Piercings. I love them, I have them, I can’t keep them. Not many people know this, but at one point in my life I had seven piercings on my person. There were three in each ear and one over my belly-button. I’ve never been particularly skinny, so not many people ever saw the belly-button piercing, but it was there and I loved it.
I think piercings, when done artfully, are beautiful. I’m not saying I want my ears gauged large enough to stick a fist through or anything, but I’ve seen some people do beautiful things with their piercings. I once met a girl who’d woven silver wire through a bunch of holes in her ear and it was gorgeous. It can be a real art, in my opinion.
My parents consented to let me pierce my ears for the first time when I was 12, and I did my darndest to keep the piercings clean. I was plagued by miserable infections, but still I doggedly kept them in and cleaned them twice a day like I was supposed to. Eventually (as in four years later) they stopped hurting so dang much so I figured the time was ripe for another set of piercings. My best friend and I went in and got a second set of holes put in right above the ones we already had.
Those seemed to heal quicker, so I got a third set of earrings, these ones high up in my cartilege. I’ll never forget how they crunched when they were put in! I thought I was looking pretty cool with my piercings, and had always wanted to try a belly-button ring, so right after high school graduation I laid down on a table and watched as some random piercing person put a huge freaking needle through my stomach. Very weird, I must admit.
Now I was looking pretty cool, though not nearly hard-core. I merely looked like a girl who liked earrings. I loved my new look, and thought it was decidedly at ease with the person I thought I was my freshmen year of college.
Then the honeymoon ended. I started having a hard time sleeping, and I realized that it was because my cartilage piercings were painful to sleep on at night. I tried taking them out one night but, when I woke the next morning, found I couldn’t get them back in my ears. Trying to re-pierce cartilage at 6AM is so not worth the effort so I shambled off to work and bid a solemn farewell to one set of piercings.
Next to go was my belly-button ring. It started hurting. A lot. About five months after I got it I started feeling this terrible burning pain all the time, and I was never able to change the piercing without problems. It simply wasn’t healing, and to add weirdness to it, it also started migrating out. The reason, it turns out, is that my skin was rejecting it. My skin literally pushed my belly-button ring out, and I now have a fantastic scar there from the two months it took me to get what was going on. So, goodbye to that one as well.
I removed my second set of earrings for my wedding and forgot to put them in again after the honeymoon. When I finally remembered, the holes were long gone. Four years of healing, gone just like that after one week. I’m left with one measly set of piercings. How very tame.
The reason I bring all this up is that I tried to put earrings into my ears for church on Sunday. And couldn’t get them in. I had to re-pierce my ears for the millionth time, and it occurred to me that I will never have problem-free piercings. Ever. Do you know why? Because I’ve had these piercings since I was 12, which, in two weeks, will officially be half my life. If half my lifetime is not enough time for my ears to heal properly, they’re never going to do it until I’m 100 years old and my earlobes are situated somewhere around my ankles and the holes are large enough to use as football goalposts.
Do you have any idea what would have happened if I’d liked tattoos instead? I’d probably have started off with a pretty butterfly or something and ended up with some ugly sailor flipping me the bird.