The Belly Ring

It was April of 2002 when I had a mini-midlife crisis. I was 33 years old. I had three kids and I drove a white Chevy Venture mini-van. It was not the glamorous life I thought I was going to be leading…it was a normal life with normal routines and the normalcy of it all got to me.

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon and I told Stan I was going out for groceries. I was feeling restless and needed to do something to make me feel like “Jenni” again…not just mommie or Stan’s wife. I needed to do something just a little daring. So I steered that ugly mini-van away from the grocery store and I wheeled into Tattoo Charlie’s ~ “Tattoos while you wait” read the slogan on the front of the store. Groceries be damned! I was getting a belly ring.

You should have seen the looks on the faces of the employees as I stepped out of the white mini-van and walked into the tattoo parlor. I’m not sure who looked more uncomfortable…the pierced tattooed people behind the counter or the mama from the suburbs. But I put on a brave face and said “I’m here to get my belly pierced.” Looks passed between the two employees and one said to the other “Well, I lost that bet ~ she’s here for you.”

The pierced chick with rings in her lips, a tongue piercing, eyebrow piercings, nose piercings, earring all the way up her ears and a spike coming out of the area between her lips and chin took me to a room and proceeded to tell me everything I never wanted to know about piercings. I lifted up my shirt (in a semi-daze and a bit disconnnected from reality) and the short procedure to pierce my belly button began. I didn’t watch. I didn’t flinch. I didn’t feel much of anything as the needle went through leading the way for my new belly ring. After the ring was in I finally started registering words coming out of the mouth of the pierced woman who just made me a part of her world. I was now a pierced person! The pierced chick told me my belly button would be very sensitive and tender for the next several weeks and it feel a lot like I was pregnant…not being able to bend over very well—Whoa, WHOA, WHOOOAAAA ~ Did she just say “pregnant?” was my thought. That means the pierced person had reproduced. But at this point, I had NO room to be jugdmental…I was now a pierced person too! Oh DAMN, what had I done?? Regrets began the moment I realized I was now a pierced person.

I went on to get my grocery shopping done, re-immersing myself in my suburban world. I went home ashen faced, with tears glistening in my eyes. I was ready to face the music of my crazy, hairbrained midlife crisis. As soon as I walked in the door, Stan said “What the hell took you so long? You said you were just going grocery shopping! You’ve been gone THREE hours!” I told him I just made the biggest mistake of my life and I was so ashamed of what I had done! It was his turn to be ashen faced ~ what could I have done that was sooo bad?? I lifted my shirt to show him my new belly ring and said “Don’t worry! It’s OK, I’m taking it out immediately!” Stan’s eyes got as big as saucers and he said “NO! Don’t take it out! I LIKE it!” My belly ring remains to this very day.

My “midlife crisis” was averted by stepping into a world of pierced and tattooed people. I came out regretting my decision ~ luckily I have Stan who, I guess, likes just the hint of a bad girl; one who’s not afraid to wheel a mini-van into a tattoo parlor parking lot, step into a world of tattooed people and bravely ask to become part of their world. Regrets gone!

I’m glad I had the courage to walk into Tattoo Charlies’s ~ it’s one heck of a good story. Me and the hideous white mini-van taking on the tattooed/pierced people.

It was for the love of my children that I got my belly ring…the need to feel just a little “bad” and daring helped me realize that normalacy of my life and being a mama from the suburbs is not really all that bad…

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