Thursday, April 11, 2013

The time I got my nose pierced

Lana with new jewelry
**This post is going to be a bit more on the personal side, so if you come here for the pretty photos of places we’ve visited, you can skip on. We’ll have something for you soon. Also if you're my mother, you might want to skip this one.**

So yeah, I got my nose pierced in Singapore. I guess the traditional thing to do is get a tattoo, if you’re a sailor.  But since I’m not a sailor, I went a different direction.



I know what you’re probably thinking: what happens when you get a cold? This is the question everyone asks. But trust me, I got a cold (unsurprising given how much your finger is up your nose when you first pierce it) and it isn’t that big of a deal.  Blowing my nose hurt a bit more because it was new, but that's about it.

Why now?  I’ve always kind of wanted one, but at a certain point I felt too old (mid-30s), too entrenched in a job in the legal field, and too settled to do something like pierce my nose.  But then we went and quit our jobs, rented out our house, and started traveling the world. And suddenly there didn’t seem to be anything too old, entrenched or settled about my life anymore. When you strip away almost every part of your daily life and start thinking about what it is you want, what you really, really want, then the oddest things happen.  Believe it or not, one of the first thoughts I had once we knew we were really, truly going to do this was a small little one that said, “You could pierce your nose.”  

I contemplated it when we were still in the States on our road trip, but I knew I’d be seeing my mom again before we left the country, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I could face her.  Then I thought about doing it in South America, but there had been a chance we’d see her at Christmas, and I just didn’t want to have to explain. Plus we were in San Diego for four days or so, and there just wasn’t time for that errand. 

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I don’t think David really thought I would do it. I would bring it up jokingly in South America, and in New Zealand and Australia when we’d pass a tattoo/piercing studio.  But I think he thought it was just one of those out-of-character jokes. 

So then we were in New Zealand and Australia, which would have been a perfect time, but honestly I was so overwrought and rung out by Australia that I was fighting to survive that experience. Don’t get me wrong—Australia was an amazing time, but it wrecked our budget and stripped me of all my control. I couldn’t find a way to make things cost less than they did, and it was really, really hard for me. I cried a lot. Poor David. 
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But something happened when we got to Bali.  Maybe it was because I stopped fighting against the issues that inevitably come up and began to really accept that everything was going to unfold how it was going to, whether I liked it or not.  Or maybe it was just that a beer no longer cost $12. Either way, I didn’t really feel changed by this trip on a deeper level until we got to Bali. When we got there something in me exhaled--my soul, our dwindling bank account, my inner control freak—something like that. I had gotten over the hump somehow.  And that seemed worth acknowledging. I deserved to reward the changes I was embracing with a little bling.
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But I was still a bit nervous about hygiene in Bali, so I thought I’d wait until our next stop. Singapore is the land of no gum chewing, so I figured it was my best bet for a sanitary piercing experience in Asia.

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When we got to Singapore I did some online research about the best place to go to get a piercing, and then I went and did it.  I went to Exotic Tattoo, which was located in the Far East shopping mall (of course it was in a shopping mall—everything in Singapore is in a shopping mall).

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She made her mark, and had me check it twice.
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That’s Mary—she was my piercer and she was nice, very friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, and awesome. 
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And just like that, it was over.  It actually wasn’t a big deal physically, it took all of about 10 minutes between when I picked out what I wanted and when we were walking out with another hole in my head. I think it startled David because it was over almost before he could get his camera out to document. She sat me down and asked me to start breathing in and out through my mouth, both as a calming exercise and so I didn’t inhale through my nose and jerk my head back while she was running the needle through. I wasn't particularly nervous, but it couldn't hurt.

She asked which side, swabbed it, marked it, had me check it, stuck a tube up my nose (still breathing through the mouth), and boom, the needle was through.  For some reason at that point she stuck a cork on the sharp end of the needle (bringing sexy back, right there in that photo) and then she grabbed the nose stud (which is curved to fit my nostril on the backside) pulled the needle out and screwed the stud in place. Boom—done. It hurt less that having blood drawn. 
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Like any time I’ve changed my outward appearance, I thought I might look different, but I’m still the same old me. I didn’t sprout dreadlocks or suddenly become exotic. I still look like a milkmaid without the pigtails, only now I have a stud in my nose.  The truth is I changed (A little. Maybe. We’ll see.) and the new bling is just an expression of that, and a physical memory of this trip.  Every time I look in the mirror, every time I blow my nose, I’ll remember this trip.  And that sometimes the best thing you can do is exhale. Through your mouth, just in case.

P.S.  For those of you who are wondering what my mom said when she finally did hear about it, there was an email.  The subject line of that email was my full name: Lana Lea Abernathy (she left off my married name, but who can blame her. You might too when you’re flummoxed by something your grown daughter has done).   And the contents read as follows (sorry Mom, it’s just that cute):
Lana Lea, what have you done? What will you do when you get a cold? I guess you could take it out when you need to wipe your nose every five minutes. You have really shocked me as I had no idea you were interested in a nose piercing. You look just as cute as ever though and i hope it heals well and quickly. I love you to pieces no matter what you do so enjoy, you have my blessings.  Love,  Mom
I think we can all agree I have an wonderful, amazing, understanding, sweet sweet mother.  I’m so very lucky to have her, and I love her to pieces.   Sorry I pierced my nose, Mamma. I love you!