Nail Biting

Describe a personal habit that helps to define you as a person.

Perfection. Boredom. Anxiety. There is probably a subconscious reason for my nail biting, but the origin of this habit has been lost with the years of my childhood. Regardless, it reflects my consistency as a person and my devotion to familiarity. My gnawed fingers do not consume me; rather, I consume the realities of the world through my fingers. Perfection is my strife as an overscheduled student; I have but little time to finish my homework and even less to express myself creatively. With every assignment, I subconsciously choose a finger to victimize and work diligently on the task at hand. When I read an original poem of mine in the creative writing club, however, I refrain from my nasty habit and focus solely on the words flowing through my work. I do not stop because I am reading aloud, but rather because I am attempting to achieve perfection. Biting exercises my conscience by testing my ability to control the habit. Boredom is not rare at the gas station where I work, but it induces my pattern of finger alienation. In between stocking soft drinks, running the register, and serving customers, I have stretches of empty time that sometimes overcome my nail preservation plan. When the hours stretch out ceaselessly before me, my fingers become instruments of distraction. Entertainment forms at my fingertips, preventing the monotony from developing into agitation. Anxiety never sweats through my pores, but rather through my habits and small tendencies. I apply an infamous amount of effort in my life that forces me to chew. Before an audition for a school play or musical, I examine my competition and prepare myself for what lies on stage. This experience, which requires great patience and fortitude, sometimes overwhelms me as I stride to center stage for the final judgment. Soon after, I yield the angst to the tips of my fingers as I bite the weak, soft nails. They offer a small sanctuary for my worries, allowing no stress to leave with biter’s remorse. Perfection, boredom, and anxiety are not the causes of my biting. Rather, they are the natural motives that lead me to rely on such a disgusting habit. But in this practice, I discover what my limits are, I find amusement in small details, and I regain peace in the face of difficulties. Just as a cat uses a scratching post, I use my fingers; the more they are utilized, the more tension is alleviated.

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