I have an obsession with my fingernails. Don’t get me wrong – the vast majority of my life, my fingernails have not been obsession-worthy. They were chewed, mangled and highly unattractive. But I have always spent a lot of time worrying about them. Trying to make them look as presentable as possible, I would often break out the clippers and the fingernail file and set to work smoothing things out (pointless as it was). If I didn’t have any of those implements, my teeth would work just as well.

Never mind that chewing my nails often left them in a worse state than when I began, I believed in the cause, so I carried on.

I clearly remember early in my lifeguarding career being called out by a mother who spent many, many hours soaking up the sun, chatting noisily with her fellow leathery mothers, and, as it turned out, observing the lifeguards as they work.

“I see you, sitting up there,” she said, walking past my stand one sweltering afternoon.

“Ma’am?” I said, still scanning the pool as I spoke.

“Picking at your fingernails!” She said this with a genuine sense of “I-could-care-less-what-you-do-because-I-watched-you-grow-up-and-I-know-you’re-a-good-girl” in her voice, so I just smiled.

“Oh! I didn’t even realize I’d been doing that,” I admitted.

My nail obsession was so ingrained that I barely even noticed it.

Recently, I’ve even over-exaggerated interest in my nail-health in order to frustrate Hubby. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to talk to someone who’s more interested in filing their nails than listening to what you have to say. You might think this is rude, and I might agree, but my passive-aggressive nature makes this a fabulous response when I’m irritated with something he’s done or said.

But I digress. I think my passive-aggression could fill an entire post of it’s own, so I’ll get back to the point at hand. I remember once an acquaintance of mine described how she stopped biting her nails. All it required was viewing a sample from beneath her nails under a microscope. Apparently that’s an affective cure for most folks. I’m sure many people have tried to convince me of the unsanitary nature of nail-biting to no avail. I am a determined nail biter. If I’m not biting them now, it’s only by sheer force of will.

My new resolution to let my nails grow out is somewhat inexplicable.

Maybe it was some un-recognized transition into adulthood. Or maybe it is vanity – since I have so little to be vain about these days, my nails have crept up the list. I’ve started painting them twice weekly with Nail Magic to make them less likely to split (my nails are infernally split-tastic) and as strong as they can be expected to be. Before each application of the polish, I file and shape my ever lengthening nails. I take such pride in the result.

One thing I’ve always dreamed about is to type on a keyboard with long nails. This is a weird thing to dream about, I agree. As the length hasn’t yet surpassed the pads of my fingers, I don’t really count the typing I’m currently doing as fulfilling this strange wish. Give me another month and I may be there.

My next project is to get my cuticles and the skin around my nails in good shape. As pretty as the actual nails may be, my hands still look a mess. I’ve only ever had like 3 manicures ever, so I’m not entirely sure what processes are involved in healthy cuticles, but I also think I’m unlikely to enjoy it. I have a phobia of lotions and creams of any sort. It’s overcomeable, certainly, but I’m not inclined to apply a lotion to my hands unless I know it’s going to do the trick. Suggestions?

And if you happen to catch me in an unguarded moment, don’t be surprised if I’m staring at my fingernails. You’re welcome to come stare at them too.

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