Learning from my Mistakes

My parents used to go grocery shopping every Sunday after church. I’d usually stay in the backseat of the car while they shopped (it was the 90s, and I was 9 or 10 at the time.) Occasionally I’d go in and roam around the store while my parents shopped.

(Are kids still this independent? I’d be terrified of letting my boys roam around in a grocery store…maybe that’s because they’re still so tiny.)

One Sunday I ventured onto the health and beauty aisle. It was dimly lit (Food Lion always seemed a little darker than Kroger), and it smelled like Dove soap.

Isn’t it funny how our memories work? I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, but I remember that the aisle where I committed my crime smelled like the bar of Dove soap sitting in my bathtub.

I slowly walked down the aisle thinking about the two dollars that I had wadded up in my pocket. I looked at bon bon nail polishes and bonnebelle lip balms, and then, next to the glittery lip smackers lip gloss, I saw the press on fake nails. They were glorious, and so much cooler than a tiny bottle of nail polish. (Who am I kidding? Tiny nail polish was the best!)

I stared at the press on nails for a while. I leafed through the different color options and held my hand up next to the plastic hand that was displaying a set of blue press on nails.

I really wanted those nails, but I knew that my parents wouldn’t have let me wear them, and they cost $4. I only had $2!

So, in an act of complete mania, I ripped the ring finger nail off of the plastic hand and put it in my pocket.

My heart raced as I searched for my parents and waited with them in the checkout line. The nail pressed against my thigh as we drove home. The thought of it in my pocket seemed to give it powers. I could have sworn that it was burning my leg.

As soon as we got home I removed the nail from my pocket and put it some safe place until I could figure out how to dispose of it without anyone finding out what I’d done.

I was petrified that someone would find out how immorally I’d acted. I was so afraid of the consequences! I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed in me.

I kept the nail a secret for an entire week. The next Sunday morning I slid the nail into my shoe on the way to church. I held it there the whole morning, and didn’t think about anything but that plastic fingernail for two whole hours.

After church we went to lunch, and then to the grocery store. I opted to go inside for the second week in a row (and I was terrified that my parents were getting suspicious).

I slid onto the health and beauty aisle again. The plastic hand was still there. It looked so sad without the nail that I’d stollen.

I dug the blue nail out of my shoe and pressed it against the hand. I know I held it there for five minutes trying to get it to magically adhere. It didn’t stick, so I hid the nail on the shelf and walked away.

I was ashamed for weeks. Honestly, I felt super guilty about it for years!

You know how when you’re getting to know someone you sometimes have the “have you ever broken the law?” Conversation. All I could ever think of when asked this question was that stupid fingernail, and how I’d stollen it. I was a theif! I never dared to tell anyone of my indiscression, and well into my adult years I told people about my first speeding ticket instead.

Then one night my husband and I were talking and the question came up. I thought about his legal bond to me before I came out with it.

I told him all about the nail, and how I’d taken it, kept it, and returned it. I told him that I’d never told anyone else. My heart raced, and I felt like I was 9 years old again.

When I finished telling the story I could feel him laughing at me…it wasn’t on the outside, but his eyes couldn’t hide the fact that he was in hysterics.

Now it’s pretty funny to think about the torture that I put myself through. The cover up (for years) was way worse than the act. Stealing the nail was a mistake, but the bigger mistake had been refusing to acknowledge my mistake, learn from it, and move on.

The only thing that the nail had really taught me was that I hate feeling guilty! I ‘got away with’ my mistake by hiding it, but I hadn’t learned anything of substance.

I’ve made a million and a half mistakes since then. I make mistakes everyday (even guilt inducing ones), but I’ve learned that hiding them and dealing with them on my own isn’t good. I learn so much more when I’m honest (and when I ask for help if I need it).

Lying and pretending to be perfect is exhausting. So, hi! My name is LJ, and I’m a big mess. I’m figuring out most things as I go, and it’s fun! I’ll make millions more mistakes, and I hope that I’ll choose to learn from them instead of hiding them.

Pobodys nerfect! Give yourself grace. Be open with your mistakes, someone else may learn from them too!

Pictured below: press on nails that I bought at Target yesterday. The whole family had a go! Hehe.

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