More than you ever cared to read about my fingernails.
I decided that as a 40-year-old mother of six, it was time to grow up and stop biting my nails.
I’m not actually either 40 nor a mother of six, but I will be both in about four months.
I don’t think my lifelong nail-biting habit is a nervous one; It’s just more of a compulsion… Especially when I read. But even if it’s a nervous habit, I figure it’s better than Xanax.
I have a friend who is older than me… Not quite old enough to be my mother, but definitely older than me. And she bites her nails. That always made me feel a tad better. It shouldn’t have, but it did. Until I glanced at her hands recently and saw that they had been nicely manicured and she said it had been some months since she’d bitten them. She still hasn’t resumed.
I have a number of problems with NOT biting my nails, in addition to the whole habit/compulsion part of it:
- I play guitar, so they can’t be long anyway.
- If I want to stop biting my nails, it really helps if they’re painted; that’s quite a deterrent. However, as a chemical-avoidant person — any kind of chemical, for any reason — it chaps my hide that nail polish is one massive bucket o’ chemicals. BAD ones. Ones that, under pretty much all other circumstances, I wouldn’t expose myself to. I felt like a hypocrite, buying nail polish at Target earlier this week. I had to, though, because all my other nail polishes were 5+ years old and gooey; they wouldn’t dry.
- If I want to stop biting my nails, it’s best if I just IGNORE them. But, when one has nails, there is a whole, new, mandatory hygiene regimen associated with them, and they can’t be ignored.
It seems almost like I’m doomed to fail before I even begin.
But, vanity and a bit of shame compels me — the shame part as described above: “I’m too ‘mature’ to bite my nails. What is wrong with me??”
And the vanity comes in when, on a near-daily basis, on the Birth Without Fear blog, I view the multiple awesome pics of mamas triumphing through labor, with joyful relief as they’re now holding the tiny one they’ve waited so long to behold… and can you imagine if you see the mama’s hand, cradling the perfect newborn, and there are gnawed off stumps where the fingernails are supposed to be?? Yuck. I’m not saying that a birth story and accompanying photos of mine will ever appear on the blog. And I’ve never had a birth photographer present for any of my births. I’ve never even had a friend or family member take pics of the process!! But, if I did… Would I want to see the remains of what should be my nails, but have been chewed into oblivion?? No. No, I wouldn’t.
And so, it has been two weeks since I’ve bitten. In my world, that’s a long time. I can’t quite call it “triumph” yet, but it’s a good start.
Now, all I need to do is color my hair — WITH HENNA — again. There goes the vanity again: I think I’m the grayest pregnant woman ever and it just doesn’t seem right. But, that’s a story for another day…