Editing is exhausting – it’s the rewriting, the rethinking, blah, blah. Sometimes I just want to write how I feel, in real time. And not give a fuck about the reach of the reader or even if there’s an audience. So, I’m doing just that. There’s so much freedom in expressing yourself in real time – the first time without all the added fluff and bullshit.
Today, I took out my nipple piercings and my belly button piercings. To most, it’ll seem like a non-event. But for whatever reason, it made me quite emotional. I realized I sort of did it for attention – to be viewed as edgy, or a modern woman, to claim my body first and its display. I wanted to feel desired, unique, in control. It’s weird how symbolic I made a material item and pinch of the skin that took seconds.
My belly button piercing I got when I was 16. I was in and out of my Mamaiay’s custody at the time and trying to figure out the emancipated minor system. Long story short, it’s fucked. I never had a say in where I went or stayed. My belly button piercing was the only way I knew how to take back control of my body and feel a bit rebellious. I did it myself.
My nipple piercings I got in March before my 29th birthday, exactly one year after I was sexually assaulted. It took me weeks of physical therapy to retrain my pelvic floor before I could use the bathroom comfortably again. I was an emotional mess this month, my counselor said it’s because our bodies keep score. She said our bodies sense anniversaries of traumatic events and relives them. Ornating my body helped me feel like it was more mine. From the inside out I was working out daily with my trainer to become stronger. From the outside in I felt sexy and powerful when my nipple rings would poke through my shirts when I didn’t wear a bra. Something about a nipple ring makes men pause. I required thought.
I’m reading this book right now called “The Untethered Soul” and there’s a chapter that talks about thorns and how we as humans deal with pain. Instead of taking out the thorn, which is our source of pain, we just implement guard rails that reduce the risk of aggitating the thorn and reactiving the pain. We build better and better protective tools, we trick ourselves into thinking the pain is no longer there. I think that’s what I did, I tried to brush the pain aside with pretty little gems sewn into my flesh. Cheap temporary jewerly, for a cheap temporary solution.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt like my body was mine – I always felt friction and suspectible to unwanted dialogue, critique, or touch from society, family, lovers, church, friends. A constant tug and pull of do I want to be invisible or do I reclaim my body by intentionally being seen?