Bad Habits-Marg Bart

The day I started biting my nails was the day my mother asked if I bite my nails.

I’ve never seen the white tips on my father’s fingernails. I’ve never seen my brothers either. I have seen their nubs of dead skin, peeling cuticles, dried fingers. My hands have begun to resemble theirs.

It’s become a pattern of mine, to write about hands. For me, it’s hard not to; they tell so much about a person. My left thumb is currently a horrific sight. The skin surrounding my nail is rough and red and bare and missing at least 4 of its 7 layers. I know it hurts to pull at the skin but there is something in my brain that wants it all to be flat, for there to be no more things to bite, to feel smooth and clean. All that want leads to is more blood, more band-aids, more pulls of skin.

This week, my hands are looking particularly ghastly, indicative of a particularly stressful week. I often feel like my hands are a better indication of my mood than my face; they bear the burden of all my daily anxieties that most 17 year old’s have. I often daydream of breaking my nail biting habit and having hands that don’t look so weathered. I often remember when daydreaming that I notice everyone’s hands, and I never think less of short fingernails.

Elyse, a 23-year-old self-proclaimed Witch who I met in France; told me that I have the oldest hands shes ever seen, as in, my palms have the deepest lines. She said that the deeper the lines, the more lives a person has lived. I am not the biggest believer in the afterlife, but for some reason this was the biggest validation I could receive, it made my hands hold less ugliness and instead hold many years of something else, many years of something I don’t know.

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