Old Habits Die Hard

Categories: thinking too much, why am i doing this again?

I can honestly say I don’t know where I picked it up from. This horrid, self mutilating habit. But it’s been with me since I was a little kid and it rears it’s head in my adult life more often than I care to admit. I bite the skin on my thumbs mainly around the nail. To the point where I bleed sometimes… and the constant wear on the skin around them for years has stopped me from having normal looking thumbs. I mean… they work and are still opposable. They just don’t LOOK normal. I remember in an effort to get me to stop biting on them, Shawn used to call them “CryptKeeper fingers” which was hurtful, but I got why he called them that. Didn’t stop me then. When I got engaged, Max pulled me aside and said… “Okay so now with that pretty ring on, no more gnawing on your thumbs, right?” I said yes… only to end up doing exactly that later that week. One soror upon getting a good look at them said to me “What happened to your thumbs?” (during a spell where I wasn’t biting on them, but remember, I said they look funny now even when they are healed) And I flipped it and said “What do you mean what’s wrong… they’ve always been this way. Aren’t everyone’s fingers that way?” She was so embarrassed like she was asking me about some life altering scar or some kind of skin malady that I was ashamed to talk about. I could have just been honest, but it would have bore too much of the REAL me to someone I barely know. But I figure if I admit to what it is and stare it dead in the face, maybe I can successfully stop.

This particular habit is a nervous habit. Some people shake their legs or tap their fingers… I start picking at my thumbs. There is a rhythm to it and it sends a vibration through my body that can be considered… calming. It satisfies my need to constantly be “doing” something. But then after a little while… the OCD kicks in. Now all this skin is frayed and probably going to snag on my clothing or just look… horrid. So I start to bite… IN AN EFFORT TO MAKE IT BETTER (where does this reasoning come from???) In an effort to smooth out what I’d just done to my fingers; in an effort to make them normal again – after I’d just attacked them. None of it makes sense… but has been a part of me all my life.

I remember sitting there in class… one particular day in the 4th grade… and I usually sat up front (because of my last name). And I had a particularly harrowing experience with my uncle the night before. And me trying to make sense of it found myself in a full on hacking frenzy on my fingers. I wasn’t even focusing on what the teacher was saying. I had bitten down until I was bleeding on both thumbs. I stopped and looked at what I had done. The bloodletting wasn’t relieving this pain, nor was it allowing the poison to escape my system. I looked up and made eye contact with my teacher who looked at what I’d done and …… turned around and kept teaching the class. Really felt like back then, no one was really trying to help me. But I wasn’t really trying to tell anyone either. I guess I learned that I have to come up off of my shortcomings and fears and express them to someone to look for help in order to get better and not feel stressed. I’m closer to putting Supergirl to rest.

I’ve been pretty good with it lately. I’ve removed myself from a few stress inducing situations. And they’ve healed up pretty evenly. It’s an active intervention on my part. Sometimes I have to say to myself ALOUD “STOP IT” when I start the picking. It’s all a process. It worked last night. I felt myself starting again. And I told myself STOP. It was feverish too… it made me a little nervous (how angrily I went at it at first).

But I’ve been contemplating putting tips on again for a few reasons – 1) when I have them on, I do NOT touch my thumbs. 2) more folks looking at my fingers now… they might as well be nice. I might go today and get some spa stuff taken care of. I was looking at this website: Dashing Diva Nail Salon and Boutique and perhaps its the overindulgent feeling of being free from auntie… but I may pursue the ever elusive Brazillian. Hmmm….

Sneak Peek

at the redesign…



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