Hello, my name is Camille, and I am a toe-nail-polish-aholic.
Ok, yeah, that doesn’t sound quite right. But, who knew? I have challenged myself, after poring over the Zero Waste Home blog and admonishing myself for believing all my life that trash can be thrown away (where is away?), to give up a favorite habit of mine; painting my toes. You would not believe how hard it has been!
I have not painted my toenails since last April. Can you, ladies, grasp what that has been like? The evidence of every stubbed toe, chipped nail, barefoot excursion and crusty cuticle has been displayed bare-naked for the whole world to see, all summer long. In other words, my toes are ugly!
At first I thought it would be easy; a simple challenge to put my commitment to reducing waste and living frugally to the test. After all, if I can give up something as trivial as toenail polish, what other things can I learn to live without? I thought to myself, after giving up ice cream and paper towels, this would barely make a dent in the armor of my cast-iron ego. Boy, was I ever wrong.
I have had to talk myself out of painting my toenails about once a week since April. It is no big deal, I tell myself, just paint the darn things! But then a little voice inside my head whispers, oh so quietly, ‘believe in yourself, believe in your toes, you are beautiful the way God made you.’
Why? I hear you asking - what is the big deal? And why do I feel compelled to share this experience?
Well, in short, this experience is symbolic of a bigger change in my life; a shift from complicated to simple, frivolous to frugal, material to ethereal. If I can give up toenail polish, what other products can I give up? Lipstick, hair dye, shampoo...
What can I get rid of, give away, repurpose, upcycle, or just plain refuse to use?
Every single day of our lives, we are bombarded with advertisements for products we can’t live without. But we all know, all we really need is, well … food, air and water! My eighth-grade science teacher, Mr. Burns, once pointed out to us that we could live without food for several weeks, without water for only one week, but without air, we would die in a matter of minutes. ‘What does this say about the human condition?’, he asked us, challenging us to think about things in a way we weren’t accustomed to, and rarely did. At the time, his question was mind-boggling, but I think I am finally, after 16 years, catching on to his meaning. We are desperate for air, which we can’t even see, and without this invisible matter, we will die.
So, it is the invisible (and the free!) that matters most.