The Me Project: Day 44

Have been sick for the last week or so. Not sure what’s going on. Flu? Cold? Allergies gone wild? Insides aren’t happy — don’t know if it is the change of food from takeout to groceries or what. Head is congested and I now have a splitting sinus headache. Alternating between insomnia and narcolepsy again. Thought I’d have been more productive during the holidays, but really accomplished very little that didn’t involve sitting in front of my computer. Which is to say that I accomplished some things, but they weren’t the things I was planning to accomplish. Tu comprends?

I ended up having to trim my finger nails the other day — the cleaning that I did on the 23rd softened the nails so much that they never completely recovered and it was trim them or bite them. Now it’s a fight not to start biting them again. I’m having trouble not biting the skin around them, which is not helping. That’s stress, that is. But a bad way of coping.

Talked to NiK tonight — she was stuck in an intense Vancouver traffic snarl and thought of me. Aw. Unfortunately, her cell phone died in mid-conversation so she probably had to spend the remaining couple of hours with only her stereo for company. Don’t remember what I was in the middle of saying when it cut out — couldn’t have been too important. I miss her. She’s always a bright spot to my day and our conversations are never long enough. I got to bitch commiserate about Scorpios (no, not anyone who might happen to be reading this) in our lives, which was very helpful. LOL

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Onychophagia revisited

Was doing a little WordPress tag surfing today, based on searches that have brought people to this blog. (I’m continually surprised what brings people here…and what doesn’t.)

Via a tag surf on the keyword “onychophagia” that brought me to overcome your inner klutz, I came across, a site that offers information to help people stop biting their nails. If for no other reason, it was worth a visit simply to read the following:

Studies seem to suggest a higher incidence of onychophagia amongst people with higher intelligence. Possibly as a result of such people being given more responsibilities and consequential anxiety. A caution: There is no evidence that biting your nails makes you more intelligent however, so there remains every reason to discourage the habit!

‘Cos you know that someone somewhere would have taken the first part of that the wrong way, resulting in the need for the subsequent warning. 😀 Right now there’s not much more of a reason to visit the site. They offer some decent tips that may work for people, but their forum is currently giving SQL errors so who knows if there actually is a viable community there.

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Dontcha hate it

when you have something all planned to write, but then you forget what that was?

It was so profound, too. Solved all of the world’s problems. Not. It was probably something lame. So I’ll replace it with something equally lame.

I realized tonight that you move your hands differently when you have nails. Your fingers feel differently, you hold and open things differently. Even typing is different, because I have to place my fingers differently on the keys to avoid banging the nails on the other keys. Unfortunately, I keep playing with the nails so I imagine they’ll get soft or break, and then I’ll have to tie my hands down to keep myself from biting them.

The Me Project: Day 21

Aw, cool. My stats rolled over 10,000 yesterday. I know that doesn’t seem like many hits but you have to figure that this time last year, I was getting about 50 hits a month and those mostly from family and friends. Now, I’m averaging more a day than I was getting in a month. Very exciting. Granted, a lot of the hits are to several specific popular posts, but that’s OK.

Anyhoo, I’m going to stop posting daily “Me Project” posts (will do them weekly or maybe a couple of times a week) — they’re mostly for my own benefit anyway, since I doubt they are of interest to anyone but me. I’ll still post every day, but I’ve been working on some posts behind the scenes, mostly related to weight loss.

nails1 nails2I can, however, report that, though I did bite two nails (couldn’t find my file in time and rough nails tips are very seductive to a nail biter), I’ve managed to keep the rest growing. So that’s at least one goal I’ve managed to keep over the last three weeks. Sometimes you take comfort in small victories. Chronically-bitten nails don’t grow in quite the same as never-bitten nails — and you can see that the nail beds are really short. Right now, the nails aren’t a great deal longer than short never-bitten nails would be, but they have all the inconvenience of proper long nails. BTW, despite the look of that first picture, I do not have fat fingers or hands — probably two of the few places on my body that aren’t carrying a little extra something — but they definitely aren’t long, pianist hands. More like peasant farmer’s wife hands.

Musique du jour:

I’ve been watching the new Moosebutter video on repeat since I learned of it. I should stop that. It’s eating up my bandwidth unnecessarily, especially since I have the original song. But it’s fun to watch them.

Horoscope: From Jonathan Cainer

Your Week Ahead: No matter how far we travel, we never seem to get more than a brief break from trouble. Like some cackling tormentor, trouble tracks us down and demands that we once again submit ourselves to stress. There is a sense now, in which you feel like a fearful refugee from the tyranny of tension. You have escaped one awkward scenario, but suspect another will arise soon. Instead of seeing yourself as a victim in hiding, think of yourself as a victor in waiting! Mars suggests a sense of challenge will pursue you whatever you do, wherever you go. So refuse to take a silly situation too seriously.

How come it’s nearly Christmas… again? Haven’t we only just had the last one? Aren’t there still drawers in your home full of unwanted trinkets from last year? What is this obsession with the great recurring festive fantasy? How come we’re all shopping, wrapping and preparing for a few days of mindless overindulgence at the month end? Oh well. At least this year, there’s a seasonal twist. Now, we get to do it all against a backdrop of collapsing banks and vanishing jobs! Mmmm. Nice. Sorry to sound cynical. I know you don’t really need me to echo the doubts you already have in your heart. But, listen, I’ve got news. Despite your worries… you’re set for a good time soon!

(Hopefully that points to a successful conclusion to that contract I mentioned previously.)

Just a little OCD

My sister and I, while completely different on the surface — different body types, different interests — suffer from very similar psychological issues. Poor body image and food issues are two prime examples, though we’re on opposite sides of those coins.

Nail biting is something else we share.

Years ago, I bought a palmistry book from the bargain bin at the local bookstore. One of the chapters dealt with what you could tell about people by what nails, if any, they bit. It mentioned that it was rare to come across people who bit all of their fingernails (what planet were they living on?) and that it was invariably a sign of severe psychological issues.


My sister was a more thorough biter from an earlier age. Unfortunately, she took a liking to that liquid crap they suggest you put on your nails to make you stop biting them so that backfired. I took awhile to build up to her level. But what I missed in time I made up for in severity. I also developed a compulsion to bite the skin on my fingers. I never told my mother about that until recently — she and the dermatologists she took me to always diagnosed a skin allergy and I let them. (Hey, anything that got me out of washing dishes was a good thing.) It gets worse when I’m stressed. I feel like a cannibal sometimes. It’s a weird compulsion in someone who doesn’t like meat. I was interested to read today that it is sometimes called “wolf-biting”. Neat. My mom likes wolves. Maybe I can convince her it’s natural and OK if she knows the word “wolf” is associated with it. 😉

I didn’t even know skin biting was it’s own illness until I read the Wikipedia nail biting page while linking to it tonight — I thought it was just a natural extension of nail biting. After all, once you run out of nail to bite and peel off, the compulsion is still there so what’s the next logical step? Right. The skin on your fingers. (For those of you who thought “toe nails?”, can I just say “ew!”) I really had to laugh when I read mig3X5’s recent “Hello, I’m a Wolf-Biter” post while I was looking that up — could be talking about me (except for the “wee lad” part, of course). I’d promise to tape your hands down but you’ll just start biting other things, and at least you can hide your hands.

Still, a couple of times a year I “break” the habit and stop biting my nails. It usually lasts for a month or two at the most, until I either get completely frustrated by them (how do people function with nails? they get in the way of everything) or a nail breaks — the sudden reversion to short nail kicks the compulsion into high gear and the remaining nails don’t usually last for very long after. They’ve lasted about 2 weeks so far, but boy it’s a hard slog. The problem with chronic nail biting is that it permanently changes the shape of your nail beds and fingertips. Unless you rip off the nail and start from scratch again.

Don’t look at me like that.

I considered it at one point. I’d shut my pinky finger in a car door , ripping the nail off completely. The ER doctor tacked the nail back on to the nail bed to provide a template for the new nail to grow against. Painful as hell but the nail, when it grew back in, had a normal length nail bed. It’s still longer than the pinky on the other hand but I’ve had years of biting it since to whittle that down from where it was. It’s a tough habit to break, especially if you’re an orally-fixated person.