I’ve been biting my nails since I can remember. And biting is probably the most tame way to describe the kind of masochistic destruction I was doing to my digits. Nothing felt better that biting down at the edge of a nail to get the process started and then proceeding with my available fingers to rip the rest of it off. Even the smallest bit of white that would begin to appear was a reminder that I had work to do and a little bit anxiety to relieve.
At some point I truly believed that I was incapable of nice nails. Just like some people are born with thick, straight manes and moms with access to fancy stylists – others are born with curly nests and moms who feel confident DIYing bangs on the back porch with a comb missing a few teeth and dull scissors. Some people are born with nice nails and others are born nail biters.
The worst side-effects of nail-biting never seemed to deter my bad habit. Infected fingers, picked at cuticles, irritated hang nails, and that burning sensation when you get salt on a fresh bit of exposed nail bed. Pain usually serves as a red flag to STOP but my addiction held strong. I bit my nails on the bus to Elementary school. I bit my nails in between sets of marching band practice. I bit my nails through boring gen ed classes in college. I felt extra fancy when I got fake acrylic French manicured nails for my first wedding. Not long after I vowed “Forever, I do…” I managed to pop and rip my acrylic nails off my fingers, one-by-one, before the honeymoon was even over. After I got my first job I remember being self conscious about showing designs-in-progress to my account executive … I would fold as many fingers as possible into my palm when pointing out various elements of the art I was presenting.
It wasn’t until Britney Spears went crazy and the tabloids started relentlessly picking on her that I stopped biting my nails. I remember a particular article detailing everything wrong with Britney – from her Cheetos and Frappucino addiction, to her bad hair extensions and inability to wear shoes in gas station restrooms, to a close up, zoomed-in view of her hands (carrying two cell phones, a Starbucks drink, Cheetos, her wallet, and a baby on her hip) pointing out her mangled nubs of fingernails. So that was that. I immediately stopped biting my nails and started treating myself to weekly manicures to stay accountable to kicking the habit. I also stopped reading tabloids … except at the nail salon.
P.S. Stacked rings by Moulton.