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Sam Dobson Writes: Kicking the Habit

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kicking the Habit

I stopped biting my nails. Knock on wood that I don't start again. It's been about three weeks. This is a huge feat for me. I've been biting my nails for longer than I can remember. I'm one of those people who bites their nails so much, it's painful for other people to simply look at them. I can't tell you how many times I've turned red in the face with embarrassment when in mid-conversation someone practically yells "oh my god! look at your little nails!" I can't wait to never hear those words again.

This habit was so ingrained in me that half the time I didn't even realize I was biting my nails until a family member or friend annoyingly smacked at my hand. I can't tell you how frustrating that is! It's not like I want to bite my nails, but I sure as hell don't need anyone trying to rid me of the habit using abuse. Okay, that's a little over dramatic, but seriously, smacking at my hand while I bite my nails only makes me want to punch you in the face and then bite them some more to calm my nerves. Hitting at me doesn't encourage me to stop biting them at all.

Two incidents finally pushed me to break the bad habit. The first happened last Thanksgiving. My best friend got engaged while she ran the Turkey Trot marathon. Her fiance had told reporters of his plan and their engagement made headlines. Unaware that she would be having close ups of her hands all over the local newspapers, my friend was in desperate need of a manicure. Her best friends made sure to point this out to her and we all laughed about it. My mother's response: "that's why you need to stop biting your nails". Point taken. When I finally get a beautiful rock put on my left ring finger, it would be nice to get "oohs and ahhs" instead of "ew, your nails!"

The second incident occurred just a month ago when I was in Florida with my boyfriend and my family. Somehow, my brother, my boyfriend and I got on the topic of nails. Don't ask me why. The boys were both in agreement that french manicures are "sexy". I looked down at my own stubby fingers with their nonexistent nails and thought "this sucks". My nails are the complete opposite of french manicured. I started thinking about what my hands must look like to my boyfriend when he holds my hand. For some reason, the french manicure comments really bummed me out and I resolved that I would put that "No Bite" polish to good use. Three weeks later, my nail beds are healing and I'm accidentally scratching myself.

It's funny how bad habits can become such a big part of who we are. I had bitten, unpolished finger nails for so long, now it seems strange to have it any other way. However, bad habits are labeled bad for a reason. Drinking and using drugs turn into deadly addictions. Eating crap leads to obesity and serious health problems. Cigarettes kill those who smoke them and those who breath around them. Nail biting has serious consequences too. It's gross to think about all the things we touch on a day to day basis. I guess that's why I religiously use hand sanitizer. After watching the movie Contagion, I turned to Blake and warned him that if something like that were to ever happen I'd be the first to die thanks to my bad habit. Now that I've seemingly kicked nail biting, maybe I'll have a fighting chance.

It might be time to break your bad habits. You'll have better odds of outrunning zombies or surviving deadly diseases.

Willingly yours,



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