Friday, November 6, 2009

Rubber band man

I think I have finally kicked the nail biting habit, or at least I hope I have. Since I was a small child, probably 3 years old, I have bitten my nails. When I was much younger, I always bit them way to low, till they were freakishly short and I bled. Between that and constant hangnails, I always had bandages on my fingers in school.

As I have gotten older, I have controlled this terrible habit a bit. In most cases, when I have bitten my nails in the past few years, I at least do it neatly and cleanly, and with no bleeding. The habit has matured as I hopefully have. It's still a bad habit, and I need to stop doing it. In the past year, I usually do all right until I get stressed and bite them all off. In most cases, this has been driving around Allston and Brighton for a long time, trying to find a parking spot.

I finally found a method of controlling the urge to bite one's nails that involves wearing rubber bands on the wrist. This suits me, since at work I end up putting rubber bands around my wrists from file folders and mail. Contrary to what people have assumed when I begin to explain the abundance of bands I move from hand to hand, I do not snap myself to inflict pain as a punishment for the thought. At that rate, I might as well sniff ammonia too. When I want to bite my nails, I switch the rubber bands from one wrist to the other. The moment passes, and I haven't bitten my nails, and I am conscious of how often I want to do it, and how stupid it is. It also gives my hands something to do, which is very important.

Of course, I have invented fake reasons for why I'm wearing them. I moved locations at work recently and when a former office mate asked what they were for I told her "I wear one for each of you that I miss." There were 6 people in my old office. I was wearing 2 bands. She sulked back to her cubicle.

I haven't bitten my nails in 12 days now. I think it takes 21 days to start or break a habit. I think my new habit is collecting rubber bands, because I'm up to five. Perhaps my next project will be a rubber band ball to keep from biting my nails and wearing too many bands. Either way, after I am sure I have moved on, I'm gettin' m'nails did.

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