Picture of Pablo with his painted nails.
The last few years, I've been learning to express myself more. This seems to be a common theme on my blog. Examples of being expressive are, learning to state my opinion more, being more open to friends and family on how I feel, learning to write better to get my emotions out, etc. It's a healthy way of becoming more comfortable with myself.
It seems silly but let's talk about nail polish. I started wearing nail polish a few years ago. It has always been something that's been on my mind since I was a kid. I remember being exposed to dudes wearing nail polish in the early 2000's on television and on the internet. Whether it was MTV, MySpace, YouTube, I was always fascinated. Listening to Punk was such an influence on me. I also remember walking into Hot Topic and seeing all the different styles of clothing people used to express themselves.
It wasn't until my first year of teaching where I started to use nail polish. Middle school is not an easy place for adolescents. They are trying to find who they are as a person while not stepping away from the "social boundaries" set in place. I remember it was a my first class of the day and the bell hadn't rang yet. I was checking my emails while my students were shuffling into the classroom and I was overhearing a conversation. I noticed that a male student was getting grief from some of the other male students. I stopped what I was doing and slowly made my way to the students and started talking with them. I explained to them that there is nothing wrong with guys wearing nail polish. Many musicians, artists, athletes, scholars, etc., wear nail polish as a form of expression. Many of my students like rap or hip-hop. I had given them examples of artist they know. I told them it's okay to test new ways of expressing yourself and try to be supportive.
I decided to support this student by doing the same and show up to school the next day with nail polish. I had some homework that night.
That interaction had me thinking all sorts of questions during that day:
- Should I paint my nails?
- What colors should I get?
- Where do you even get nail polish?
- What am I getting myself into?
After school I started looking at YouTube videos on "how to wear nail polish" or "men wearing nail polish. After some YouTube education, I went to the store and bought a dark blue color polish and the other needed supplies.
It was an empowering moment for me to start out with the first fingernail. This was completely out of my comfort zone. The thing is it's not something out of this world or weird. It was just different for me. I had so many thoughts racing my mind. It felt so good to do something different. You have to embrace new experiences.
I did it not only for myself but to support my student and to let them know that it's super cool to express yourself however. As a teacher, you're not their just to teach them the subject material. I am also playing role as a mentor to support my student.
Where does today's manicure come into play? It's a way to bond with myself and others. It's not something I do often as I'm more spontaneous (or bored at home) and I just do it at home. Why not? Every time I get my nails done I think of my students and how I want them to become who they want to be. I've learned from my students. They teach you many life lessons whether or not they know it.