Keeping a tight grip

I’ve written before about sometimes using home manicures as a small gesture of self-care—both during COVID and in the before-times.

Though let’s be really real: my skill level, as far as the application of nail polish is concerned, is low enough that calling my efforts a “manicure” is giving myself WAY too much credit.

Nonetheless, I have, in other times, enjoyed painting my nails. It helps me feel pretty and expressive. And it helps me keep from biting my nails—a lifelong habit.

Key modifier here: in other times. Nowadays, I have begrudgingly made peace with the idea that I am not likely to paint my nails until after we have election results.

So: December some time.

And yes, anyone wondering if my not painting my nails might have some correlation to my current pace of nail-biting would be right on target.

Peeps: my hands are in BAD shape. The accumulated stress of recent COVID spikes nationwide and the final miles of electioneering have me biting my nails, ripping at my cuticles (with fingers and teeth), and obsessively picking at the scabs from these self-inflected wounds so they never actually get a chance to heal.

It’s ugly, y’all. And to prove it, here’s a photo.

A close-up of six fingers against a dark background. The fingernails and cuticles are all bitten and scabbed to different degrees.
Six Little Piggies

(I’m not proud, I’m just honest.)

I have mixed feelings about this all.* On the one hand, I am wistfully wishing that I were more of a grown-up and not carrying on this ridiculous childhood habit. On the other hand, I take a sideways comfort in realizing that this is legitimately a time of cultural trauma and widespread anxiety—I mean, I’d rather it weren’t, but that reality check helps get me out of my self-judgement and acknowledge that I am, in all honesty, responding proportionally to the shitstorm that is Autumn 2020.**

So, if expressing self-care for me right now needs to be less about self-adornment and more about self-acceptance, in all my anxiety responses and bad habits, I can be good with that.

And I treated myself to a yummy new nail polish order today. So when it’s time to shift back to a bit of self-adornment, I will be ready.


* Admittedly, mixed or multiple feelings is my general M.O. #OverthinkingAllTheTime

** As distinct from the shitstorms that were Spring 2020 and Summer 2020


Image credit: Photo taken by the author, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

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