Third Time’s a Charm
I had recently left a relationship of nearly a decade and a half because of (his) infidelity. I was grieving, hurt and angry. I decided to get my navel pierced, in what I thought at the time was a sort of act of defiance. Maybe I was imagining that I could somehow rewind the tape and go back to being 28 years old—before I got involved with the cad—and, you know, recapture my lost self or something. It would turn out that I would have my belly pierced not just once, but three times in less than 12 months. I guess I really wanted that lost self. Or maybe I was just being stubborn. But I’m getting sidetracked….
Shortly after the initial piercing, I was hula-hooping on my front lawn (yeah, I guess I really was after that carefree youth feeling, huh?) and I must have over-gyrated or something because later in the day I looked down and not only was the belly ring gone, but the hole where it would have entered my navel had closed up. Undeterred by the not-so-pleasant memories of the first procedure, I went back and got a new piercing and a different belly ring at the tattoo/piercing place.
The loss of the second ring involves a story that likewise concerns an attempt at recapturing youthful vigor, but I will omit the details here. I will only say I have no regrets and I still smile when I remember waking up to find the belly ring on the floor in my bedroom. But alas, too many hours had passed and the hole had once again closed: I could not re-insert the jewelry.
After the second incident I decided I was going to get pierced one final time. I was determined that I’d get the damn ring sautered into my stomach if I had to. Luckily, that was not necessary because shortly after the third procedure (all were done by “Nick” the piercer/artist, by the way) my appendix ruptured, and required emergency removal. As you probably know, jewelry cannot be worn into surgery. By this point, I was seasoned enough to realize that the hole would again close up in a very short timeframe. I didn’t think I could stomach (pun intended) another trip to see Nick the Piercer, so I had the hospital staff insert a plastic “placeholder” into the hole. Five days later, when I got out of the hospital, I went to the best custom jewelry designer in Iowa. I commissioned her to make a beautiful imperial topaz and diamond navel ring to replace the costume jewelry ones I had such ill luck with. It cost me a handsome sum, but it was absolutely stunning. Fortunately, I never had to take Nick up on his offer of “the fourth piercing is half price.” And although my acupuncturist wasn’t happy about it—she said piercings mess with chi and energy flow—the beautiful ring stayed put and I never had another issue with it.
Fast forward. I’ve had the belly ring for 12 years: almost as long as I was with the ungentlemanly man who provided the motivation for the piercing. It’s so much a part of me I don’t think about it. Most people wouldn’t know it was there, since I don’t wear those sorts of clothes. The thought of taking it out has passed through my mind now and then, but not often and not seriously. Not until today.
I was at yoga this morning. There was a meditation class afterward that I had planned to stay for. But right in the middle of shavasana—the rest period at the end of yoga—I had the unexplainable and overwhelming compulsion to get the ring removed: Immediately. I walked to my car and looked up the jeweler’s number. Her studio was still there, at the same address. I called and asked if I could come by and have her remove it. She seemed surprised, but she said yes.
I soon realized the reason for her surprise: The removal process was as simple the third time as it had been the previous two times. The ring was the barbell style and the jeweler merely needed to unscrew the top piece. It had been so well made and had become so much a part of me I assumed it would need to be cut in order to remove it. She asked if I was sure about taking it out, and I nodded without hesitation. She removed the ring.
And just like that, it’s gone.
It’s funny how much attachment we put into things, and the symbolism we invent. For me the belly ring started out representing a reclamation of something I felt had been taken from me. Slowly, without me even realizing it, it turned into just a piece of jewelry. Eventually it must have evolved into some sort of an irritant, because by the end of yoga all I could think of was getting it removed. And now as I write this I feel lighter in some unexplainable way. Like maybe something got reconciled or maybe I outgrew a notion or…well, I’m not sure I’ll ever know, so perhaps it’s just simply a topic for a blog. In any case, next week I am going to make an appointment with my acupuncturist. I really like the idea of my energy flowing…unobstructed.
In getting ready to post this blog today I—as I often do— ran a draft of it by a close friend who was “there” for all the piercings (she accompanied me to the first one) and the corresponding drama. My insightful BFF sent me this:
Sheree, did you know that the third chakra is located behind the navel? It’s called Manipura, or in Sanskrit “City of Jewels,” and is considered the center of life force, energy, willpower, and achievement. My yoga instructor has said that when this chakra is open, you can experience deeply fulfilling emotional life; but when it is blocked, hostility and fear of rejection are common feelings. Perhaps the removal of your sparkling “city of jewels” has opened your third chakra, preparing you for a new era of contentment and confidence.