In some ways, I feel like all my life I have been trapped — by other people’s expectations and by my own cultural baggage. Having been set free, I’m starting to discover who I really am, and I am taking steps to make myself more authentic — like getting my nose pierced.

Lauren with nose pierced, October 2010
This is the new me.

Okay, if you’ve got multiple piercings, this isn’t really going to shake you up. But to my conservative mind, the very idea of a nose piercing is tantamount to streaking at half-time in a football match (nude). You get the point?

Yesterday I took Aisha along for the ride to the beauty salon. I knew she would have lots of questions about the procedure and letting her see it in the first place means that I have to come up with fewer answers. It also meant she could photograph my experience.

“Why aren’t you in school?” the beautician (named Renee) asked Aisha.
“She’s home-schooled,” I replied. “This is her piercing and photography class.”
We both laughed. And I kept laughing on the inside. Renee thought I was joking, but I knew it was true.

Getting my nose pierced, October 2010
Getting a dot drawn on — painless. I felt confident and strong.

After marking the spot, I lay down. Renee put a little round plate into my nostril so the needle would stop after piercing through my nostril.

Getting my nose pierced, October 2010
And the needle goes in. Yeeouch!

The initial stinging as the needle went through my nostril brought tears to my eyes. But I was surprised by the way the pain radiated from my nose through the back of my head, resulting in a mild headache for an hour afterwards.

Getting my nose pierced, October 2010
Then she inserted a little plastic straw through the new hole. This minimised the bleeding until the jewellery was put in.
Getting my nose pierced, October 2010
The bleeding continued for a couple minutes.

The service at the salon was very good. The beautician was friendly and professional. The only negative thing about the experience was the price — $75! It seems a bit much for something a teenager can do to her friend after a double-dog-dare.

After one day, I was able to clean around the jewellery a bit so it looked more presentable. It feels funny to have something in my nostril, and I get a vague urge to pick my nose and get the irritant out.

I’m also still highly aware of the little metal ball in the periphery of my vision. Soon my brain will get used to the new sight and cancel it out, but until then, it gives me a little thrill to remember this little step I’ve taken in reinventing myself. What’s next?

Lauren with nose pierced, October 2010
I like my new image. This piercing reflects who I am on the inside.

What about you? I double-dog-dare ya!