I am a nail biter. I always have been and now I’m nearing 38yo I really want to conquer the habit. It’s embarrassing and as my shorthand teacher told me during my newspaper cadetship: “It gives the wrong impression. It’s not professional. It makes you look like a dirty person.” I politely told her to fuck off.

Whenever I meet people for the first time I am careful not to wave my hands around when I talk. In fact when I’m with anyone, even my husband, I find myself curling my fingers in a way to hide my chewed nails. I hold my hands in my lap or sit on them. I wrap my bag around them or curl them around the stem of my wine glass. And quite often, without even realising, I find I am nervously biting on one.

I’m a nervous person. I try and cover it by talking too much. I pick at my nails. When I’m stressed or nervous or worried or feeling particularly insecure I bite them. When I want to punish myself I bite them.

I’ve tried everything to stop. I even did stop for a few months until one nail got a little tear in it and I started to bite at it to make it neat. I didn’t stop until all my nails were rough and there was skin where there should’ve been nail. The more I bit them, the more I told myself I didn’t deserve to have nice nails.

Tomorrow, I am off to the nail salon to get some new nails. Some fake nails. I am nervous about it so instead of laying off the biting in the lead up, they look worse then ever. I am nervous that I will find myself hiding my nails because they don’t look real. That in some way I will be considered a fake for trying to hide my real self. Or that I am vain.

I have to keep telling myself to relax. I am a real person, my nails do not define me. If my nails are fake, or bitten, I am still a good person. I deserve to have nice looking hands.

I just want nail polish. Pretty nail polish. That’s not much to ask. Now I have to go work on my self esteem issues, pity you can’t go to the self-esteem salon and get a much-improved model.

So, I need your help. Do you get fake nails? If so, what ones do I get – acrylic or gel? And my biggest dilemma – do I get black or red nail polish or French tips? Or is there another colour that is So.Hot.Right.Now?