Dear belly ring,
I’m breaking up with you. I’m sorry. It’s been a good run. Twelve years to be exact.
I’ll always remember the day we met. I was 16 years old. Belly rings were all the rage.
My friends had all gotten their navels penetrated by tiny metal rods adorned with colorful crystals, and I wanted the same. Being a plain Jane myself, the idea of a body piercing was enticing and edgy. Would getting my belly button pierced bring all the boys to the yard? Probably not, but I was hopeful.
I wasn’t sure how my mom would react when I asked her if I could have my abdomen stabbed with a shiny trinket. Surprisingly, she agreed it was a good idea.
She was even excited. The conversation went something like this …
“Mom, I was wondering if for my birthday present this year I can get my belly button pierced … ”
“Sure, sweetie! We can make it a girls' day, and I’ll get mine done, too!”
She opened the phone book and found the number for the local tattoo parlor. I stood there, mouth agape, and watched as she dialed.
“Hello, I’d like to make an appointment for my daughter and I to get our belly buttons pierced. Do you have anything available this Saturday? Great!’
She gave the person our names, hung up, and turned to me and smiled. Was she drunk while making this posthaste decision? Most likely.
All I cared about was that she said yes, and I was sure my coolness factor would rise 40% at school on Monday.
Saturday came and we arrived at the tattoo parlor. We entered the piercing room, and I wasn’t prepared for how nervous I’d be.
The piercer suggested maybe my mom should go first so then I could see that it was no big deal. I agreed.
He mentioned how cool it was that my mom was also getting her belly button deflowered. He said he didn’t see many people get piercings with their parents, but one time an older gentleman came in wanting to get a Prince Albert and his daughter sat next to him and held his hand.
I watched as my mother had her belly button clamped and then a giant needle pushed through the skin. The needle was then replaced with a barbell. Done.
“See? That wasn’t so bad.” she assured me.
She then sat up and HER BELLY BUTTON BECAME THE ELEVATOR FROM THE SHINING. A little bit of blood trickled, followed by even more blood streaming down her abdomen.
“Did you drink alcohol last night, ma'am?” the piercer asked.
“Well, yes. And this morning, too. Do you think it thinned my blood?”
The piercer gave her a stern look and handed her more gauze.
“Just keep dabbing the blood. It will stop soon. In the future please read the forms you signed up at the desk which clearly state you should not drink alcohol 24 hours before getting piercings or tattoos,” he said with an eye roll.
He then turned to me. “Well, it’s your turn!”
I became lightheaded. I had just seen my mother’s belly button menstruate before my very eyes, and I was now even more frightened than before. I laid on the table and took deep breaths. I felt a pinch and a quick prick. “All done!”
What? That was it? It was easier than a flu shot. I sat up and admired you, belly ring. You were my new treasure troll accessory. I rubbed you and made a wish that I would now look more like Britney Spears.
Elated, I beamed as I stood up. The room got fuzzy, everything got blurry and I fell. I had fainted.
When I woke up, I was told that it’s common for people to faint after getting piercings or tattoos. My mom shoved a Sierra Mist down my throat as I gathered myself.
We finally paid and left. Even though my mother was batshit crazy at times, we bonded that day. We also bonded over the next few weeks as we both soaked our piercings in Epsom salt and walked around the house with our jeans unbuttoned.
I was so proud to have you in my life, belly ring, and I showed you off every chance I could.
We’ve shared so many memories. Hook-ups, break-ups, sunburn, and you were even there during my wedding day and honeymoon. So it’s not that this decision is easy for me. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
The thing is, belly ring, it’s not you. Okay actually it IS mostly you. It’s not 2002 anymore. I can no longer pull off a midriff with any amount of class. The only time anyone ever gets to actually see you is when I wear a bikini. We both know I hate the beach, so the rarity of a belly ring sighting is like spotting the Loch Ness monster at a strip club. Never going to happen.
I’ve tried to ditch you in the past. You’ve gotten snagged on my pants so many times I’ve called you a fucker more than I care to admit.
But then I am always reminded of our beginning. The insane trip to the tattoo parlor with my now deceased mother. Having you attached to my belly is like having a tiny part of her still holding on. I know it sounds strange, but that’s just how it is.
I think I’m now okay with letting go. I’ll still have our story. And now I’ll have this blog post to reflect back on that time we met, and my mother was so excited to get to do something cool and fun with her daughter.
Perhaps I’ll carry on the tradition one day if I ever have a daughter. But for now, it’s time for me to move on.
You will be missed but not forgotten.
PS: Who am I kidding? I’ll probably relapse and impale you back into my stomach hole tonight.
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