For approximately 94.1% of my life, I’ve been a nail biter.
But not just any nail biter, no siree.
Ever since my Everythingtarian self was a wee bookworm with a head of unruly locks stuck in the pages of yet another Babysitter’s Club paperback, I’ve been a majorly compulsive, down-to-the-cuticle, chew ‘er up and spit ‘er out fingernail biter.
Or don’t spit ‘er out.
The truth? Also yes.
The reasons why I bite still stump me to this day. I could blame Daddy Everythingtarian for setting that example growing up, but I know the truth goes much deeper than that. We all having coping mechanisms for when we feel down or angry or when we’re utterly and completely stressed or even when we’re in high school and realize our younger sister is cooler than us when she starts dating a guy in your grade while we remain boyfriend-less for four long years…hypothetically speaking.
It can come in the form of a food addiction, teeth grinding, pimple popping, skin scratching, alcohol drinking, emotionally shutting down or a plethora of other bad habits.
My coping mechanism is and has always been nail biting.
Ask Mama E, she’ll agree. So will Daddy E. You can even ask this random guy I took a picture with while sitting on the light rail on my way to a Minnesota Twins game…
I know he’ll agree too.
Honestly, I don’t have many pictures of the damage I’ve done to my chubby sausage fingers, because I’ve gotten really good at hiding my hands throughout the years.
When I taught English in Thailand, I was able to break this nasty habit with the help of my 74-year-old teacher friend Roberta. With her gentle Canadian way of kindly reminding me not to bite, I soon discovered the joy that is a manicure. In fact, I became a regular at my local nail salon.
One hundred baht ($3 = USD) for a manicure?
Sold to the girl with the weak fingernails and messed up cuticle beds!
After landing back on American soil in April 2009, I kept up my non-nail biting and manicure habit for a year and a half; albeit, it was now a much more expensive habit.
However, when I got a new job and moved back to Madison in August 2009, I once again felt the old devil taunting me to bite down my nails to deal with the stress. Between moving, apartment hunting, adjusting to my college town sans college friends, a new full-time job and all the craziness that is just life, I retreated to my old self and began biting.
Since then, I’ve never looked back.
I’ve wanted to look back, because quite frankly, biting your fingernails is NOT healthy. I was reminded of this just today when my health insurance provider sent me a letter on ways to avoid the seasonal flu. The first bulletpoint on this list: wash your hands and keep them clean.
Reading the rest of the list, I was shocked to find that “bite your nails as much as possible to allow for all types of bacteria to seep into your blood supply and lodge in your nail bed” didn’t make the cut.
Where is this all going, you ask?
I’m going to try with all my Everythingtarian might to stop biting my nails…again.
Instead of using nail biting as a coping mechanism to deal with stress, I am going to use it as a way to embarrass myself on the Internet by showing the world what I never thought I would ever reveal…
My actual nail-bitten hands.
And you will see these nail-bitten hands every Monday until they are long, luscious and coated in a thick layer of Jungle Red nail polish.
Do you have a bad habit you’d like to break? If so, I’ll keep you accountable if you do the same for me!