Why Do You Ask if I Was a Neurotic Kid?
Reader's Digest Canada|May 2021
DESPITE REASSURING FRIENDS and strangers that I had loving parents and a stable upbringing, I’m often asked if I was a neurotic kid. My immediate response is always “No! Why would you even think that?”
Cassie Barradas

After some reflection, though, there might have been some clues.

THEN: I CHEWED ALMOST EVERYTHING. I didn’t just chomp on my fingernails or pen lids—reliable choices, if a touch pedestrian. I bit whole hands off my baby dolls. I left bite marks at the foot of my wooden bunk bed. If it was pliable, my teeth chewed it. This lasted until puberty. Textbook self-soothing.

NOW: I throw out pen lids and have gum nearby at all times. My fingernails are still, um, “manually maintained.”

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