Last weekend I decided to do something a little different.
I traveled with a group of friends to Beebe to receive new ear piercings, which was like eating candy to some, but for me, it may have been the craziest thing I’ve ever done.
I’m a play-it-safe, play-by-the-rules type of girl. I get anxious thinking about upsetting others, getting in trouble or disturbing those who might be around me. My mother was quite the opposite.
She was adventurous and was led by her curiosity. While she liked to explore abandoned buildings, I stood back, pleading her to leave. When she passed by a car accident on the highway, she parked and acted on her nurse instincts while I’d stay back and call the police. Looking back, maybe it was her lack of caution that made me hyperaware of danger, even unrealistically so.
Since my mother died in December, I’ve realized that I have a lot of living left, and I have not been making the most of every opportunity that lands in front of me. Along with the fact that I no longer have a mother to tell all my drama, to cry with or simply to listen to my insecurities and push me forward, the fact remains that my life will never be the same. This weekend, I felt like something else in my life needed to change, too.
I thought about dyeing my hair, trying to get fit or completely changing my wardrobe. But I liked my hair, working out is too hard and flipping a wardrobe is too expensive. So instead, I made an anxious trek to a tattoo shop to have a needle stuck through my cartilage.
Once we arrived, I remembered that I’m really not a fan of needles. I’ve never received a shot without my mother, and the thought of piercing pain (pun intended) unnerves me. Piercing my ears was never something I had the opportunity to think about. I was a baby when I was given my first set of earrings. For my second set, my mother saw an ear piercing sign on the jewelry counter at Walmart during a grocery run and suggested I let a random Walmart employee make a new hole in my ears. I thought she was kidding, but she wasn’t.
We used to sing a song at church camp, “Pierce My Ear.” It is based on a passage in Exodus that states that masters are to pierce the ears of their slaves after stating their commitment to them. The song is meant to represent our dedication as a servant to Christ, telling God that we are willing to be marked by him as forever disciples.
This idea of piercing one’s ear also signifies a complete change of life. It follows a declaration of a promise. You could say my new sparkly stud physically signifies the same for me: that my life is no longer the same. Even if I picked the smallest, hopefully least painful earring possible.
So on Saturday night, I lay on the piercing bed and held my best friend’s hand as Ms. Maeve clamped down my ear and pushed a needle through my once untouched skin. I squinted my eyes and, for a second, squeezed my mother’s hand as I proved to her that I am no longer the wimp I used to be.