Friday, June 26, 2009

Tough As Nails

I've always been a nervous individual. More so in the past then the present. I like to believe, or at least I tell myself, that I have it relatively under control. When I was in elementary school I remember I developed some bad habits.

Some annoyingly bad habits. I would bite my nails. I have weak nails. It runs in my family. They are very thin and fragile. So if they get too long and they snag on something they usually rip. Not break, RIP. Never all the way, just deep enough to get to the delicate flesh under the nail but not deep enough to get to the other side of the nail therefore making it easy to rip off.

It would force me to slowly yank off the nail and for the next couple of weeks suffer with a painful, not yet bleeding, wound on the tip of my finger.

It hurt.

So I developed this habit of constantly "maintaining" my nails. The white part is very thin. Just long enough to not leave too much space between my finger and the nail so it can't snag on anything. My fingertips are round. I don't have those pointy fingers some people do where the nails look like tips on blades.

Someone, most likely a girl, made me feel stupid and gross for biting my nails. I would never do it in public mind you. It was always at home and I wouldn't "eat" them. They would go in the trash. I wouldn't gnaw on them either. She made note of how short and un-manicured they were. I would, whilst doing homework or reading, start the break with my teeth and slowly rip the nail off. It may seem gross to you but this was as natural to me as running fingers through long hair is to you girls blessed with long hair.

Where was I? Oh yes, a girl was once again making me feel stupid for being me. She made me aware that it was a gross habit and I tried to remind myself to stop. My mother noticed as well. In order to stop the habit she forced me to put nail gloss on so when I would instinctively put a finger to my mouth I would gack at the taste. Yes, I just made up a word. Gack. Feel free to use it. (Half gag and "ack" vocal response.) Gack.

The nail polish didn't work for its intended purpose. Instead I was humiliated at school and learned what it meant to be "gay." That fluorescent green with the black "Wake me up before you Go-Go" lettered sweater didn't help either.

I tried stopping cold turkey. That didn't work so I created an alternative. I will stop with one nail and work my way up. The most painful one was my pinky nail so I stopped. I NEVER bit my right hand pinky nail. It worked. Then I told myself I could do the left hand pinky nail. That worked too.

I was in the 5th grade. That's as far as I got.

Since then I have had long pinky nails. The only ones that I cut with nail clippers. I've been made fun of and some females still express disgust over typically pompous assumptions about what my long nails are for. It no longer has any effect on my ego though since the older we get as humans the more transparent peoples insecurities become.

Recent events though have led me to change this long standing counter-habit. I have to cut my pink nails short. My family was blessed with little babies everywhere so I must cut them so as not to accidentally scratch them. Like I mentioned before, my nails are frail but razor thin. If they hit at the right angle, baby flesh will cut deep. I can not risk that so I cut them.

How do smokers not stop? "Maybe they won't know it was me that gave their child lung cancer."


Iris said...

Funny. I was just looking at someone with long pinky nails and was wondering why they had it that way. Nail polish to stop biting your nails? Smart. Sorry it was so humiliating. I used to bite my nails too. I stopped when my peers, around tween age, started having pretty manicured nails. I wanted them too. ^__^ You're very nice for doing what you did for the babies in your life.

ryan said...

i think everyone must have a habit of some kind or another they'd like to get rid of... but find it has become something familiar... a ritual that brings comfort perhaps.

my brother used to bite his toe nails. mostly, i was amazed the guy had that kind of flexibility. i think my mother simply forced him to wear socks at all times and he eventually changed his ways.

BridgetSmash. said...

I kind of had the same habit, biting nails.
I wish I could stop that'd be sweet.
Glad you are keeping them healthy though!