I was a terrible nail biter when I was a kid. I tried to quit a million times. I recall one ghastly episode in my early teens when I tried putting pepper oil on my finger tips to cure myself and ended up with burns, but no cure. When I was 18, I was introduced to the fantastic world of fake acrylic nails. Why quit when I could pay a lady twenty bucks to fake it?
My shame at the evidence of my uncontrolled habit was so great that I panicked if there was an upcoming event and I had no means to get my nails done. Like a junkie, I sometimes paid my manicurist in crumpled singles and socks full of pennies and nickels.
Getting pregnant with Mackenzie ended my habit for the most part. Perhaps it is because of all the prenatal vitamins and pregnancy hormones – my nails grew so strong and fast that they skipped the ugly stage and went straight to lovely. Right after Mackenzie, came Ian. Two plus years of pregnancy meant that I was pretty well cured of the habit. Maybe you’ve never had an embarrassingly disgusting habit and won’t understand what I mean when I say this, but I was genuinely relieved to have the monkey off my back.
Many years later, I found that I would have the occasional relapse. It may be a small thing, really, but years of growing as a person changed my feelings about my nails dramatically. This was about five years ago and Eric and I had a black tie event to attend. My nails were stress bitten down to nothing. I did not even think of paying to have them done. I simply painted them dark red and went as is.
What I learned from the time of great shame to the time of red nail polish is this: Nobody pays nearly as much attention to you as you think.
Don’t we sometimes convince ourselves that people remember what we wore last week, so we better shake it up this week? Do we remember what anyone wore last week? I don’t. I don’t remember what you wore last week, but I do remember seeing you and enjoying the visit. If your nails were bitten to nubs, or manicured to the hilt, I couldn’t say.
My name is Eric’s Wife and sometimes I lose control of myself and bite my nails. When this happens, I paint them a deep shade of red until they grow out again. I’m telling you this because you may have talked to me a million times and never noticed. I hope knowing that about me helps you to remember that nobody is looking at you with the same critical eye with which you look at yourself.