I Took Out My Belly Button Ring & I'm Feeling Old

It sounds pretty dumb—just hear me out.

When I was 19, I got my belly button pierced. It really wasn’t anything profound—everyone was doing it. At the time, I was on a spring break trip at the beach with some friends. We were out being hooligans, and I had been wanting to get my belly button pierced for quite some time, so I just did it.

Immediately, I felt ten times hotter. I felt wild and ready to take on the world. And of course, I threw a pic on Instagram that got a good number of likes. I was on FIRE.

A few days ago, I snagged my belly button ring on a drawer and it HURT. It didn’t even tear the skin that badly, but the minor amount of blood forced me to question why I still had that thing. Logically, I thought, I should just remove it. Who cares? My days of wearing crop tops were long gone. In fact, I don’t even wear bikinis that often anymore (switch to the one-piece, you’ll love yourself for it).

Yet strangely, I didn’t want to. Because I realized that it was still making me feel attractive in some ridiculous, superficial way. My belly button ring reminded me of my (barely) rebellious partying days, when I was young and single and spent a good amount of my time fussing over the popularity of my social media posts. I’ve always liked telling people I have my belly button pierced because it gives me the small amount of edge that I’ve never naturally had.

In truth, I’m not fully sure why it affected me the way it did. I mean, I pondered for a full day over whether it was worth removing the belly button ring. For someone who’s not into fashion and accessories, it wasn’t like me.

I’m sure I could go on about how this trivial incident reflects the dependence on materialism in our society, or how women focus too much on their surfaces to feel beautiful, or how young people construct way too much of their identity on their “crazy” social lives. For me, I think I just can’t quite believe how much I’ve grown up in three years.  

I took the belly button ring out. They’re really just annoyingly hazardous and no one ever saw it anyways. But don’t worry—I still have my nose and tragus piercings, so when those go, you’ll really know I’m getting old.