Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hey Mama, What's That on Your Face?

When I was 21 years old, I got my nose pierced. I'd already had 2 holes in each ear as well as a cartilage piercing in one ear, but I wanted to try something a little more unique. I actually had three very specific reasons for getting this very special first non-ear piercing:

1. I wanted to learn to love my honking large nose.
2. I wanted to annoy my conservative and very judgmental in-laws when they came for a visit (mature, I know).
3. I have a terrible fear of needles and I wanted to face that fear on my own terms.

See mom and dad, a facial piercing was the perfect idea! But as individuals with piercings can often understand, one piercing tends to beget another. In my case, this was very true. After getting my nose pierced, I decided to get my belly button pierced. This led to nipple piercings (sorry mom and dad). This led to a monroe piercing. This led to getting my lip pierced. The nipple piercings didn't last long; they were a pain in the butt and my boobs were just too big. I don't think it would have gone over too well with breast feeding anyway. The next to go was my monroe, but only because I had a job interview and took all my piercings out for the interview and the monroe was the only one I didn't have the stomach to put back in. That ended up being pretty funny anyhow, because during the interview (which was for a career counseling position for marginalized youth) she hired me on the spot and then proceeded to say "you better put those things back in your face for the job, you'll get more respect from the kids." Years passed and the belly button, nose ring, and lip ring remained. I took the belly button ring out right when I found out I was pregnant (although apparently I could have just gotten a special belly button ring) and to this day I have my nose ring and lip ring.

The truth is, I rarely even think of my piercings anymore. Living in Vancouver, people barely bat an eye at them. In fact, most of the time I'm in a room full of people with more piercings and tattoos than I could ever imagine fitting onto one body. The only time I ever really "remember" I have them is when I leave the city; especially when I go visit my family in New Hampshire and people actually stare. I always assume I have a huge pimple or something on me, and then one of my sisters will remind me that people are just noticing the piercings.

My first experience with a child noticing my piercings was on the ferry a few Christmases ago. I was getting on as a foot passenger, and it was just after the holiday vacation so the ferry was packed with people returning home. The woman in front of me was holding a baby that was about seven or eight months old, and for a minute or two she put the baby on her shoulder facing behind her and looking right at me. The baby noticed my piercings, pointed her little finger right at them, and shouted "OH NOOOOOOO! OH NOOOOOOOO!" and started to scream hysterically. The child was terrified and the mom was embarrassed. It was pretty funny at the time, but the second I found out I was pregnant my mind went back to that moment; would my child be terrified of me!?

Was it finally time to let the piercings go? I gave this a lot of thought throughout my pregnancy. What would the midwives and nurses think of me? What would other parents think of me? What would other babies and kids think of me? In the end, it finally came down to the fact that I love these piercings and I wasn't going to give them up just because I was becoming a mother. You already give up so many things when you have a child; not that it necessarily makes you worse off, but much of your independence, lots of your freedom, and your teeny tiny waistline often shout "adios" when you accept that title of mother. My piercings have been apart of me for most of my adult life, and I wasn't eager to get rid of that part of me just yet. While I don't really think they are that unique anymore (they are a dime a dozen around these parts), they are a part of what make me who I am. I guess what I mean is, they are a recognizable feature of me that I'd feel sad to lose. So the piercings remained, and still remain to this day.

It's funny how often someone in a shop or play group will ask me about the piercings and how Aias reacts to them. In Whole Foods the other day a cashier told me how interesting he thinks the dichotomy between motherhood and body modification is, of course, I smile and nod at that sort of thing. The truth is, Aias doesn't react to them. Other than sometimes trying to sneak a poke at them when he's nursing, I think he's completely desensitized to body modification, at least on a human face. After all, I was the first person Aias ever really laid eyes on, and the face that looked back down at him was this pierced one. If anything, I can't help but wonder if Aias is confused about where everyone else's piercings are. After all, isn't my face supposed to be the prototypical motherly face to my child?

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  1. YES!

    Dani here from FB and LJ!

    I have my septum pierced ( not many know because I shove it up my nose ) and now I want a double nose ring...studs.

    I agree with you 100%.

  2. I want to see more! I can't see your WHOLE face!! : )

    Maybe I will just add you on Facebook! teehehe

    I know I already "spoke" with you today, but I am making my rounds and wanted to say thanks again for linking up on the Super STALKER Sunday! : )

  3. Cute Blog! I used to have my eyebrow pierced and experienced the same thing with a child once! Happy Wednesday! I would love for you to stop by and check out my blog as well! If you like it you can follow back! Thanks! Hope to blog with you again soon!

  4. Cute Blog! Happy Wednesday! I would love for you to stop by and check out my blog as well! If you like it you can follow back! Thanks! Hope to blog with you again soon!

  5. I chose to stay firmly and comfortably wrapped in my huge phobia of needles :-D

    Following back!


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