The Septum Piercing Litmus Test



How Things Change

When Georgia was younger, she wanted to get her nose pierced in THE. WORST.WAY.

She’s always had a unique sense of style and she leans toward the funky and fun stuff, in clothing and hair colors and everything else. So I’m not surprised that a nose piercing would appeal to her. But when she was about 13 or so, it became something of an obsession. She tried to make all sorts of deals and bargains with me, like helping around the house or maintaining perfect grades. Only she already got perfect grades and she could’ve solved world hunger and I probably wasn’t going to say yes. My answer was just flat out no. I told her that when she turned 18, she could do what you wanted, but until then, her body would be under my rules.

Georgia isn’t really one to give up easily, and the attempts at convincing me kept going through the years. I just kept saying no. I felt she was too young. I worried that she wouldn’t care for it properly. But mostly, I worried about the stigma it could attach to her and I felt she was already fighting an uphill battle with that. She was a kid being raised in poverty by a single mother, with no dad in sight. We attach stigmas for all sorts of reasons in this day and age but I felt that we were already vulnerable and I didn’t want anyone to exclude her from anything based on who they thought she might be. Now, this goes against everything I believe in, because we are not our clothes or our haircuts or our cars or our piercings. We aren’t defined by that really, but other people get to make up their own minds and definitions. I didn’t want any doors slamming shut on her because of an extra hole in her nose. Period. End of story. I don’t know how many times I explained it. A lot. I said it A LOT of times. So much that the whole thing was just plain annoying.

Then one afternoon when Georgia was about 15 she came into the house after spending the night at a friend’s house. Georgia just lurked by the doorway, blocked from my view in the next room. I called hello to her but she said ‘Um… Mom?”

She sounded scared, so I got scared. Did something happen at her friend’s house? Was she hurt? I asked her what was wrong and was taking my computer off my lap when she stepped into the living room and that’s when I saw her very red nose. I knew right away what she had done. And I totally lost my shit.

“TAKE IT OUT! TAKE IT OUT! TAKE IT OUT RIGHT NOW!” I yelled at her, all but slamming the computer onto the dog kennel and making a beeline toward her. I guess I scared her cause she kind of took off so it turned into something of a chase. I don’t know what my plan was, I was just wild crazy mad.

“Okay! Okay! I will.” She said as she ran from me towards the kitchen. “I just need to take a picture to send to Auntie Holly first.”

“THE FUCK YOU DO!” Like I said, I lost it. I was chasing her through the house screaming obscenities. This is the sign that you have lost it.

She had that thing out of her nose in 30 seconds, probably because she might’ve been afraid for her life. I stood outside the bathroom door and tried to keep my head from popping off of my shoulders from the pressure. In that short time, I found out that she and her friend Sarah did it in Sarah’s’ bathroom. But they were educated enough to sterilize the needle. Smart, right?

“Happy?” She asked, now with a hole instead of an earring in her nose. And now she’s mad. And crying. Lovely. Like I wasn’t clear that the answer about piercings was no? Jesus.

“No, I’m not even remotely happy. You’re grounded. More than grounded.  Go to your room and don’t come out until you’ve written me a 5 paragraph essay on flesh eating bacteria.”

She went up the stairs, the mumbling turning to yelling, her feet louder on the stairs the closer she got to the confines of her room.

It’s all funny now. 3 years ago, not at all. It took a while. Trauma with our children is like that. But I never heard another word about the piercing again, at least not asking for it again. It turned into a funny story when she was about 17.

Las month, Georgia turned 18. She was heading to Madison with a friend who was getting her belly button pierced and she asked me if I’d mind if she got her nose pierced. She told me they would go to the place on Willy Street by the coop and wondered if I was okay with it.

My how things change. Cause I said yes. She’s 18, she’s worked hard. She’s about to head to New York City to go to school for theater. She’s starting her own life. And you know what else?? She asked. She asked when she didn’t even have to. Which means she’s finally mature enough to have it.