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Why I had my navel pierced today

I think most people, strangers, family and friends alike, would be surprised to know I have a piercing (not that I would tell them!). I come across as unique and a little different, to be sure, but to give you an idea, my style and demeanour have been likened to that of Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore. Apparently I'm "ladylike", though this was a surprise to me the first time I heard it!

In high school some of my friends got their belly buttons pierced but I had zero desire to have mine done then. I generally shy away from fads or crazes – doing something because everyone else is doing it has never been a motivation for me. My mother wouldn't let me get my ears pierced until I was thirteen. After looking forward to the event for so long, the right earlobe refused to heal. Following many attempts I've virtually given up on wearing earrings – the right lobe has never accepted jewellery - though following the tips in Angel's book (discussed below) may change this.

The reason I had the navel piercing done today was because, having struggled with an eating disorder for nearly five years, I recently made some significant changes in my life and now feel closer to recovery than I ever have before. I wanted a visible sign of this, but wasn't comfortable with the permanency (and spiritual significance) of a tattoo. While I initially wanted the piercing to be done on 11 October 2009, the first day after my last binge, this was not to be. I now see that getting it today, after having attained over a week of abstinence - the first in a long time - marks two landmarks instead of one.

Initially I chose a navel piercing because I didn't want my piercing to be visible to anyone besides myself (and any potential partner: I don't wear bikinis). Of the 'below the neck' options, to me it was/is the most beautiful. I have been complimented on my stomach and navel in the past, and found the idea of augmenting this area of my body (for myself and my partner) very appealing. Only now, after the event, do I see the deeper meaning of getting a piercing in my stomach area: the focal point of my anxiety disorder.

I did some research into the different piercings, their recovery periods and rejection rates. The fact that a navel piercing requires so much attention and may take a long time to heal actually encouraged me to choose it: I want to be constantly reminded of the fragility of my abstinence and the pain my eating disorder has caused me. Continual cleansing will help me remember that I have an incurable disease which can, however, be arrested, one day at a time.

I chose Tattoo Styles because it appeared to be the most recommended tattoo and piercing studio in Johannesburg. I went alone, because as mentioned I didn't want anyone else to know. The pain wasn't immaterial but neither was it that bad. Myles was pretty blasé and efficient about the whole thing. I was surprised at how quick the process was, and yes I felt the rush afterwards! A part of me wanted (and still wants) to show it to other people, but the greater part likes the idea of it as a secret shown to only a few, like some other parts of my body.

If I had had more than the ninety minutes that remained before an appointment across town I would've immediately sat down at a coffee place and written about my experience. I did, however, make the time to buy "The Piercing Bible" for aftercare reference, since the past failed earlobe piercing and my sensitive skin made me aware that there could be problems if I don't look after it properly. I'd previously read extracts of the book on the net and in a bookstore and was impressed by the author's knowledge and professionalism.

I left the mall and set my GPS to the address of my appointment (don't mock: I'm not originally from Gauteng!). It took me across town quicker than expected, so I did have time for that coffee in the end. Sitting alone, reading the book I did feel different. Same, but different, a feeling I'm sure all piercees can identify with.

Something I read in favour of getting a tattoo/piercing asked the question, "When last did you do something out of character?" I like the idea that I've done something which (on the surface) may appear "out of character". It feels like I now have a connection to a number of subcultures that I never felt an affinity with before. That, for me, is spiritual growth.

I love my piercing and feel truly blessed to be alive.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 02 Nov. 2009
in Navel Piercing

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Artist: Myles
Studio: Tattoo+Styles
Location: Eastgate+Mall

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