i had a relapse of the lame kind

not of the bad kind. just of a regular kind. every two or three years, i have this miracle, this confluence of circumstances where i am able to ignore my hands and just not bite my nails. one day, i look down and my nails have sort of grown a bit. and so i decide, “hey. this is good. i’m just going to not bite them.” and there must be some sort of serenity or something happening with me, and it’s just not an issue. i’m just rolling with it. and they continue to grow.

and then i realize as they grow, they grow in such a fashion that they start to snag on things and that i need to tend to them. so, i file them ever so slightly. and then, i paint them with nail strengthener. and then maybe i try to paint them with polish. this is always a disaster, because i have old nail polish and it’s kind of too thick and clumpy and i also never paint three thin coats. i am always way too impatient, and i paint one thick coat. which means that it never really dries properly no matter how long i wait and eventually i have to do something like change the channel with the remote or pet the cat or go to the bathroom and and then i get a flawed nail or two or three. and then i sort of hate myself. because i never have nice nails. even when they’re growing beyond little girl or teenage boy length. not to mention my left hand can have the potential to actually look quite nice and my right hand mostly looks like a little girl or a boy or a mentally challenged person painted it no matter how much i try to be careful and take my time and really do a good job.

so then, i have these nails that have a fairly shitty paint job on them, which makes me embarrassed, so i end up removing the whole thing, except for i have these very small flakes of paint right around the cuticles, because i don’t know how to remove my cuticles, because it sounds like a very painful process, which is in part why i am afraid to go get a professional manicure. letting some random stranger separate me from my cuticles sounds very scary and somewhat torturous. this is somewhat puzzling and slightly hypocritical given the fact that when winter comes, shit any time of the year, when i neglect to properly attend to my hands and i get a variety of hangnails or happen upon a stray cuticle in the process of already biting my nails and decide that i should, nay, must be rid of said cuticle and start to rip it from my finger with my teeth, causing all sorts of pain and agony, and often ranging from minor to copious amounts of blood. i’m assuming that the local manicurist isn’t attending to her customers in the manner of something you’d find in a scene of “saw.”

if i manage to keep the paint on and walk around with it for a few days, feeling weird and seeing all my other friends and other women with fabulous nails and fabulous manicures, i inevitably come to the point where my bad application falls prey to the phase where i am so excited to have the nails i only acquire every two or three years that i use them as my own private tool set: to pry things off the coffee table, to scratch my back in a lovely way and to use them as impromptu toothpicks. eventually this sort of wear and tear takes the polish off and also starts to do damage to the nails as well.

eventually, they start to fall apart. when minor ones take the plunge, i can still hold out and not begin an all-out munch fest. but when the daddy of all nails, the thumb nail on my right hand falls, i slowly begin to eat off all the rest, leaving me nail-less and unable to let them grow again. the phenomenon of craving has occurred, and i don’t know when i’ll be able to muster the willpower again. really.


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