Okay folks, this blog post might get a little heavy. I apologize in advance. When I was a kid, I had a bad habit of biting my nails. Looking back on it  now, I totally understand it, but at the time, I could not stop for love or money.

It was something going on with me in my third grade year.  I didn't feel good at all about myself at the time (which may be hard to believe for a kid so young, but trust me), and I thought my teacher hated me. She might not have hated me, but she sure didn't like me or about half the kids in the classroom that year. I remember she yelled at kid so much before the big state standardized test that he cried..... just because he didn't bring an extra pencil.  Maybe I was sensitive, maybe she really was mean. I don't know. I didn't understand the stress or pressures of teaching.  All I know is, at the time, I felt picked on by the classroom authority figure I was always told to trust. My parents, grandparents, heck, adults in general always told me that I should look up to and believe my teachers in everything. I had some great teachers for my Kindergarten, first grade and second grade... so I didn't understand what was wrong. I thought the teacher WAS right, and it was me. I thought I was stupid and ugly and couldn't do anything worth muster because that's what the teacher told me.  The teacher is always right, I thought.

School was a big deal to me, and when my teacher didn't like me, that made the year unbearable.  In fact,  I went from nearly perfect attendance my second grade year, to trying to play sick almost every day of third grade.  My Mom wasn't having any shenanigans, though, and most of the time sent me to school.   When I was at school, I felt stupid and unliked and all that stuff and it made me, as I understand it now, anxious. I didn't understand it at the time, of course. Anyway, that anxiety manifested itself in biting my nails until they bled.  I couldn't stop.  My Mom would paint my nails to try to make them pretty so I wouldn't, that didn't help.  She'd put that icky stuff on my nails to make it unpleasant for me to bite them; that didn't work either.


I'd just bite through it until the stuff wore off. It was something that stuck with me all that year, and didn't let up until I went into fourth grade, and things turned around a little. I had a more maternal, almost grandmotherly teacher who didn't make anyone cry and helped nudge me toward a solution. I felt like she cared, or at least felt like she didn't loathe me. She pulled me aside one day before recess and said that I didn't HAVE to bite my nails, as much as it felt like I should. She said she understood that the urge was strong, but she felt like I could fight it. It really helped, and I tried really hard to stop so I didn't disappoint her. Eventually, over the next couple of months, the biting stopped.

As an adult, I've had a few bad habits over the years - your typical vices.  I've got other bad habits I need to break (I don't exercise at all, for example) and I'm working on it, but I thought we'd get together a bit and talk about our own habits we've broken over the years.  What bad habits have you broken over the years?  Do you still have some that you need to get rid of?

Habitually yours,

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