Chipping Away

Inspired by…

1. The current status of my nails. The polish I used couldn’t hang.

2. One time during my freshman year of high school, when a teacher of mine was passing out tests, saw the chipped nail polish on my fingers, and asked if I was making a statement. I wasn’t back then. But now I am.


She probably formed the habit because she was so used to being picked on herself.

There she lay, staring at her fingertips, peering to get a closer look. The sparkly blue nail polish had held up for several days. All except one giant empty space on her thumb where the nail polish had disappeared, leaving a piece of her nail naked. And that’s when the search began.

In good lighting, it was easy for her to see where the polish could be removed. She’d become an expert at spotting those hairline cracks in the glossy film, then using her fingernails to chip away at the polish that was there. It didn’t matter that the entire nail looked perfect; she knew there was a place where the polish had separated from the nail, whether by water or heat or wear-and-tear. The dry, cracked polish would curve upward in front of her forceful fingernail on the opposite hand, revealing the plain pink nail, leaving an odd shape behind.

One could compare it to how her classmates chipped away at her. They knew that, despite the genuineness of her soul, there were things that she was insecure about. Her insecurities could have remained hidden, just like the cracks in the nail polish could have. But just as she knew how to find those imperfections one her nails in the light, and how to get under that polish, so did her “friend” know what her uncertainties were, and how to get under her skin, and make those insecurities noticeable. Only because she confided in this “friend,” trusted that she’d use those vulnerabilities to better understand how to build her up.

Instead, the “friend” shattered her; chipped away at her like it was nothing.

And with every chip she created on her nails, she fell deeper into thought about how her so-called “friend” and classmates would chip away at her…

Your hair is so frizzy! Is that the best your straightener could do? Why don’t you just relax it?

Why do you wear your skirt so high?

You should get contacts instead of glasses, you look prettier without glasses.

*chip, chip, chip*…

Until the state of her fingertips reflected that of her self-esteem. Messed up. Torn up. Pulled back. Incomplete.


Pieces of polish missing, creating empty spaces, forming terrible patterns upon her nail bed, as she sat in bed, tears streaming down her face. These terrible patterns could be seen in her life as she took the verbal abuse, and tried to become verbally abusive in defense. Her failed attempts only made them chip at her more.

If she couldn’t pick on anyone else, she would settle for chipping away at something that was a part of her. Here the habit began.

The shimmering blue polish chips scattered throughout her bed sheet. The pieces of her pride and dignity disappeared as each word hurled at her, echoed through her mind. Her chipping away at her nails became more violent, as she reminisced on the more hurtful things that were said. And as she looked upon her work, she saw herself. She knew it was unhealthy to forcefully pry the paint from her nails, just like it was unhealthy to dwell on the criticisms that had painted her self-portrait, and had become the only thing she could see in the mirror. A shattered canvas of a girl.

Little did she know that despite the chipping, she’d already been perfectly chiseled; created in an Image so wonderful, no one could comprehend.

She believed her likeness to be lacking, unworthy. Yet she was something to be treasured, and valued. Someone to be loved. One of a kind.




❤ Mishy

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