In late 2021, on the heels of some kind of quasi-normalcy relative to the pandemic, we took a cruise aboard the Disney Dream. That ship, in some ways, almost feels like a second home, we've been on it so many times. There were still mask requirements in most inside places, but it was so good to be back.
An indulgence for me on cruises has been massages. I'm not going to pretend that there's some kind of deal, even when you book one for some departure special or whatever. But on that cruise, after being inside for so long and looking for variety, I thought, how about a pedicure instead? Especially given my habit of picking toenails until they bleed (gross). I guess I didn't even realize that was a habit, but in the moment, it was obvious.
So we scheduled pedicures. And since it was included in the price, you're goddam right I was going to get the nail polish. Black, for my inner goth. I'm a little ticklish on my feet, but I had to admit that I overall enjoyed the experience. I was surprised at the general positive appearance of my feet, especially given my age. If I exercise any kind of privilege, it's admittedly one that leverages the ability to feel taken care of.
About a month later, I remember I was sitting on the floor in Simon's room, and keep in mind that, because Florida, I rarely wear shoes or socks. Whatever we were doing, I picked a toenail on my "pretty" feet, and I realized, shit, I kind of un-did what I paid for. Because I'm so used to tucking a leg up wherever I'm sitting, and often picking a toenail, it was borderline involuntary.
I don't talk about habits or "stims" as they call them, because they're weird neuroatypical and not things you would talk about. But as I see Simon deal with things like picking skin, I realize that there's a large involuntary component to things like this. My own autism and ADHD diagnoses has given me permission to acknowledge similar behaviors.
After that cruise, a few months later, I didn't want to trim my toenails because I was worried that I would get back to pulling off nails to the point of bleeding. So I went to a local nail place, and for a fraction of the cost of the cruise pedicure, did it again. I've been doing it ever since (with one of those pedicures on a cruise). It's not so much the appearance of clean, taken-care-of hygiene, as much as it is a preventative measure against a bad habit.
I went again today, and my feet appear perfect. I'm not inclined to pick them.
It's odd, or maybe that isn't the right word, that you can find things that counter relative negative behaviours. It's another example of how, for people with ASD and ADHD, those things aren't always habits we can control. But we can, surprisingly, manage them or engage in behaviours that mitigate the problem.