the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

The Nose Ring

Bee ButlerComment

When I was seventeen, I started dating a nearly 23-year-old man who I would later get engaged to. Looking back, I see a lot of manipulative behaviors and the use of his "worldly, aged wisdom" that kept me from doing things I wanted. After I left for ACU in the fall of 2008, he became controlling, and I started driving home almost every weekend to be with him, even bumming rides off friends who would drop me at his apartment and pick me back up when they went home to visit family in Dallas. He ruled my world, and when he ended things late that year, I lost myself completely. I packed up everything I owned, Tetris-ed it into my '97 Nissan Maxima, and moved back to Garland at the end of the fall semester, staying there instead of returning to ACU in the spring.

During that time, between November and January, I clung desperately to the hope that he would take me back and that we would get married like we planned. I continued to go to "our" church... but he left it. I made friends there, started bowling with them on Monday nights, enrolled at community college, and hoped against hope that proving I was still thriving without him, hoping he would see what he was missing. I was making A's and spending more time with church friends, and I got a job, the first of many with the YMCA, and began helping run their after-school care program at an elementary school near Dallas. My mom moved down to Houston to be with her then-boyfriend and now-husband, and I moved to Mesquite and in with my dad. While my ex stayed in the picture, texting me and seeing me on occasion, I started to realize that I was being placated by a man who didn't want me anymore... but was absolutely on board for the sex I so willingly offered at his beck and call at any second, giving him my body thinking it might make him love my soul again.

Guess how well THAT worked.

In the early summer, I moved from the Y's after-school program to a camp counselor position at the YMCA summer camp at Whiterock, and I was given the awesome group of three-year-olds who basically became my babies as time went on. I loved that job so much, and at that point I had already decided that I would be returning to ACU in the fall. I was slowly picking up my pieces and distancing myself from his clutches.

One of the things he was against was piercings and tattoos. I think that came from his strict religious upbringing (it had from mine, too, but I had that whole "finding yourself" moment after my sexual assault and moved away from that kind of limited thinking years earlier). My best friend Amyand I had been hanging out during my free time (which was almost never, because I had taken on two more jobs that summer) and toying around with the idea of me finally getting a tattoo I desperately wanted - a sparrow on my foot. I just couldn't get myself to commit, so we sort of shelved it, but then I thought, "hey! I think I want to pierce my nose", and that quickly took the place of the tattoo plan.

One night, around 9PM, I called Amy and said, "Dude, I wanna go get my nose pierced. Come with me." and that girl dropped EVERYTHING and SPED over to my house. We drove to Deep Ellum (a trek we'd been doing for fun on late weekend nights since high school, driving around and looking at the city without ever getting out of the car, but entertaining ourselves thoroughly) and stopped at the first neon-lit tattoo shop we could find. We walked in and I gladly handed over my driver's license to obtain a hole in the right side of my face.

Amy watched as a really awesome chick who'd been piercing for nine years took out a GIANT, LONG needle with a weird little hook, and promptly shoved it into my nose, pulling it out with a twist, and just like that, I had a nose stud.

Below is a photo taken the next day while my kiddos at the Y were in the pool being watched by the life guards while I hung out near the pool in some absurd sunglasses we'd been handing out. I was so happy that day, because my nose hurt, and a tiny piece of cubic zirconium was poking out of it, and I thought it looked SPECTACULAR. I hadn't told my ex about the idea of piercing it, nor had I consulted him on the night I actually did the deed. I had broken a chain that held me to him that night. I had taken back my body by adorning it with jewelry that required commitment... something I realized he was never going to give me again.

I've had it ever since, and it has always been one of my favorite facial "features". However, at some point during the night in early January, my nose ring got pulled out and disappeared, and despite combing my entire room, I could not find it. I went a month without it, and every single day I'd touch my face without thinking and find my favorite thing missing. It hurt my heart. Due to my lack of work (thanks, nervous breakdown!), I had zero money to go get a new ring, and my parents, finding it frivolous, refused to grab one for me. When I told my mom I'd be buying a new nose ring the SECOND my school refund check arrived, she was pissed. She said it was a waste of money, and while I tried to get her to see why it mattered so much, we never agreed.

Yesterday, struck with determination and a willful disregard for the fact that the hole had started (well... nearly FINISHED) closing up, I took matters into my own hands. I found the smallest "diamond" stud earring I had, and proceed to repierce my nose at my bathroom sink.

Now, some of you may not know this, as your nose remains fully intact and unpunctured, but most nose studs have a swirl shape that keeps them from falling out, spiraling into the nasal cavity and holding the stud in place.

Earrings do not have that, so I found the tiniest, clear plastic backing I had, and begged my mom to help me shove it onto the back of the earring which now resided in my face. After much nostril-pulling and light adjusting, she got it on, I shoved it up, then pushed the earring in and let it go as far in as it could, and voila! NOSE RING.

The minute that check gets here, I'm heading to my favorite tattoo parlor down here (where I got my mic tattoo done) to procure a spiral stud, but for now, I'm rocking a slightly-too-large piece of bling in its place, and I have never been happier about it.

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