Today has been a big day but it started fairly routine – I went to the gym, came home, had breakfast and my partner and I went to the hairdressers. On the way in the car I heard for probably the third time an ad for Polished Man. It’s the first time I recall the date of the campaign being mentioned though; 1-15 Oct (2015). The thought occurred to me that maybe this is something I could do.
I waited for my turn at the hairdressers and thought on it further. I will be in Cairns next week to co-ordinate a Retirement Preparation Seminar and in the next couple of weeks I will present to hundreds of people. What would these people think of me? I also represent the company that I work for. These seemed like reasons that I should not do it – paint one of my fingernails that is. To help raise awareness and funds for the 1 in 5 children who will suffer physical and sexual abuse prior to the age of 18.
I put it out of my mind and continued to read the ‘The Art of Work’ on my iPad as I waited and then had my haircut. Happy with my shorter hair in the knowledge that next week’s humidity would not result in ‘Curly Sue’ hair and that I would be presentable, I then went to the shop next door, as planned, to sort out my bushy eyebrows (sounding rather vain here I realise).
I’ve been getting my brows done there for years, the ladies there are always lovely and know to just give them a trim and tweak (think manly not drag queen). I walked through the front of the shop where the suburban ladies of leisure were getting their manicures and pedicures noting the familiar smell of nail polish.
I lay there in the back room on the table and as the lady waxed my brows it occurred to me that what I had been thinking was all wrong. That I will stand and talk in front of potentially hundreds of people in the coming weeks as part of my job was not a reason I shouldn’t paint one of my nails – it was the very reason I should. I felt the tears well up and then run from the corners of my closed eyes. I opened my eyes and made awkward eye contact. I laughed and pretended it was the pain of the waxing.
I write this now and realise I did cry a little then (and much more since) because of the pain. Some of my past pain released there at the waxer’s work station by deciding on a simple action I would take…
…I walked with the waxer to the front register and paid. As she gave me the change I asked how much it was for someone to paint one of my fingernails? She turned and spoke across the shop in her own language to one of the other workers busy painting a woman’s nails.
The worker (maybe the manager) laughed out loud and then asked me across the shop ‘why do you only want one nail painted?’. I replied something to the effect of ‘it’s part of a campaign to raise awareness for chid abuse’, everyone now able to hear.
She then said ‘it’s free, choose whatever colour you want’. So I did. I went to the wall and picked the one that stood out the most (fluro green) and the waxer ushered me to a table at the back of the shop and polished my one nail. I sat there quietly, conscious I was in full view of the rest of the shop. I sat still but I could’t stop the tears, so I just let them flow. She did a couple of coats and put the small fan on my fingernail. She then said “it’s ok now, just look after it”, so I smiled and said thank you and walked out.
I don’t think it’s too dramatic to say that I received a little ‘calling’. I don’t know exactly what I said in that shop but at that moment I spoke – I found a voice in a room full of strangers.
I didn’t think I had in me and I am so pleased I found a voice in that moment that wasn’t for me. But it has helped me.
Please donate just $10 (or more) to raise money for the one in five children who experience physical or sexual violence before the age of 18. If just 1000 people take this simple step that’s $10,000 raised. Click here.