Bite. Chomp. Tear. | Teen Ink

Bite. Chomp. Tear.

August 5, 2008
By Hanna Utkin GOLD, Staten Island, New York
Hanna Utkin GOLD, Staten Island, New York
14 articles 21 photos 2 comments

And then, I did it again.
I started to bite my nails. My teeth bit through the smooth, slightly flexible nail, producing a dull chomp noise. I started tearing, and tearing, feeling through angles of my nailbed for places to rip. And once you start, you can't even tell what your doing. You just keep on chomping and ripping, only slightly aware of the dischord your doing to your nails and flesh. And you don't stop, until, well, not until you have a nail-less thumb, and three of your fingers are profusely bleeding. And when that happens, you wipe the blood off on your seat and begin viciously biting the skin around your nail, tearing off the flesh in long strips, and then spitting them out. And its delightful.
Of course, my description might confuse, as it makes nail biting so absoloutly revolting, horrendous and possibly self-mutilating, but you must understand why I bite my nails. Why I don't prefer leaving them be, healthy and normal. So I will offer an explantion, though it may turn into a rant, and perhaps, Mom and Dad, you will see my point. Ahem.

First of all, its fun. It really is. And its free.

Second, it onsets anxiety disorders (which is pretty useful if you'd like to spend science in the guidance counsler's office).

Its (mostly) painless (you actually have zero nerves in the tips of your nails, or the thick fleshy
bits around it)

It makes you prone to wash your hands(a lot).

It gives you something to do in boring situations you can't escape. (ex. lectures, long prayer services, trips to the bank, annoying family dinners...)

And finally, you'll never have to cut your nails again!
But as I sit here, scrutinizing my fingers, I realize it comes with more minuses than pluses.
First of all, it is incredibly difficult to peel off anything. And that seriously sucks. When you want to peel off the sticker on your plum, the price sticker on your cousin's cheap birthday gift, the plastic ring on the Snapple caps, the tape on your walls, you'll have better luck using your nose. And if rubbing alcohol or nailpolish remover touches any of your fingers, the invisible, tiny cuts open, turning red and shiny, burning for hours. And boy, is it a horror story when you have to untie knots, open jewelry clasps, or scratch your mosquito bites with your feeble shards of bendy nail.
But see, the compulsion of gnawing away your squares of dead cells, is way too strong. If your like me, you don't even notice when your biting them. You start talking without even realizing your fingers were jammed underneath your teeth. You get frequent, seemingly random, remarks of, 'thats gross' and 'I can't stand that sound', not realizing their aimed toward you.
And so, I decided to stop the old habit. The plan was using bad tasting nailpolish, wearing gloves and giving myself long lectures on how bacteria and worms can get into my body that way and kill me, to finally end the chomping and tearing. And I thought it was working, although there was no sign of longer nails. And subconsiously I knew why,
Because then, I did it again.

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