I’m not exactly a stranger to the idea of body art; every adult member of my close family has tattoos with the exception of my Aunt and Grandmother, and my mother took me to get my first tattoo as a right of passage for turning eighteen and graduating high school. I’ve got at least three more tattoos I’m planning on getting, and will probably end up wanting more after those. Tattooing was never thought of as a taboo in my family, and I always thought that as long as what I got was tasteful and had some meaning to me, I had no problem getting it. I didn’t want to be drunk and pointing at a template tattoo on the wall, but the idea of having actual art on my body was always appealing.
Piercings were a different story. I got my ear lobes pierced when I was three, and a second set of piercings in my ears, above the first, when I was sixteen. For awhile, that seemed to be the end of it. I don’t have the type of body that I’d want if I were to get a belly button piercing; my stomach isn’t exactly a point of pride. Besides, body piercing anywhere other than the ears was something that was always looked down on in my family. It wasn’t ever a question; I wasn’t supposed to have metal sticking out of my face.
Growing up and moving away from my small town, though, I saw a lot of people with a lot of different piercings. I started looking into it, and at the different kinds, and I thought they were really cool. More than that, I saw people I knew of every sort with facial piercings. Having them didn’t define anyone, it wasn’t just a “certain type” of person that got piercings. People with every style, from every place in life had some, and that was pretty comforting. Still, I knew I wasn’t ever going to be able to get one; it just wasn’t something I should do.
This semester, my mental health has been all over the place. But for the first time, I’ve had major highs and major productive spikes. I’ve wanted to better myself, wanted to take ownership of myself and start being what I want to be instead of what I think other people want of me. If they’re really people I want in my life, it shouldn’t matter to them if I dye my hair or pierce my face. They should still love me.
When that upswing started, I started really wanting a nose ring. It’s something I’d thought about before, but never let myself seriously consider. But now, I wanted to do it. I wanted to do it for me, to get it because I thought it was cute, because I was comfortable with it, not avoid it because I thought I had to fit into this ideal perfect box of what I should be.
So this afternoon, I went with my roommate and finally got it done! The piercer was really nice and friendly, and definitely helped me to relax. That was great, since I tend to get nervous in louder, male dominated tattoo studios. The actual piercing hardly hurt! It was much better than I was expecting, which is how the tattoo on my foot was too. I psyched myself out staring at the needle, so when it was actually being pierced, it wasn’t that bad at all.
As a bonus, the studio I went to, Pigment, in Uptown New Orleans, was right next to DAT DOG! So we went there for a late lunch before heading back to the apartment.
All in all, it was really great! I couldn’t be happier for how it turned out, and I definitely can’t wait for it to heal. I’m starting to really get to a comfortable place with how I look and how I view myself, and I’m really excited to have commemorated that with a new piercing!