Last Friday afternoon, I did something very bold and brave and out of character for me; I got my ears pierced. Now, I know that you might be thinking: well that’s stupid because I got my ears pierced when I was 7 and you’re 20, what’s the big deal?
Well, my lovely friend, it is a huge deal, for me.
Throughout my entire life, I’ve been afraid of needles. Not just needles, but doctor’s offices, strangers touching me, and the idea of being in any sort of discomfort. I freak out every time I go to a doctor’s appointment, and I absolutely dread when anything resembling a needle touches my skin.
As you can imagine, getting my ears pierced was never high up on my priority list. I’ve never understood how or why people pay money for someone to stick a needle through their ears, if they don’t need to do it. I would certainly not be one of those people (well, until Friday afternoon came along).
This summer has been many things. It’s been a summer of change, of challenges, of hurting, of healing, and of conquering fears.
I felt like this fear in particular needed to be conquered. It was about damn time.
After I got off work, I got in my car, and started driving to a tattoo and body piercing shop in Chapel Hill (my beautiful and amazing friend, Sara, recommended them to me and I’m so glad that she did!). As I drove to the shop, my heart raced with fear and anticipation. I told my family that I was going to get my ears pierced and none of them really believed I would actually go through with it (I’ve mentioned getting them peirced a couple times before).
I blasted my “GIRL BOSS” playlist on Spotify on the way there, in an effort to pump me up. I am a strong, independent woman who can conquer any of her fears. Yes. I’ve got this. Let’s go.
With that mentality, I pulled back the squeaky, white, wooden door, and walked up stairs to the little room, filled with edgy UNC kids. Sounds of muffled conversations and tattoo buzzing filled the room. Oh gosh, what am I doing here? I shouldn’t be here.
“Hi, what can I help you with?” asked the friendly receptionist with a million piercings in her face.
Completely panicked, I replied, “I’m here to get my ears pierced.” She smiled at me and asked if I was just getting my first. Yes, I said. She asked for my ID and began filling out paper work.
“So,” I started, “do y’all use the gun, like at Claire’s?”
Okay, looking back, I see that this is a dumb question to ask in a very legit tattoo and body piercing shop, but still, I was curious.
She tried holding back a laugh and said, no, they use needles.
Frick. The scene from The Parent Trap filled my mind and I started panicking. I should leave. I can’t handle this.
But I stayed, and filled out some paper work, and waited for a while, and watched people get tatted and pierced, fighting with myself in my mind.
You got this. You are a total girl boss. You can conquer this fear.
No, we should really go. You don’t belong here. You hate needles and pain, this is going to be a miserable experience.
Well that went on for longer than it should have, until the friendly piercer, Alexia, called my name.
The time had finally come. This was it.
She took me back into the room and started getting the needles and disinfectant and all the other crazy materials she needed out. I start rambling on about how I’m not good with needles and how nervous I am (which was probably cute for her, because moments before she was piercing a girl’s nipples, and I’m over here freaking out about getting my first ear piercing). She humored me, though, and assured me that everything was going to be fine and that it would be over before I knew it.
The time came for the piercing to occur, and Alexia laid me down on the black, leather reclining chair. Obviously nervous as heck, she asked if I wanted the receptionist to come in and hold my hand while she pierced my ears (I said yes). She came in, took my hand, and I squeezed them as Alexia clamped my ear and began pushing the needle through my skin. I breathed deep breathes, trying to focus on the air in my lungs.
It hurt a lot, it really did. I’d like to say it didn’t hurt at all, but it did. BUT, it was so quick and was over before I knew it (I guess the professional piercer who does this all day actually knew what she was talking about?).
After Alexia was done both ears, we all cheered and celebrated my accomplishment. Both Alexia and the receptionist complimented my bravery and gave me hugs. They were just as proud of me as I was.
Getting my ears pierced, taking myself to conquer a fear, empowered the hell out of me. I willingly walked into a room full of needles and asked someone to pierce me. It’s still crazy to think that I did that.
I’d like to think that this event marks a new era in my life, an era in which I don’t live in fear and I’m not reserved. I want to live my life boldly, taking chances, not letting fear get in the way of how I live my life.
I encourage you to take a chance today. Maybe it looks differently than mine (let’s be honest, I’m a little late to the ear piercing game). Maybe it’s being bold in your new class or at your new job. Maybe it’s asking questions even if you’re nervous to speak up. Maybe it’s doing something that you’ve always thought you couldn’t. Whatever that looks like for you, be brave, and be bold. You got this.