For as long as I can remember I have been a nail biter. I even have a picture somewhere that shows me biting my toenails. Before you begin to judge, I was only 2 years old. At that age it wasn’t gross to me. I will say it now, though… GROSS!!! And instead of my family stopping me, they only stopped to make it a Kodak moment. I am sitting there in some very tight fitting, 80’s styled toddler outfit, looking like some sort of chunky albino monkey chewing on my toes, bearing a huge grin on my face. Thanks mom or grandma, whomever is to blame for the evidence we now have of my intense nail biting. This habit was obviously a self-soothing method to cope with my nervousness. Instead of sucking my thumb, I found relief in chewing up my nails. I just recently discovered that this is something that people with BPD suffer from as well. (Article attached at the end of blog.) They are also classifying people that bite their nails habitually and harmfully as OCD, labeling these individuals as having a diagnosable mental disorder.
I have had several people give their best efforts to keep me from biting my nails, the jalapeno sauce on the fingernails, and one of my aunts went as far as even trying to bribe away my bad habit. She would say that if I could grow my nails she would pay me some hard, cold cash each time I would go to visit her with longer nails. I was unable to grow them at that age. Life for me at that time was far too nerve racking. I do feel that I learned to chew my nails during intense moments to help ease my anxiety. And then it became a horrible habit that until now I felt I was unable to break.
I can remember spending loads of money getting fake nails, and feeling better about myself almost the instant my nails were done. How does a little bit of powder, gel and polish change the way I feel about myself? I know that how we feel about ourselves on the outside can affect our mental state. It can cause serious issues. What could possibly be enhanced by fake nails? Why stop there, why fake lashes, fake breasts, fake tan, makeup even. Falsifying who we are on the outside to make ourselves feel better on the inside. Personally, the idea that I could apply beautiful nails hid the fact that I had a horrible habit of biting my nails. It also concealed my failure with my battle of being a nervous and insecure person. The fake nails hid those real parts of me. I loved fake nails, and I would even pick out the polish by the name… It had to match my mood or the persona I wanted to exude.
I am happy to announce that my addiction to fake nails has since been rehabilitated and I have beaten my nail biting nervous habit. I am now actually growing nails, and I can’t tell you how this small & unimportant physical feature actually empowers me. I feel like this is something I have battled since the age of 2. I had always felt that I wouldn’t be able to beat this habit. Making the once impossible idea of beating this bad habit, now very possible. The major change for me that has helped me beat this habits was first simply asking myself what it is I want? Giving myself time throughout the day to care for myself. Making my mind up to be more present, to be engaged more often and less time checked out. I could spend hours adrift in my thoughts, before practicing mindfulness. I check in with reality a lot more regularly now. Being more intentional with my actions, and with the way I want to treat myself and others. I don’t live in a fantasy world, and I know I create what is happening in my life, and that I am in control of what happens with my body. Starting with growing long, beautiful nails. This is just the beginning of being 100 % real.
Now if I could just kick my habit of Snapchat filters… I would be all real all the time. LOL!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the super hero moms out there that do their very best for their kids! Every day isn’t always easy, but they are all definitely worth it.