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First it was my hair—I went from platinum to purple to pink

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Why I Wanted A Septum Piercing – Rediscovering Teenage Desires

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Courtesy of Porochista KhakpourIn my teenage years, I tried a lot of things and generally failed. One of those things was a septum piercing, or, as we called it, a “bull ring.” After weeks of secretly taking apart paper clips and shaping them into horseshoes to try out on my nose, I was ready to take the plunge, to go for the real deal. In the apartment of a friend of a friend, late one night after my shift at Urban Outfitters—still somewhat new and edgy in the mid-’90s—we put safety pins to lighter flame and tried to do it ourselves. Let’s just say it ended in an ER visit and no piercing. – Continue Reading BelowThe truth was that all through the ’90s, I really wanted a labret, the piercing that goes under your lip and above your chin, but that would have been hard to hide from the parents. At that point I’d had only an “ear project”—that diagonal barbell that extends from upper ear cartilage to lower lobe—and I was still many years from my first tattoo. My whole childhood, my father forbade conventional ear piercings, something that I immediately corrected in my first week of freedom, freshman year of college, when I walked into a Claire’s in the East Village and came out with two studs in both ears (I now have six in each). I knew I was on a delayed schedule when it came to such things fanclub-fulton-smith , that somehow I had to make late blooming—a product of a vigorously overprotected childhood—my thing in a more empowering way. I suppose a part of me is still not over it.Related: This Septum Piercing Is For You, MomOn a whim, last summer, as a 36-year-old woman, I walked into New York Adorned, the piercing studio where they’d removed my ear project nearly a decade ago—replacing it with sensible rose gold hoops after I’d complained about looking like a ” ’90s dinosaur”—and told the same piercer, Colby, that I wanted a septum ring. Like the me of nearly two decades before, I was drawn in part to the fact that it was a real piercing but also the most noncommittal: no visible scar, easily removable, somewhat subtle, symmetrical. But Colby reminded me that I could not take the thing out for two months. I did some calculations: It was early June, I was almost done with the book tour for my second novel, and the college classes I teach did not start until the end of August. It could work, I thought Canada Goose Outlet Store , and defiantly shoved aside any doubts. Besides, I wasn’t doing this because I could undo it. I was doing it because I didn’t do it the first time. – Continue Reading BelowPhoto: Courtesy of Porochista KhakpourOr was I? I didn’t know entirely what it was about. Part of it was the ’90s revivalism all around me, especially as a professor. It was hard not to be moved by the crushed-velvet dresses, the Doc Martens, the dyed hair and ripped jeans of my teens. My class looked like a room full of girls who could be my daughter, all in my hand-me-downs. How could I not get reinterested in my old self?Hold on to your old stuff and it eventually comes back in, my mother always said, as I’d pine for her ’60s and ’70s shiftdresses and blazers—but when you see that happen for the first time, it’s quite something. In conferences, as I’d teach my students about Kathy Acker and Maggie Estep and other icons of my generation, I’d also get them going about riot grrrls and real music television. I began to see a particularly ’90s brand of feminism—an interest in all-girl groups; blogs with the vibe of old chapbooks; a subversive adoption of girly imagery, from torn lacy baby-doll dresses to battered fishnets and smeared night-before lipstick; a deep suspicion of mainstream depictions of women—represented not just in the students’ work but in their looks. – Continue Reading Below – Continue Reading BelowThey were influenced by me, and suddenly I was influenced by them. First it was my hair—I went from platinum to purple to pink during that summer break—but it was their piercings that really put me over the top: the eyebrow barbells, the lip hoops, and probably all sorts of stuff not visible to me.Related: Models’ Ink: 10 Tattoos That Rule the RunwaysSo I did it. I held my breath, and Colby handed me a tissue. I assumed this was for blood, but he corrected me: “It won’t really hurt, but your eyes will water.” And did they. I felt a quick pinch, and for a second I thought I was crying not out of pain but out of joy—the relief that old teenage self felt knowing that my grown incarnation still refused to fully give in to being that dreaded thing, “normal.” When I walked out with a delicate rose gold chain—Colby convinced me that simple was better, which I tried to convince myself was not because I was old—I was most surprised at how natural it felt. I suppose I’d been ready for it for nearly 20 years.These days, even in fairly regular clothes, it seems I am nodding to some unnamed cyberpunk heroine. I feel more myself than I have in years.The greatest perk of being a late adopter is regret avoidance. You know yourself, so when you think you’re sure, you’re probably sure. Waiting till my late twenties and thirties to get my tattoos (Old English script on my wrists, anchors on my ankles, three feathers on my right hand, and a shoulder piece from an old Jungle Book illustration) was smart, because by that time I’d known I wanted them for more than half my life. The possibility of changing my mind was not a legitimate bogeyman. And now when I wake up to wash my face and see the septum ring there, it’s as if it’s been there all along—there I am with the paper-clip hoop I made with a compact in a school bathroom stall; there I am in a car en route to the ER, a bit proud of the blood spilling down my face; and now here I am, not as a girl but as a woman, still different, the projection of an imagination gone right.This article appeared in the October issue of ELLE magazine.

Why I Wanted A Septum Piercing – Rediscovering Teenage Desires

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