The discomfort of a bad writing habit [on show]

I have a bad habit that is quite literally causing me some pain at the moment. If I am working in front of the computer, while my nails get bitten a little, the skin around them really suffers. Currently my finger tips are a little sore and I am aware of this each time they touch the keys.IMG_1537

However, the pain is not enough to make me reconsider typing a word and so it probably would not bother me except I am embarrassed that everybody can see that I do it.

Why am I embarrassed? Putting my fingers in my mouth is probably not the best infection control measure, but it is not such an issue because I do not do it so much when I am in the world beyond my keyboard. I am pretty sure Freud assigned a clear developmental stage to anything oral, but he is hardly a figure I refer to in making decisions regarding what sort of person I am happy being perceived as. Maybe I should just toughen up (if I cannot quit the bad habit)? What is the harm?

Is it really that public anyway? I could start by just not writing a blog post about it. Yet, I feel, my finger tip mutilating ways are completely on show when I am in public. Hands are not treated as a particularly ‘private’ part of the body in the circles I find myself in, and so my hands are on show in a way that much of the rest of my body is not.

Of course, it is not just the parts of our bodies that are not otherwise adorned that are on show, but the coverings and modifications themselves are also part of what is visible when out and about. I know the way I dress shapes my interactions with people. Some current trends in hipster fashion along with a few years of a lack of investment in sewing and scouring op-shops have helped me look more like someone who maybe just did not quite pay enough attention to detail but is not altogether out of place at a university of in inner-city Australia (rather than a slow collector of stuff I like – which has probably always been over-influenced by my captivation with the Australian gold rush aesthetic and the ‘Little House’ books as a young child – with shifts in choices of hemlines, sleeves and fabrics reluctantly moving with my assessment of practicality given the transport modes, site of employment and climate I find myself encountering more or less frequently at the time). This is useful when strategically selecting something from my possessions to wear to a job interview or to be taken seriously by staff when visiting someone in hospital. It also spills out into other areas of my life. While such things are nearly impossible to quantify, I am quite sure I get more attentive service most places and find myself in more conversations [beyond the being asked for directions kind] with strangers. Instead of ‘Yeah man! Save the whales!’ being yelled a me out of a moving car, cycling yesterday I was told to ‘Buy a car and use it.’ (I could have misheard, so perhaps this discloses more about me than the perceptions of others. However, I completely understand what people who yell out of moving cars are communicating: I should be grateful I do not have to engage in a conversation with them and they are not to be taken seriously.)

Am I worried that my chewed on fingers will stop me being taken seriously when it matters? Do I have any right for my biting-when-writing habit to be private?

Perhaps I could invest in some dress gloves for those situations I just do not want to have my finger mutilating ways on show? How seriously would you take someone who rocked up to a meeting in cotton gloves? Then again, if I did not want to be seen as perpetuating ridiculously sexist standards of dress, I guess I would have to remove the gloves before shaking anybody’s hand and that would just draw more attention to my bad habits.

[I do not think my fingers were further damaged in the processes of writing this blog post. However, as it was a lazy bit of evening writing over a beer, this strategy is unlikely to be a productive one for achieving writing outcomes without finger damage.]



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