Archive for August 25th, 2011

Almost my entire life, I’ve had this terrible habit of biting my lower lip.  Biting and/or picking at it on a daily basis until it ultimately bleeds (slightly disgusting, I know).  I’m not sure why I do this and even worse, don’t even realize I’m chewing on my lip until my sister, parents, or friends I’m talking with call me out on it.  I’ve had this painful habit for as long as I can remember and have never been able to remedy it…coating my lips in gloss, lipstick, thick-ass lip balm – nothing works.

Then something strange happened in September of 2009.  Kelly and I left for our round-the-world trip and a couple of months into our journey, she said to me, ‘Hey I noticed that you haven’t really been picking your lip much since we’ve been on the road’.  When I thought about it, I realized I had actually not done it AT ALL since the day we hopped on that first plane to Costa Rica.  A huge accomplishment for me, but not one I truly thought I’d maintain…we’re talking about breaking a life-long habit here.  I chalked it up to the excitement of new adventures but figured after a few more terrifying bus rides in third world countries, I’d be back to unconsciously bloodying my lip in no time.

Months went by and I never really thought about it.  As our trip came to an end, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t been biting my lip THE ENTIRE ELEVEN MONTHS we had been traveling.  Amazing!  I felt I had kicked this nasty habit for good…and without even really trying to!!  Yay me!

Unfortunately, this didn’t last.  Literally the day I set foot back in the US, I started knawing on my lip again, not even realizing I was doing it until I tasted the blood in my mouth.  As much as I tried to be conscious of what I was doing and control my actions, I’d always end up messing with my lip again.  I’ve been home a year now and I’m still picking at it, as if that fantastic year of progress never even happened.  WTF?

I had never really considered that jacking up my lip on a regular basis was a quirky way for me to deal with stress – after all, I did it during other periods of my life when I felt stress-free.  Or was I stressed and just didn’t know I was?  Is there something about the daily grind and living a socially acceptable, ‘normal’ lifestyle that makes me anxious on a level that I’m not even aware of – and this anxiety manifests itself by making me tear at my lip on a daily basis?  What was it about traveling in foreign countries for a year that seemed to cure me?

I have no fricken clue, but it’s definitely worth pondering on an uneventful Wednesday evening.

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