VALUES are one of my big ongoing personal/spiritual/work projects. The (free, awesome) relationship skills class I took in 2016 taught me how much work I need to do on my own value system to be a better, happier person in relationship to other people and myself (and to work).

I wish I could say I’ve completed working on my value system in the two years since then, but I’m still wrestling around with it. Here’s what I want to do:

IDENTIFY & CLARIFY MY VALUES

What do I value?

ASSESS

how my values do and don’t fit in with other people’s

ARTICULATE

Be able to confidently & coherently articulate my values with pride

PRIORITIZE MY VALUES

What do I value MOST? Which values will I choose to navigate by?

LIVE IN LINE WITH MY VALUES

Commit to practicing and living in line with my values, securely relying on what I feel and have thoughtfully determined is good, beautiful, healthy & human.

This year I picked three straightforward, basic, tangible ways I can practice living in line with my values. One is to take care of, enjoy and present my fingernails and toenails in ways that are in line with my aesthetics, and reinforce my personal values around cleanliness, gender, time and money. I’ll also blog about the other two soon.

My goal is to do all of the above with my nails this year. How do I think hands and feet and nails should be cleaned and presented, and how important is it?

Here’s how I plan to live more in line with my values in 2018 by focusing on my nails:

  • check in with myself on a weekly basis
  • share pictures of how well I’m practicing hand, foot and nail hygiene
  • reflect on experiences, values and issues related to hands, feet, nails, and being clean and presentable
  • welcome and encourage other people to reflect on and talk about individual and cultural values around cleanliness, presentation, investments in body maintenance and presentation, etc.
  • celebrate and feel good about my body and healthy values

Cleanliness and personal hygiene are super deeply emotionally value-loaded bundles of standards and procedures for living and doing and loving and judging ourselves and each other. What is clean and dirty are some of the very first and most important things we’re taught. Pretty much immediately after being told over and over and over again to identify ourselves and each other as either boys or girls; I’ve experienced values about gender and cleanliness as being deeply (and dysfunctionally) intertwined.

I feel shame and embarrassment over that picture of my toenails. Even though I spent time and resources to maintain them (tea tree oil, letting them breathe/no nail color in months, pushing back cuticles with orange stick, exfoliating soles and calloused places, rubbing minty lotion on them at night, keeping clean underneath the free edge) in the weeks preceding this, they do not meet my standards (and I’m painfully aware they don’t meet other people’s standards). THOSE NAILS ARE TOO LONG!! They need to be trimmed and filed! They’re not pink-white enough / they’re too old and yellow-y looking! The cuticles are still messy! And that’s not even getting into judging the aesthetic value of my feet and skin. And my pilled-up leggings.

Compared to my toenail picture, I feel only a little embarrassment over my fingernails on the same day, which is funny because they are MORE out of whack with my personal values (I like short, shiny, well-groomed, super clean fingernails) than my feet are. Maybe because aesthetically I think my hands are more beautiful? More likely because I’m overly aware of how many people think feet are dirty and gross and that you’re a slouch if you don’t trim your toenails to the quick on the regular.


Maybe talking about values and cleanliness and gender aren’t the porn you came to my site trying to find, but they have SO MUCH to do with whether or not we feel good about our bodies and whether or not we feel good experiencing sexual pleasure. My relationships and continued work as a webwhore depends on me peeling back all of the layers and lessons I’ve gotten about gender, cleanliness and personal presentation to be realistic about what work I invest myself in, and to find healthy ways to let go of gigantic resentments I have about the absurdly different ways men and women are taught to clean and present themselves.

Are you interested in any of these topics: values, beauty standards, cleanliness, pictures of hands and feet, gender, and personal grooming? Or do you think it’s just totally weird for me to go into this remedial examination of fingernail clippings like they’re spiritual tea leaves for 2018?


 

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