Just for Me
Adding a Hole to My Body: A Mother's Perspective
At the ripe age of 16 I lied. I walked into a tattoo parlor where my friends had connections. I filled out my name and changed my birth year to match the age of eligibility. I sat in the chair, opened my mouth, and let a tattooed man named Spyder shove a giant rod through my tongue.
Asking permission from my mom was simple: I didn't. I simply drew a note for her of a mouth with its tongue hanging out, a giant barbell right where I determined mine would be and the words, "I am here."
This past week while I was wandering around the streets of New York I had an interview fall through which left me with a few hours of free time before I needed to catch my train to Philly. Like any mother of four, I instantly headed to the nearest tattoo parlor to get a few more rods shoved through body parts. I sent a picture to my daughter, who responded in text with, "I am very disappointed in you."
And then I laughed.
The nose piercing actually came about as a request of my husband, which makes sense when you look at how it is used in South Asia. In India women adorn their left nostril for their husbands when they are married, and they continue to wear the piercings daily. My Nepalese neighbor can attest to this tradition as well. Not only that, but I read how Ayurvedic medicine says it makes childbirth easier, that it was a sign of marriage, respect to the Hindu goddess of marriage, Parvati, and that widows often remove the piercings when their husbands have passed.
I started to view the piercing as more of a second wedding ring than a hole through my face.
I had originally been worried that people would view me differently with a hole on my face. Really, the holes in my ears don't attract much attention, and I am pretty good at concealing the tongue ring for all intents and purposes. Just this year someone I have known and worked closely with for seven years realized I had it done, and only then it was because she was talking to me sitting down while I hovered above her. Note to self: Don't hover.
With the prevalence of nose piercings, though, I'm not too worried about its effect in social settings. Besides, I never claimed to be normal, and I never claimed to want to be.
My kids were delighted when I returned home from my travels, eagerly counting all the "rings" I have now, which currently number nine. My eldest, despite her chiding text, said it was cute, and my husband is thrilled that after 7 years of his pleading I finally made the time to do it. And I? Well, I couldn't be happier.
Would you ever get a facial piercing?