Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Quit!

That’s it. I quit.
I really mean it this time. It’s over. I’m done. No more.
Nail Biting, you and I are officially no longer together.

Oh, we’ve had a good run, probably 26 or 27 years, but as of Monday, no more. I’m tired of making excuses for keeping you around. I’m tired of covering you up with acrylic nails that I can’t bite through. I’m tired of hiding you and biting in secret. Well, guess what? The secret is out in the open and Nail Biting you are no longer welcome as a part of my life.

I’m sure I started biting as a form of self-soothing, similar to thumb-sucking, that’s how it typically starts anyway. I actually don’t remember becoming a nail biter, I just always was. But I didn’t outgrow it like most kids do. I do remember when I was stressed or anxious, biting my nails down so short they bled would actually make me feel better.

Slowly I’ve been letting go of being so tightly wound. Imperfection on my part doesn’t cause a flood of self-imposed guilt. I definitely am more relaxed and laid-back. You know that super-cheesy and cliché phrase, ‘Let go and Let God?’ Well I’m much, much better able to do that now. I’ve let go of my anxiety, but the Nail Biting has still stuck around. I’m not sure why, I thought they went together hand-in-hand. So now I am taking active and deliberate steps toward letting this go as well. On Monday night I took off my acrylic nails and carefully filed my little stubs. I covered them in a thick nail-hardener and then used a tastes-yucky clear polish as a topcoat. I bought gum to chew on in case the need to bite becomes overwhelming. I think I’ve got all my bases covered.

I used to joke that I’ve been biting my nails as long as I’ve had teeth. Lana now has teeth, two of them to be exact. I don’t want her to be a nail biter. I need to be a good example to her, but more than that, I need to teach her healthy ways to deal with anxiety. I need her to know that it’s okay not to please all the people all of the time. I need her to know it’s okay to say you’re sad or scared or worried. Of course, she’s five months old right now. When she’s unhappy, she lets me know. But as she grows up, she’ll watch me, and my actions, infinitely more than my words, will demonstrate to her what is acceptable and what is not.

So dear friends, this is where you come in. I am officially making all of you my accountability partners. I have admitted I have a problem and now I am asking for help. If you see me biting, please tell me to stop (in a loving way please). Ask me how my stop-nail-biting progress is coming. If you’re one of those people who can beat your bad habits by yourself, that’s cool, good for you. But this is too big, too important for me to go at it alone. I thank you all in advance for helping me out with this one.

If you have beaten a bad habit or an addiction, please share your story with me. I am inspired by people who have overcome anything that was holding them back. Whether it’s smoking or road rage or even, yes, nail biting, I would be honored to hear from you. You can leave a comment or email me (shelle.lenssen@live .com).

Day Two is so far off to a good start!


Leslie said...

You know I am also a fellow nail bitter but recently quit, but sometimes slip. Something about being 30 with your hands in your mouth biting away just isn't cool!! :) I ALWAYS carry a tiny nail file in my purse and band-aids. If I accidentally "pick" I file my nail and put a band-aid on before I continue to pick, and bite and pick some more...just a tiny trick I use. I also paint them in front of the TV often because that seemed to be when I bit the most. Good luck...

Aimee said...

Well, I remember you as a nail biter when we were very young. I remember you digging so long in you nose that it would give you a bloody nose having nothing to grip the booger with. . . I hate it when that happens. --- I wish you luck!!! How liberating it will be :-). By the way I love the video of Lana's 1st feeding. I'm in the same boat. Don't you love when they get the gag chills, it's sad but it makes me laugh.

grammyc said...

Yea for Shelle. I will expect to see long beautiful natural nails at Christmas.