The Introduction to my Memoir, Fingernail Droppings


There was a time when I wrote my story to please other people, worried what my family, friends, church would think. I thought I had to play it straight, couldn't tell my fantastic, escapism, dreams, everything that sustained me. Those days are gone. I write now for me. For freedom. For joy. For peace. For health. For escape. Some will not understand, that's OK, I'm not for everyone, you're welcome to move along or try, suit yourself. We only have one life to live. I wish I had embraced that long ago.

Ah, "Carpe Diem." Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society.  I'm no longer resigned to live a life of quiet desperation. I will live LOUD desperation. HA! 

So before I offer you the red pill let me first tell you why I named my memoir Fingernail Droppings.

When I was a little girl I bit my fingernails, around age eleven I stopped biting them because I wanted to have long, pretty nails.Then I started to obsessively paint them and care for them every day. I became ever conscious of my fingernails.

In Junior High school I started stealing nail polish from the drug store. We were poor but my nails were always painted. There could be no chips or mess ups on my nails, if I saw any I'd take the polish off and start over. I’ve never been a fan of how nail polish remover made my fingers feel so I got into the habit of taking my polish off by chipping it with my teeth, picking at it and pulling it off. I never cared where I was when I felt the need to do this either, if I needed to chip off my polish, I just did it. One day in my early twenties a friend was cleaning his house and said “I swear, I keep finding your fingernail droppings everywhere.”

Tending to my nails, obsessing over them was something I enjoyed, it was something I could control. My nails were my garden to tend. They still are. I still paint them almost daily and peel the polish off when they chip or if I’m just bored. I chip and peel and leave bits of paint everywhere.

That’s why I chose Fingernail Droppings as the title of my book. It’s all paint, this life. Everyday is a new color or not. I can chip off the old paint and apply new paint or not. As a child my story is pink and red gloss, the standard colors of the 70’s and early 80’s then my teen years become gloss L'Oreal Fushia and Drumbeat red, some metallic Corals from time to time but rarely, I was never a fan of the ocean tones. I always leaned toward the intense colors. When the blues and blacks came along I truly found my nail polish home.

Memories like polish
The fantastic paints
Escape glosses
Hard times
So many colors
Chipping away
Tearing the paint
Leaving fingernail droppings...

So if you’re ready to open the round green door and step out of the Hobbit hole and onto the road, ready to climb into the wardrobe, push through the clothes and out of the back into the snow covered forest into Narnia, then let's go.

In the words of Morpheus to Neo in the movie The Matrix, "This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes."

This is the Red Pill.