked.

The cold that came in during the last part of November made me keep socks on my feet almost all the time. They were thick, fleece socks – blue with polka dots – that muffled the cold snaking around my toes. I only caught a glimpse of them as I showered and dressed before I sought out that fleecy warmth and protection again.

A friend gave me perfumed lotion for Christmas, and after a moment of listening to the inner voice that loves me, I slathered it on my feet and ankles, enjoying the luxury and softness. And finally, I dug out the polish. I gently filed and smoothed those nails, then put that polish on stroke by stroke.  My toes wiggled with contentment.

The polish is not fire engine red, but instead a soft, pearled pink.  It doesn’t sparkle, but it does glow. Today, I breathe again.

I may not make it back to fire engine red, but I suspect one day, I may just try purple.


Filed under Breaking Point, My Posts

7 Responses to Breaking Point: #13

  1. Jan Larson Myhre

    As a fellow traveler whose heart has been broken a time or two, I’m touched to read the rawness of pain and the glory in painted toenails. If these folks write on a regular basis, there is no better catharsis than that. Keep writing. It’s healing.

  2. Michel

    Robin ~ your story is bittersweet and tender. It reminds me that the healing for ourselves occurs subtly, in our own unique timeline. With nourishing acts such as yoga, pampering our feet with rich lotion, painting our toes and giving our stories a voice. Thank you for sharing your story which for me, includes a reminder that these gifts of nourishment come to us, by us, when we are ready. I look forward to checking out your e-book.

    • Robin Dake

      Thanks for reading and connecting Michel. I see all of those self-care things as items on a shelf that we take down when we need just that item to help ourselves feel better. I feel lucky to have a lot of different things on my shelf to chose from. Again, thanks for your kind words.

  3. Alison

    I loved this. I absolutely loved how we understood so much of what you were going through by the constant description of such a simple thing: the state of your toes. It reminded of specifically awful times in my life when I let something go about my appearance that usually made me feel nice, because I was going through so much, feeling too awful to bother, or simply not able to do it. And how happy I felt for you in the transformation to pink. Brilliant writing.

  4. Sarah

    Thank you Robin, for this. A couple of days after my husband told me our marriage was over, my sister visited bringing me bottles of hand cream, wonderful bath gel, lavender room spray, some sweets for me to suck when I was suffering from a low moment and a ‘being brave scarf’. I thought she was being extravagant at the time but I still wear my being brave scarf and it brings me comfort. The sweets helped when I was at work and I caught a glimpse of him (we work in the same place), the hand cream soothes my dry hands and smells good, the room spray helps me sleep… I love that you are wearing purple nail polish now, that is so good!

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