Unpainted Toenails, and Other Liberations

May 1, 2018


The work that I do with women as a coach (and often as a doula, too) is about supporting them to untangle themselves from the expectations, roles, responsibilities, personas, preferences, and models of success that they have either consciously or unconsciously adopted

to stay safe, loved, accepted, and thriving in a world

that really likes to tell women How To Be.


I support women to

get quiet enough to hear themselves again

and actually heal the internal and external narratives that are keeping them from living in greater alignment and with more authenticity 

(rather than beating them into submission with Accountability Measures, To Do Lists, behaviour modification or Fancy Wordplay).

Sometimes this work is really big.  Sometimes it catalyzes career changes, marriages, divorces, babymaking, or radical body acceptance.

But sometimes…

sometimes the unravelling we have to do is small.


(or at least, we can start there)


Finding alignment is a daily practice

of learning, accepting and vocalizing what’s true for you.


I have found this to be the case in my own life:

I felt a strangely poignant liberation when I realized that I didn’t actually enjoy the pedicures I was getting as “self-care.”  Choosing to replace the thirty seconds of blissful foot massage bookended by scraping, tickling and digging with something I enjoyed more left me lightheaded with a sense of possibility.

Maybe the underwire bras that dug painfully into my armpits would be next.

And the cocktails and glasses of wine that made me break out into hives.

Though I would sometimes have to explain my choices, or not “fit in” to certain social situations or identifications, being a pedicure-renouncing, sports bra-wearing teetotaller has served me well.

It’s not entirely a petulant “I’ll do it my way” kind of thing, rather, it feels like I’ve got my own back, in a sense.

Even in these tiny choices, I can choose, every day, to be a little bit more me.


I wonder what you would choose to do differently, what you would opt out of or into, if you gave yourself full permission?