Piercing My Illusions
I pierced my navel thirteen years ago when I was twenty-five years old.
I had just been dumped by my long-time boyfriend. I had cried off a good ten pounds of excess weight, was working out like a mad woman, and was in the best shape of my life.
It was a painful but exhilarating way of confirming my emancipation. “I am hot. I am fearless. I am embarking on the next chapter of my life.”
I removed my navel piercing almost three years ago when, almost six months into my pregnancy, I glanced down and realized that it had inexplicably migrated halfway around my back.
Apparently, that was my body’s way of saying, “You are not hot. You are a mom. You are embarking on the next chapter of your life.”
I pierced my nose six and a half years ago and walked down the aisle for my wedding sporting a beautiful emerald nose ring. I adored that nose ring and I was sad when two and a half years later, a minor infection necessitated its removal prior to an extended tour of south-east Asia.
Later that year we had a party for my thirty-fifth birthday. The day after, hungover and gripped with melancholy, I remember driving around teary-eyed searching for a place that would re-pierce my nose and, I imagined, restore my youth in one fell swoop.
I remember how humiliated I was when I finally found such a place and, short of cash, was sent home by a smirking teenaged hipster who didn’t take credit cards.
Only my ears are pierced today and sometimes I feel sad about that. I miss my piercings, the way they made me feel. I miss the little thrill I felt when I caught a glimpse of them in the mirror and I even miss the nervous anticipation and ultimately the pain that completed the commitment.
In retrospect, it was a good thing that my plastic was too bourgeois for the piercing place I found on my thirty-fifth birthday. I got pregnant with Graham just a few months later and pairing a nose piercing with a grabby baby/ toddler is beyond my imagining. I can’t tell you how often over the last few years I’ve physically winced just imagining what could have been.
But when I see fellow mommies with pierced noses, I am filled with a mixture of awe, envy and admiration. “I used to be a member of that club,” I want to tell them. And I will be a member again when I am certain there will be no more little hands around to make me regret my decision.
But I will never again pierce my navel. I don’t want to deal with the six months of recovery that I endured the first time and, as difficult as it is to accept sometimes, at thirty-eight years of age, with one pregnancy behind me and another hopefully in the future, that ship has long sailed.
And so I will forever have to live with the fact that it looks like this now.
Yes, that’s me in the picture and there’s a rather prominent hole at the top of my belly button. I’m aware that it’s not very attractive. It’s virtually certain that my navel would look better today if I had never, ever bothered piercing it in the first place.
But I don’t care.
My navel will never look like it did when I was twenty-five years old and years away from pregnancy and motherhood anyway, and I kinda like that ugly little hole: it reminds me of a time when I was a true diva—wild and free and happily deluded that my body was more decorative than functional.
Photo courtesy of Don Mills Diva