Two weeks ago today, almost down to the hour, the kids were still at school, the baby was still in the care of the sitter, and I was supposed to be working, but let my husband talk me into playing hooky and grabbing lunch and taking a side trip to a tattoo parlor for a nose piercing — YOU KNOW THE USUAL.
I’d been singularly obsessed with getting my nose pierced for all of a week before I did it, much like I showed up at the hair salon two years ago and declared my intention of dyeing my blond hair red. If I’m given the chance to overthink something or second-guess myself, it’s just not ever going to happen. I’m a certain athletic shoe’s slogan, personified.
Sometimes this impulsive decision-making process serves me well (I love having red hair!), and sometimes … not so much. (In college I tagged along with a friend to a tattoo parlor and suddenly decided to get the first of two rather regrettable tattoos right there on the spot.)
A few people who know me well — after expressing their approval of my sudden display of bad-assery — did ask me what, in particular, brought this impulse on. I’m not a very good rebel. When I was 18 I got another set of holes in my earlobes and then immediately regretted it because my mom was going to be so mad at me, you guys. I didn’t taste my first alcoholic beverage until several months after my high school graduation, and even that wildness was brought on by surviving a serious car wreck that made me realize that I MIGHT DIE BEFORE I TURN 21, BRING ON THE BUD LIGHT. In college I really, REALLY wanted my belly button pierced but was too chicken to do it, and then my first baby turned me (and my stomach) into the saggy baggy elephant lady so that was the end of that. And also: jobs, working, professionalism, etc.
So why did I suddenly want to get my nose pierced? Well, honestly … I just needed to not feel so … old. And so … mommy. So very, very much mommy.
I’ve been making a lot of jokes at my own frumpy expense lately — har har, I weigh as much as I did the day I gave birth to Ike, I look like an unwashed oil slick at the bus stop every morning, everybody is totes fooled by my yoga pant uniform and thinks I work out, OH AMALAH YOU SO HILARIOUSLY PATHETIC.
But the truth is, it gets to me every once in awhile. I want to get back in better shape. I want to look pretty. I want to wear cute clothes and not feel out of place shopping for them in stores where I realize I’m the oldest person there. I want to take care of myself, in between all the care-taking I do for my children. I just … don’t, for a million different cliched reasons that I used to swear I’d never use, once I became a mom.
Getting a small silver stud stuck in my face didn’t necessarily solve any of those particular issues — I barely got my pants buttoned this morning and I’m not wearing any makeup and I just noticed ugly scaly dry patches on my arms, since I’ve been neglecting to take 30 freaking seconds to slather some damn lotion on them regularly — but … it helped. It’s a tiny raised middle finger to the toll that pregnancies and exhaustion and worries have taken on the rest of my face and body. I’m still fun and impulsive and above all — I’m still me.