an unavoidable habit

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The stereotypical bad habit for people is obviously biting fingernails. Some people play with their hair, others bite their skin, or even pick their at their cuticles. Even though many people in fact do crack their knuckles, sometimes I think they don’t realize when and why they do it.

While scouring the web for writing prompts, and progressively obtaining writers block, I cracked my fingers, neck, and back. I came to the conclusion that I was becoming stressed. Wow. Thirteen and already stressed. I quickly checked my mirror for frown lines. At least I don’t have those yet, I thought as I crunched my toes on the floor. As I heard the crackle of my toes, I came to realize that cracking my knuckles is like squeezing a stress ball. It relieves all the tension in my tightly packed days, and I thought of three different reasons for cracking my knuckles:

1. Fatigue

After seven-hour school days full of test-taking, quizzes, and extremely irritating teachers, I resort to the apparently “bad habit”.

Following my collapse into bed after long days consisting of student council, show choir, school, math team, science team, theatrics practice, homework, and volleyball, I find myself cracking every single knuckle down to my nose. The popping sound calms me down and even gives me comfort.

2. Agitation

When teens are annoyed by their parent or any other irritable situation, they come off as indignant to the people who surround them. In some occasions, they’ll scream into a pillow, give everyone the silent treatment, or space out on their smart phones. As for my parents, they’ll make me listen to their annoyance, take away my phone, and tell me that if I don’t talk they’ll detract any social network that I have.

In these situations, I grit my braces-clad teeth and go back to The Habit. It helps me think about other things without wrecking my nail beds or yanking out my hair. This allegedly arthritis-causing habit calms me down when I am most worked up.

3. Anxiety

This past October, I took the entrance exam for my local public high school which I will be attending next year. My local high school is an exceptionally broad school, and over 1000 kids were testing that day. In the same field house. While finding my seat, I spotted some last-minute crammers. I was nervous. My mom had told me not to worry, that I was a smart girl. she said even though there will always be smarter people than you no matter where you are, and to be content and know that you did your best.

Getting out my Number 2 pencils, I started The Habit. During the test (particularly during the science section), my brain was starting to hurt, and my hands ached from my tight grip to the wooden pencil. POP POP POP. My knuckles were loud in the silent room. Heads turned and I shhepishly cowered my head back to my exam.

__________

I’ve tried many times to stop my habit, but so far none have worked. Sometimes when adults warn me that I’ll get arthritis, I just tell them that I’m popping air between my joints.

A few weeks ago, I tried researching tactics of how to stop. So, I tested this website’s theory. I stopped cracking my knuckles for a minute, than fifteen minutes, thirty, an hour. Yet, I noticed the more I counted the minutes of how long I could go without cracking, the more I wanted to crack them. Typically, I’m not he quitter type. Except his time.

New Year’s Resolutions:

–spend more time with friends

–expand vocabulary

stop cracking knuckles

–find my hidden culinary gift

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