The Ins (and Outies) of my Belly Button Ring

About a year ago, I decided that I wanted to get my belly button pierced. Although everyone around me told me that it was totally not in style anymore, it would get infected and that it was an all-around silly idea, a stubborn yet naive Nicole refused to listen. I was determined to channel my inner 2000s Britney Spears. I spent hours on Pinterest searching for cute rings and Googled all the FAQs one might have. 

woman in confetti Brian Kyed Once I finally found the perfect piercing place, (according to Yelp) I mustered up the courage to get it done. I anxiously paced around the waiting area as my mom rolled her eyes at me. I decided on a rose-gold titanium belly button ring and nervously headed into the little piercing room that was modeled to look like one from a doctor’s office. When I saw the piercer wield out a needle the size of a pencil, I realized that maybe this was a bad idea after all. Yet, I figured I had made it this far, so might as well go along with it. Plus, it’d be really embarrassing to back out now in front of this piercer who is covered in what looks like thousands of intricate tattoos and facial rings. So, I sucked it up (and in- literally) then felt one of the most painful experiences in my life. To everyone on Google who said it wouldn’t hurt... I disagree.

Nevertheless, the pain seemed to fade away when I caught a glimpse of my sparkly new belly button ring. I loved the way it looked and I was so excited. However, while I was caught up in taking mirror selfies for my Snapchat story, I must have missed some important aftercare information because I was not ready for the journey I was about to embark on with this little piece of jewelry. 

Bruno Gomiero Bruno Gomiero / Unsplash

Over the next couple of months, I tried millions of different healing products from saline solution to wound ointment. Nevertheless, nothing seemed to allow my new piercing to heal. I dealt with constant peeling, bleeding, and other gross infection stuff that I’ll save you from imagining. On top of that, I now have plenty of horror stories involving my piercing. My ring fell out twice during class, caught on to a multitude of door handles, and sent me to the ER twice due to over analyzing and believing I was on the brink of death after an infection. (I wasn’t dying, I just needed a Tetanus shot. Exciting, right?) 

So, you may be asking yourself, why do you still have this piercing if it’s caused you so much hardship? Well, it’s complicated. Now that I’ve finally learned to prevent infections and my piercing has fully healed, things are better. Also, as cliche as it sounds, it’s a symbol of my youth. It represents overcoming nervousness and doing things to make myself happy, despite the opinions of others. It also makes me feel more confident in my body than I’ve ever felt before. I no longer want to hide my body under big sweatshirts and instead feel free to show off my piercing. Now, I’m totally not saying to risk your health for aesthetic purposes. It’s just that for me personally, this little journey with my piercing is one that taught me to be responsible when caring for myself and allowed me to feel more comfortable with my body. It may seem minuscule to others but to me, it is a representation of freedom and my own self-expression. 

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