This is the second blog post by Samantha, a dear ugly duckling that decided to write about her compulsion of biting her nails and her desire to quit. If you want to read the first installment, simply click here.
One week into my compulsive anti-nail biting crusade, and overall, I can say that I am “cautiously encouraged”.
Perhaps the most important thing I discovered this week is that it is okay to be less than perfect, even before an audience. Having an audience tends to do that. I mean, let’s face it – the photo doesn’t lie. Obviously, three of my nails look relatively smooth and healthy here, while the pinky and ring finger clearly don’t show the same progress.
Why did I attack those fingers more than the others? I watched and listened to my thoughts and quickly came to realize that the urge to bite, pick and peel (“BPP”) was the most compelling when the nails were the most damaged. And those two nails began with the most damage. Both were not only short but also peeling – because I had taken to peeling them. Why? Because when there was nothing left to bite or pick, there was still enough nail left to peel. This left me almost desperate to “fix” the layers by biting still further. When I realized this, I got a nail file and smoothed the layers instead. BINGO. Once I smoothed the layers, the urge to BPP diminished to something manageable. Right now, I am just waiting for the nails to grow back. I hope that next week, the photos will reveal that I got control over this.
A nail file is a fantastic discovery for me. It formed the basis for a new behavior to replace at least one facet of my compulsion. And it makes me feel more like a normal girl. You know, girls and nail files, now I can be one of them. In the past, I would use a nail clipper, rather than a file. But this only left me with new ragged edges a day or so after. Can you say “vicious cycle”?
Wearing dark polish may not be the most flattering at this time, but it is helpful because I can’t BPP without it being immediately obvious. Tips don’t lie. I guess that I have a need to be accountable for my actions. This blog, the photos and the dark nail polish are satisfying that need. And so is simple awareness of what my compulsions feel like while they are happening. I guess that is a form of accountability to – to myself.
Check out these photos of Samantha’s progress and keep checking back once a week for her blogs.