The End of an Era

I’ve worn a nose ring for more than 20 years. I stuck a sharpened earring through my left nostril way back in the old punk rock days and I’ve worn the same tiny steel ring for more than half those years. I’ve pierced many other parts of my body since then and eventually tired of the jewelry. I’ve even stopped wearing earrings in any of the six holes in my ears. But for some reason, I was weirdly sentimental about that nose ring.

I refused to take it out for photo shoots. I refused to take it out for my dental surgery. It’s been with me so long I don’t even really see it anymore. It’s so small and subtle that people have known me for years and never noticed it. But it’s always been there. Longer than any hair color, longer than any apartment, longer than any relationship.

Today I went in for an MRI to check out a minor ear problem I’ve been having. When I scheduled the appointment, they asked me to have an empty stomach and to remove all jewelry. At first I had my usual pouty little snit about it, but while I was washing my face last night, I suddenly realized that I was okay with removing my nose ring. Now that the strange, noisy procedure is over, I have no desire to put it back in.

I’m moving into a new era of my life. I’m not a kid anymore. A lot of people, especially women, panic at the thought of letting go of youth, but I’m surprised to find that I’m okay with it. I’m a far better writer now than I was back when I was the culturally approved age of hotness. I like to think that I’ll be even better 20 years from now. To tell the truth, I enjoy being a grown up.

I’m not saying that having a nose ring is immature. In fact, I remember my Indian dental hygienist complaining to me that her mother was pushing her to get her nose pierced for her wedding. There are people far older and wiser than me who have every piercing in the book and then some. This is something much more personal. For me, it’s about letting go of the past and moving forward into the future.

Change is good.

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