I took out my tongue ring on March 2nd.
“For good?” Leeanne asked, when I got around to mentioning it, just the other day. Maybe I had been waiting for someone to notice. No one did, of course. It’s a lot easier to notice a shiny object inside someone’s mouth, than its absence. I hadn’t said anything about this, to anyone. It was between me and one other person, the one who softly suggested that it was a distraction, something for people to pay attention to, other than me.
I’d been thinking for a long time that it might be time to get rid of this thing, anyway. Maybe I was getting too old, I thought. Even though there are plenty of pierced people much older than me. I had a professional meeting last Monday with people I had never met before and, for that, I most definitely would have removed it. I always do for those kinds of things. Having accidentally failed to do so before a job interview last year, I was mortified when the recruiter noticed it. Fortunately, she was way more disturbed that, despite it being winter, I’d turned up in winter boots. Still, I left with an uneasy feeling. And then, a young person at work noticed it and went a bit googly over it. I guess it gave me some kind of cred with the kids but all in all I just felt … kind of over it.
Another thing: I have to remove it when I go to the dentist, no exceptions. Over the last few years, the time it would take me to screw it back in could sometimes drag on for weeks. It was just beginning to feel more and more like something I didn’t need. And yet, there was a hesitation there, to make a firm decision on it. Who knows why, the best I can say is that it has been a part of my body since, I don’t know, 1998? 1997? I still lived with my folks when I got it. This wishy-washiness now makes sense to me, in a way, since I had no strong reasoning to get the thing in the first place.
So there I was in Ottawa on March 2, rushing to pack up my things from the bathroom counter belonging to the lovely man. We were behind schedule for the train and all these ideas came to a head in that moment. I just took it out spontaneously, right before we left, and abandoned it by the mirror. It was, certainly, a symbolic gesture toward him and what we were creating, but I didn’t have time to overthink it. Later, when he found it, I advised him not to overthink it, either. But I am pretty sure he did.
“I guess it’s for good,” I told Leeanne, “it must be healed over, by now.”
Leaving it in Ottawa was important. I had no spare barbell at home, and I wouldn’t have the time (okay, the inclination) to go out of my way to buy a new one for at least the next several weeks. I’d leave the ring there and the piercing would heal over. Done deal. Decision made.
Too bad I can’t leave well enough alone. Last Sunday, I saw a paperclip on my bedside table and thought, “Huh, I wonder if that hole is healed up? Let me stick this paperclip in it and find out.” I know. WEIRD. But what else was I going to do the test with? I already told you guys I didn’t have a spare barbell – sheesh. But don’t worry, I sterilized it first.
Well. It wasn’t.
Not even a tiny bit. I felt conflicted, immediately. I didn’t exactly do it for the dude, but if I didn’t admit that the idea was more interesting to me when it pleased someone, I’d be lying. However, putting it back in out of spite is pretty stupid.
2014 has been a strange year, so far. And taking out my tongue ring feels kind of aspirational, somehow. As if this small action is the start of a much, much bigger change. Maybe!