I have never been one to turn down a challenge. My pride is important to me and I consider myself to be a tough girl. I wasn’t about to let them question my bravery.
I was 27 years old and finally going to get my ears pierced.
Growing up, I wasn’t one of those girls who felt the need to wear earrings. It wasn’t like I purposely didn’t get my ears pierced as a youngster, I just never really thought much about it. I wasn’t against the idea. My mom wasn’t against it either. In fact, from about the age of 4, she’d tried many times to get me to do it. She’d always loved earrings and jewelry... But for whatever reason, she had two daughters who just weren’t into that sort of thing.
In my generation, it was almost inconceivable. Earrings were a given for a girl my age. I received them as gifts countless times from people just assuming that I could wear them. Even my ex-husband gave me earrings for Christmas one year, trying to encourage me to get my ears pierced to make giving me gifts that much easier for him.
I will admit to being afraid of the pain as a kid. As an adult, it just seemed like a hassle and an expense I didn’t need. I have always been rather frugal. Earrings just seemed like another luxury that would cost me money I didn't have. I couldn’t even buy shoes for myself, why would I want to add yet another accessory that I couldn’t afford?
It was a matter of practicality. It wasn’t that I was afraid of sticking in a needle through my ear. Despite what my friends thought, it really wasn’t.
Okay, so maybe I was a little scared.
Needles don’t really bother me but the idea of punching a hole through my flesh sent a few shivers down my spine. I considered it an unnecessary procedure and was content being considered a freak amongst the girls in my group. I called myself the anti-rebel. My skin was never pierced, never tattooed... Even though I hung out with people who always had plenty of holes in their body and art sketched upon their skin. I admired that sort of thing, even briefly considered it from time to time. As a teen, I used to beg my mom to let me pierce my tongue. She would just laugh at me and ask why I thought I could handle sticking a needle through my tongue when I couldn’t even pierce my ears? She had a point. I never did get my tongue pierced.
My friends finally managed to bully and badger me into getting my ears pierced though. We were in Chicago, and my cousin has always been a fan of piercings.
"Why don’t you get your ears pierced? Are you afraid?” Amanda smirked at me, knowing I would never admit my fear or let anyone think such things of me.
"Of course not. I just never got around to actually doing it...”
I tried to brush it off quickly and move along with the conversation. She had asked me countless times and I always told her that I would someday.
"Well there’s a Claire’s over there. Why don’t we go and do it now?” She pointed across the way to the pre-teen paradise.
"Claire’s? Really? You’re kidding me...” I rolled my eyes and started moving away from the store as quickly as possible, hoping that she really was kidding me. Claire's? That's where 8 year old girls shop for Hello Kitty hair bows. It didn't seem like a place for a grown woman to get her ears pierced.
"Why not? Are you a chicken?” Her smirk got even wider, knowing that those were fighting words.
Within minutes I was strapped down into the chair with a teddy bear in my lap. Okay, maybe I wasn’t really strapped down or held into place, but I might as well have been. My friends were not going to let me leave that chair until I was pierced.
The girl working there looked to be a decade younger than myself. She tried to make me feel better by saying that I wasn’t the oldest client she had seen... But when I asked her if they were my age coming in for their very first piercing?
"Umm well no...”
A crowd formed around me, people lined up and giggled at the grown woman who was terrified as she got her ears pierced for the first time. I almost expected applause once the deed was done. There was a little girl waiting in line behind me, getting her second piercing in each ear. She looked to be about 6 years old.
Way to be a chicken, Kristen.
Regardless of being scared, I went through with it. It really wasn’t that bad at all. However, several months later I took the earrings out one night and they were closed by morning. I've considered getting it done again so I could wear all those cute earrings I've gotten as gifts throughout the years...
But I somehow doubt I will. I did it once to prove that I could. That’s all that matters, right?
(For the visually or hearing impaired, this is the video they took of me getting my ears pierced. You see my friends, Joey and Amanda, talking me through it. You hear my ex in the background as well. It's sideways because it was filmed from his phone. Basically it's just me trying to act all cool and calm as I get it done, the whole time holding a teddy bear in my lap.)