Last December, I had made a couple of resolutions for myself that I wanted to lead into the new year with. Some of them were attainable, and already I’ve set myself into place with going through with them – I wanted to start using reusable shopping bags, and with that, be a little more environmentally conscious. I’ve done that – I’ve used the reusable shopping bags, or at least, I’ve done so the past few times I went shopping. I’ve also started using Walmart Pay, which allows me to scan my phone and get an eReceipt instead of getting a long piece of paper. We also drink an ungodly amount of soda, so I’m saving our cans to recycle at a local center. Small, doable things that make me feel better and do a little bit of good in the world.
One main resolution I had for this year was one that had carried over from last year, and the year prior to that, and the year before that… I wanted to stop biting my nails.
I’ve suffered from biting my nails for as long as I can remember. I don’t recall a period in my life where I haven’t seen my nails getting ever so longer and I don’t get the overwhelming urge to bite and chew them off.
It’s partially a symptom of my anxiety, I’m sure. Partially because I’ve been doing it for so long, I’m sure it’s comforting.
But I absolutely hate it. It hurts my fingers and makes me feel gross and makes my fingers look gross and I hate stubby nails with a passion. It’s so bad that my ex-girlfriend used to smack my hand away from my mouth whenever I tried to bite – something that I didn’t appreciate enough at the time.
I’ve tried clear nail polish. Jalapeno juice. Vinegar. Disgusting nail polish made specifically to help with biting nails. None of it lasted more than a few days – and I stopped caring and my nails I kept biting.
But this year – oh, man. This year I felt strong. This year I felt I had it.
For the first couple weeks, I bit my nails at a rate much smaller than I had in a long time. My nails started growing white over my fingertips, something I rarely experienced. My thumbs had nails. I could scratch my arm and feel satisfied.
This was finally it!
But then… I noticed my thumb nails. My teeth chattered. I started picking at the nail, and within a second it was in my mouth. I thought to myself, “I’ll just bite on the nail a bit, not rip it off. That’ll be okay.”
Little did I realize that by doing that, I was weakening the nail. Easier for it to be torn off with my hand later on.
And both nails came off.
And that snowballed into most of my left hand – just taking a little off. Just trimming a bit – until I was back to where I started.
I have a little bit of nail left, but I still felt ashamed. I had come so far only to let myself down again. How could I? How could I take that away from myself? I’ve been biting my nails for twenty years and I can’t summon enough willpower to just stop?
How weak am I?
New Year’s Resolutions are fickle things. They are spur of the moment and come because you get washed away in the feeling of renewal and starting over.
Time doesn’t exist – and the Julian calendar we use only means something to us. The concept of a new year only exists to us – but in reality, days just keep passing. The New Year is just a way of keeping track.
So the question is, why wait for a new year to start making yourself better? If you know you’re going to have certain resolutions, why not start the second you think of them? It’s for the same reason that the laundry can wait until tomorrow. The diet can wait until Monday. You’ll start your new, tighter budget next month. You’ll stop biting your nails next year.
It’s validation that we’ll eventually do the right thing, and gives us a way to keep putting it off. There’s always another tomorrow, another Monday, another year.
Until there isn’t.
And that’s the difficult part.
So while I may not have succeeded just yet in my lifelong quest to stop biting my nails, I’m not going to let it get me down yet. I won’t wait until next year. I’ll keep trying until I do it again and then I’ll just start over again – because while keeping track of time is so inherently human, something else that is inherently human is the drive to persevere and to keep moving forward, no matter what happens.
So with that in mind, I’ll keep working towards my resolution. I’ll keep trying.
And I’ll let you know if I ever succeed.
To whoever might be reading this, I hope you’re succeeding in all you’re trying to do – daily, weekly, monthly or for the New Year – I’m sure you’re doing great, and if you don’t feel like you are, there’s always a chance to get back up and try again.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
– Brandon. 8:15 PM.