When My Mom Tries to Make Sure I'm Not Biting My Nails
By: Asya Fields
When my mom tries to make sure I’m not biting my nails, she evaluates my mental health. Taking note of all the names transmitted over phone calls within the past month. Her sentences fill with just make sure’s and as long as’s. As if addiction is easier to swallow if I stopped enjoying the taste of fingers to teeth, As if gnawing away at my mistakes, hoping an even nail will even out my breath. As if my mind doesn’t re-play my anxieties in HD. As if you are ashamed of anxiety personifying the mommy daughter relationship you always prayed for.
When my mom tries to make sure I’m not biting my nails she tells me I’m still being watched. Her eyes are on the sparrow for the day I revert back to falling apart and taking a piece of myself with me. Every nail spelling out the IOU debited to myself. She tells me she recognizes I am on edge but doesn’t care if her words give me enough momentum to escape into the air thinking “and like a bird so shall I be!” She forgets my cravings for a sweet release, that with death comes ease and chasing the monkey on my back is a familial disease.
When my mom tries to make sure I’m not biting my nails she tells me she cares more about my addictions ability to become visible and not my visibility.
When my mom tries to make sure I’m not biting my nails I hear “this habit makes you unworthy,” “pretty girls don’t bite their nails,” “I’ve never seen an eight year old with migraines.” Well, I’ve never seen peace. I’ve never heard silence, and I can tell you’ve never felt the satisfying release of teeth cutting through bone mimicking iron sharpening iron. Mimicking desire meeting impulse. Mimicking having better habits than the ones I hide. Mimicking when did you start caring about how my body is treated? And it’s good for me.
When my mom tries to make sure I’m not biting my nails I know she is concerned. Her tone shifts from “I love me some (insert ex’s name)” to “what that boy did?” Bringing with it her disguised creole tongue spiced with bitter disregard for my lack of self control. Searching through the endless list of bodies I submerged with and past parental platitudes she plans to never make peace with. She hopes to find someone to blame. She measures their length with my mental health. Thinking the longer the greater the forgiveness the closer to happiness father from sadness, the better the passiveness used to evaluate if she deserves a thumbs up. It’s a reminder that my body was taken from me the moment I came out of another. This will forever be the gauge of her success. Our purest bond for her to affirm that yes, “she knows what she raised.” The longer the nails the sharper the image she gave me at birth becomes.
When my mom tries to make sure I’m not biting my nails she forces her hand to the replay button. Inspiring the lustful approach of hand to mouth like two virgins laying in love. I yell "I will take back this body of mine even if it hurts!" I push away her measuring stick, freeing my nail bed. Tasting dirt and grime and I am disgusted and i remember I am unworthy and I know I don’t want to be worthy. But mom can you tell me I’m worthy?
Good parenting is making sure I’m not biting my nails.