In college, I pierced my lip.
It was one of those impulsive decisions that I convinced myself I'd been thinking about for quite some time. I wanted to be edgier, to be sexier. I wanted to be less straight-laced and more interesting. I thought the best way to do that was alter my body. To make a speedy and noticeable change. So I had my lip pierced, just to the right of the middle. A small ring that flicked back and forth with my tongue and clicked against my bottom teeth.
Gum was out of the question. Solid foods were trickier than I'd hope. And a lip ring didn't exactly bring around the flirtatious curiosity I desired from the guys I found alluring. But it did attract a very interesting subset of straight, older women...
And then, one night, the ring just fell out while I slept and the hole resealed over night. I had taken all the necessary cleaning precautions and was keeping up with every step required of me to make the piercing last.
Perhaps it just wasn't in the cards.
It was around that time that I decided I wanted a tattoo. I knew from the piercing, though, that it was something I wanted to think about for a while. The permanence of it all frightened me. I wanted something that connected to many different facets of my life, but could still manage to mean something independently. I knew I wanted it to be textual, and that it had to be in black. It needed to be subtle, cover-up-able.
So I thought. I thought for four years.
And last summer, I bit the bullet and got my first tattoo.
Every so often, I forget that it's there. I'll catch a glimpse in a mirror or take a quick glance when I'm wearing short sleeves and remember this part of me that was not always there.
It's a conversation starter. A question and a demand. A wish.
It's a nudge toward vulnerability. A welcome.