Uh huh. Hospital policy does not allow for facial piercings. Something about health code. Blah blah blah.
As a person who isn’t attached to much stuff wise, and does work on a daily basis around the central philosophical question ‘who am i?’ the anticipatory grief/mourning of my nose ring has come as quite the surprise. First there was disbelief, then frustration/anger/, then fill blown denial, and now, well, all those feeling wrapped up together with some magical thinking that says “no! I will outsmart them. This is not happening.” To that point, I took my relatively new rose gold ring out today and replaced it with a flat disk, as if subtle equals removed. Trust me, it feels gone, and I think this is a reasonable compromise. The extremely cute piercer at NY Adorned assured me it was pretty, as I crowed on about the loss of my identity. How am I supposed to date with no ring. It seems almost as luddacris as presenting with straight hair. I have a pierced nose. Period.
I was only half joking. This baby step to removal, which I can’t at all afford, is hilariously ridiculous, but seemingly, a needed step. It makes me so curious about the many levels of Bridget at play right now. While it seems trite, there are major spiritual and philosophical issues playing themselves out in this small piece of metal. It has become, in the 14 years we’ve been together, a major part of how I present myself to the world. Yes, I like how it looks, and in California, I never thought much about it because so many of my dearest friends have rings/studs de nostril. But in New York, it makes me stand out just that little bit. This is of MAJOR value in the city that never sleeps. You know, even when I have my preppiest duds on, that I am not working at Morgan Stanley with a nose ring. I am realizing that I like what the world might assume about me because of my jewelry. And, that they might see me and think “she’s a little different” or “she has a funky style” or “she’s not from here.”
I am entering a traditional institution, with a booming patriarchal power structure that puts my kind (woman/social workers) close to the bottom of the pecking order. This does not make me want to blend in. It makes me want to stand out. This might have something to do with my slight resistance-to-authority-issue. And/but, I chose work where the use of myself is at the center of my skill set. And, I would like to express myself accordingly, thank you very much. My nose ring has nothing to do with my level of professionalism. It also, has not kept one patient or family from engaging with me in 18 months. But, that’s another tangent.
All this said, an interesting experiment lies ahead uncovering the feelings produced by life sans ring. How will this really affect me? Is it all in my head? What other accessories does my identity hang from? And most importantly, do they notice the very subtle flat disk. Or, rather, do I have the ovaries to actually wear it to my first day.