Curiosities

When Nail Stamping, Chaos, and Perspective collide

My regular readers know that I love, love, love emojis. There’s something happy and funny about them. But I happened to miss National Emoji Day this year–I’m not really sure I knew it was even a thing but isn’t everything a “thing” these days? Missing it just didn’t sit well with me because I’ve been moderately “checked out,” but come to find out that feeling ran deeper than not sitting well with me.

I come across these odd “Days” or celebrations, such as National Talk Like a Pirate Day–Chief found that when the boys were in middle school and we were having a pirate conversation. Others I find by association: National Donut Day and National Coffee Day–we have Dunkin’ Donuts here who shout those out days and I eat donuts and drink copious amounts of coffee. I really like them. However, it seems I’ve been a little wrapped up and checked out these days. To ensure this egregious error of emoji neglect does not happen again, I put it on my Google calendar.

It’s July 17th–mark ’em (I bet I’ll do something fun next year…thanks to the new system 😉) If I don’t, certainly call me out on that one. Sheesh! 

✋🏼I know, I finally had to add digital calendars to my life. I fought it tooth and nail, but Zoom has changed my life in so many ways which included adding the digital calendar and reminders. I still use analogue, (pen and paper girl all the way) but I needed it as a backup to go with the dozens of alarms I have set for various events and things to do. And yes, it’s a source of mockery in our house for anyone watching me operate.

So now I have this day of pictograms set for a yearly repeat. Won’t lie, felt kind of snazzy setting it.  As Chia used to say when he was little, “That’s so fancy.” He called me fancy a time or two when he was kid. Although I could never get him to explain why to me or what he meant by “fancy” 🤔 He had previously called a maroon pair of knit boxers that were different from his other underwear “fancy,” so there’s that–officially been bundled with underwear 🙄 I’m filing that under “unsolved,” which I don’t handle well. Hence this entire post: chaos. 

So what do emojis and a crisis of the Self have in common this week? Well, nail stamps and perspective. 
Do you like how ugly nail is peeking around the “corner” at you? 
The mug was a gift, “mysteriously” arriving.
The nail art came up in a conversation about how my nails were peeling, breaking, and ridged. I had no idea nail stamping was a thing–my nails make me look like I’m feral and digging in the ground for sustenance. For fun, this friend sent me all the materials and walked me through the “how to’s” of nail stamping. You can see my first go, above. Terrible. I stared at it all week.

Okay, that was a little dramatic–I painted my nails on Monday and took the pic on Thursday 😁 

What do you see when you look at it (besides a shoddy nail with a terrible manicure)?

1) At first glance and 2) after looking for a moment.

A face with glasses and a mustache. It entertained me, but with quick glances a little later it became a frowning face. 🤔

For whatever reason, that sat with me–All week. I kept looking at that face, upset that I was seeing the frowning face so much. Was it my eyesight or my perspective? Freudians and Jungians, go ahead–go to town on me. It became a morbid staring contest: my obsessive peering at this nail that I was horribly embarrassed of because of my shoddy attempt at nail stamping fought for head with space with me chastising myself because it was my first attempt–on a nail that looks like it was rooting for something in the earth, no less.

I also vacillated between seeing Mr. Mustache and The Frowner. This thought process mirrored the dance I’ve been doing in my mind for months, and it’s not the cool Chinese shuffle dance I wrote about earlier in the pandemic. It was pretty much a battle between what is and what I’m feeling or seeing. In other words, I was letting my mind mess with me. It was utter chaos and completely unpleasant for all involved.

I won’t take you down the rabbit hole of all the things one silly, shoddy nail had me thinking, however my mind was extra chaotic and overactive the entire week. But I looked at that nail and kept seeing different things in it–cray-cray, right? I will tell you that the culmination of all this thinking and churning brought me full circle with giant topics such as Who am I? as well as What am I doing? 

Things don’t neatly correspond in my world yet here I am trying to make sense of it all. Some things are just a mystery and you have to have faith. You also need the added layer of trust to solidify your faith. Trust can be hard.

After multiple freak outs with various friends, one of them reminded me of my tagline, All is not as it seems (I’ve written about it on the the landing page for my website). I can’t rightly or neatly categorize the amalgam that is me or the topics I write about. My mind wanders and is curious. I’m also a collector of things, of thoughts, of perspectives. I’ve addressed this issue before…

I also struggle with labels. Occasionally, I struggle reconciling the varied nature of what I write. When things become awkward or uncomfortable, you might’ve heard someone say: I just don’t want to label it (go ahead and use “that” voice, I did). There may be some truth to that–up to a point.

Labeling can be helpful, insightful, as well as harmful. It’s rife with potential issues and problems as well as clarity and connection. It all depends on the intent and the reception, as well as how you use these labels. Thinking about it all became chaos in my mind.

I live in Technicolor with splashes of squirreliness. To understand our world there has to be some labeling and categorizing, albeit in a kind way and without malicious intent, to keep some of the chaos (perceived and otherwise) at bay. To find your people. To make some progress. A little chaos shakes things up a bit, creating new things.

Why did my thinking take this crazy turn?

For starters, I stared at my nail far too long because I wasn’t able to work. I’d been spinning my wheels, worried about the wrong things–unrelated to my nail, come on! I’m not that shallow, although this does feel navel-gazey. I’ve been in my mind and not moving around enough. Add to that, in the middle of my nail musings about me and categories, I let someone else’s words in passing rock my worldview versus expanding it. The irony is, they weren’t even bad words (we were talking about categories and the second book). Again, just words in passing or a moment of casual observation–nothing malicious or nefarious.

I needed something to fling me out of this over-thinking rut and a silly image that shape-shifted in my mind’s eye finally did just that.
While I spent more time mentally battling The Frowner, I did look at the other nail that I began to call the Greek chorus. I only managed to do two nails, people. Yes, I’m sure the chorus is laughing at the tragedy I enacted all week. They’re probably even laughing at the length and lack of funny in this post. No, they didn’t sing my life lessons at me or sing about my actions, but wouldn’t that have been epic if they did? Or not. 😒The point is, if I didn’t miss National Emoji day; then stamp my nails with emojis; and try to write a newsletter that went totally awry (you’re seeing bits of it here 🤦🏻‍♀️); some things I was fooling with this week might still be plaguing me and I wouldn’t have learned new techniques. I also would’ve been like poor Flanders.

I might not have figured out a new way to use my digital calendar. Albeit, that’s toward the bottom of the lessons learned list. The “stuckness” might’ve taken longer to unstick because I wouldn’t have started with nail stamping and circled back to some issues that were weighing heavily on me.

Did I really miss National Emoji Day? No, I still “celebrated,” and thought about how to talk about my snafu. Emoji nail stamping occurred the day after National Emoji Day so it wasn’t “missed,” it was “belated.” I know, I know–toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe.

At the risk of sounding like I fell off the turnip truck, I learned a new trick with nail stamping. Who knew there was such a thing?

The perspective thing? I kept looking at Mr. Mustache and seeing a frown.

But then, I remembered something I’d learned the week prior:

pareidolia: the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.

Yup. (Make that “p” pop when you say it.) Not quite the same, but I assigned a whole lot of meaning to a nail stamp. There was also that bit of synchronicity at work, which I love. I was all worked up over something I was somehow comfortable with earlier but allowed myself to forget: All is not as it seems. 

The frowning face was only a frowning face because that’s the mood I was in. I was thinking too much; not resolving anything; and making myself nutty. Of course I’d see a frowning face! That was my state of mind. Who wouldn’t? As soon as that thought crossed my mind, things shifted and I felt a sense of relief. Mr. Mustache returned to Mama which was an added bonus.

Staring at this thumbnail and shifting my perspective knocked me out of the revolving door of thinking–right out on to the street where I could see the sky. It’s also a place where I like to focus my gaze–a heck of a lot better than my navel.
Give me a shoutout! 🤠

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