My Navel Piercing
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It was the Thursday before Christmas and I was sick of Christmas shopping. In fact, I was pretty sick of everything. The cleaning, the shopping, the husband (Christ do I have to do everything for him!), the whole holiday thing was beginning to be a drag. What happened to the carefree young girl I used to be?
Well, right now, she had her 2 and 4 year old boys in the mini-van headed to the mall to buy another god-forsaken gift! Like hell! I still had an hour before I had to pick up my oldest son (6, in first grade). I was sitting at the light when I was overwhelmed with my desire to stop at Snakeman's, a very cool shop in Frederick County, Maryland.
I had always been a "fringe" personality, trying to make myself fit into this square little world where I lived. I am so upper-middle class, it makes even me a little sick. Mostly because in my heart, I am a free spirit, liberal, totally non-conformist who never really felt the rules are for me. Yet, having lived a wild teen/young adult life, I realized if I continued on that path, my wild days of being a free spirit might end in disaster. So, I did the normal thing...went back to college, got a real job, and met the safest, most conforming man ever. We got married, a few mortgages, kids, a dog...wait a minute...when, exactly, did I become this mature, responsible, adult. I needed a little reminder for myself of who I am, not who I was, or who I was becoming, but the person I am. The outward symbol of that, for me, was a piercing.
I thought I'd just go in to the shop and look around, maybe get someone a gift. But I think I had already made up my mind at that point. For many months, I had been considering it. At 36, I didn't feel very old (in fact, I still feel 19 most days). And I know I don't have a 19 year old body. I had given birth 3 times, I didn't have a model's belly. But I do have a trim, petite body and I exercise almost daily. This is the body of a mature woman and what the hell do I care what other people think of it. The more I thought about it, the more excited I got. Peircing my body was the ultimate self expression! This is me, I'm happy with who I am, and I'm glad I'm not you! Pretty strong stuff, but I was psyching myself up for a major alteration. I wanted to pierce my navel.
So, here I am, standing in a tattoo parlor with two of my kids. They're running around, touching all the leather and stop to stare at some guy who is COVERED with art. I remind them it isn't polite to stare. A young man in front of me asks if Ryan is in...he wants his other nipple pierced. We start talking...I ask if it hurt...he assures me probably not as much as having kids! The receptionist/saleslady sticks out her tongue and smiles at me. She's older like me and I have an instant sense of bonding with this woman. She tells me she's going to take that one out and get two more, so she'll have a triangle in her mouth. I can appreciate her desire to do this. I admire all the art around me and think I need ink, also. Maybe later. We talk a little more and she tells me that Ryan did her piercings and her sister's and daughter's. I get a really good vibe about this place.
Then Ryan comes out from the back of the shop! He's beautiful! He's young and everything that I can see is pierced. I take a minute and wonder what I'm missing...what's he got under those clothes? My kids are scared of him and stand behind me while we talk. I discover it hurts a little, all the equipment is sterile ( I can see it if I want) and that no one he knows of has died from infection. He thinks I'm nuts, but that's okay. I'm sure he's heard it all before. He takes the young man in the back to do his other nipple. As I talk with the lady at the counter, I realize I'm going to do this. I don't hear any screaming from the back. When the guy returns, he looks okay.
Will you do me? Wow, it's been a while since I've said THAT to a stranger! I pick out the jewelry, your basic silver ring, and we go to the back. My boys are quiet and look nervous. The 4 year old waits just outside the room. He's talking with a very tattooed man. The two year old stays put and watches. Ryan asks me to unbutton my jeans. No problem. He unzips them a little and tucks the top inside. So far, this feels really good! He makes a mark and hands me a mirror to see if it's a good spot. I think he put the clamp on at that point, but I'm not sure. I only remember the song that was playing "What if I fell 15 stories, what if my weight wasn't enough to kill me..." How appropriate! Then I sit in a chair which he reclines after I'm comfortable. He begins and it's okay...then OUCH! Damn! I remember very little about the moment of piercing, I usually go "inside" myself during stressful times, to relieve my anxiety. I am practicing my Lamaze breathing. He says he got the piercing okay, but can't get the ring through. We talk about it a few seconds, we agree it's not THAT painful and he should keep trying.
Then suddenly, it's over, I'm pierced. He placed a gauze pad over it and tells me to remove it later when I clean it. He gave me some instructions and I'm on my way. I can remember standing in the elementary school, picking up my oldest son, looking at the other mommies and thinking "I'm pierced and you're not." It was so funny! For a million dollars, not one of those people would guess I had done this.
My husband hated it at first. He honestly couldn't believe I'd done it and was angry and shocked. We had a discussion about it and I told him, it had nothing to do with him, the last time I checked this was still MY body. It has sort of grown on him, over the months. I think he sees me differently now. My kids are afraid of it. I love it! I love seeing it, knowing it's there. My friends are jealous and think it's stupid and juvenile. Funny, I don't remember asking their opinions. These are supposed to be my friends, supportive and helpful. A few of their husbands have asked to see it. I only let one, just for the shock value. He's so obnoxious most of the time, it was a pleasure to render him speechless for a change.
But I didn't get my navel pierced for anyone but me. It is a statement, a constant reminder of the state of mind I was in when I did it. This is my body which I love and I am marking the passing of time and the end of immaturity with a special something, a piercing.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 May 1999
in Navel Piercing