The other night I was feeling anxious and lapsed into an old habit I’ve had since childhood, biting my nails. Even though they were gel hard, I somehow managed overnight to take two almighty chunks out of my nails, and pulled the skin off one of my fingers. I was due for another manicure anyway, so I went today and asked the girl if she could put tips on the two I managed to destroy. She cooperated wonderfully until she started sanding back my broken nails and one of them started to bleed where I’d bitten down to the skin. As soon as I saw the blood on the emery board I freaked out. She stopped for a second sensing my reaction. All I could instantly think about was how many other peoples blood was on this emery board. Sitting with this discomfort made me feel physically sick and shaky. HIV, HEPATITIS, HIV, HEPATITIS kept blaring in my head in that “Dental Plan, Lisa Needs Braces” kind of way. I pulled my hand away briefly and thought about just apologizing and paying her for her time, but by this time, I already had two bloody stupid claws on my fingers that made me look like a straight girl who is gay for pay in a porno. Like an angry cat about to lash out. So I closed my eyes and told her to continue. I was sweating and feeling obscenely tired. When I get overly anxious, it’s almost like I have some sort of narcolepsy that takes over. It’s like my whole body shuts down. But it was too late now. What’s the point in stopping now if I’m contaminated? If I was going to die from whatever contamination was on the emery board, at least I’d go with my fingers looking pretty. I’d safely consider that my Exposure and Response Prevention exercise for the day.