Hive, I’ve gotta be real with you about something. The honest truth is, I’ve been battling one of those nasty habits people talk about, and it’s one I’m not at all proud of. I used to not pay much attention to it, but after Mr. A and I started to get more serious in our relationship, it suddenly occurred to me that part of me wouldn’t be completely comfortable showing off a possible engagement ring unless I kicked the habit.
I’m talking about nail biting.
Now, I’m sure I’m not the only girl out there who’s struggled with this problem, but let me tell you, I’ve been biting my nails for as long as I can remember. I can even pinpoint the very first time I started: A close cousin of mine is a habitual nail biter (and a bad one, at that.) When we were both really little, I remember my mom saying something to her about how she should quit and that it wasn’t a good habit to have and you could get sick and yada yada yada, and I remember looking at the sad, quasi-shameful look on her face and just feeling so bad for her. At that moment, I chewed off every single one of my nails and displayed them to my mom, proud of what I’d done. I beamed when I saw the smirk on my cousin’s face. Although the initial nail biting might have stemmed from an empathetic motivation mixed with a certain rebellious defiance towards my mom, the habit creeped up on me not too soon after that, and I found myself biting my nails all the time.
My mom tried everything to get me to quit. She would ask my Gaga to take me to get fancy manicures from the nail salon. She bought some of that nasty tasting paint on stuff and put it all over my nails. She dabbed hot sauce on my finger tips. But no matter how she approached it, the habit was there, stuck for good.
I bit my nails all through high school and into the beginning of college, but I started to get somewhat self-conscious about the way my fingers looked once I started dating Mr. A. He never mentioned anything about them, but anytime I found our fingers intertwined, I would glance down and wince at the sight of my puffy fingertips and jagged nails. Once we started talking about marriage and kids, it suddenly occurred to me that I might have to wear an engagement ring, at which point I would be obligated to show it off to people. But no matter how gorgeous that ring might have been, it would have been marred by the sight of short, stubby, unattractive nails. It was at that moment that I was resolved to kick the habit, once and for all.
I started being more conscious of when and why I bit my nails, and I discovered that I almost always had them in my mouth when a nail was uneven or when one ripped or split. So, I started carrying around a nail file in my purse with me wherever I went, and I kept my nails painted in a bright, vibrant color. If they looked nice, I didn’t want to mess them up by chewing them off, so as long as I kept them painted and snaggle-free, I was less inclined to bite them. After about six months of hard, conscious work to keep myself from biting my nails, Mr. A popped the question and slipped that gorgeous ring on my finger.
I haven’t bitten my nails off since.
I guess I just needed the right motivation to kick the habit, and I’m so glad I did! Painting my nails has become a weekly, therapeutic time for me, and I love switching out my polish colors to go with outfits or holidays. And you’d be surprised how many actions are so much easier with nails! (Opening soda cans is no longer a challenge!) The best part is, nasty fingernails no longer detract from the beautiful ring Mr. A worked so hard to save up for, and I’m by no means embarrassed to show it off whenever I’m asked to! I can’t wait to brainstorm how to paint my nails on my wedding day, especially now that I HAVE them!
Anyone else struggle with nail biting in the past? What motivated you to kick the habit?