Piercing Pain

When you open the flesh, you let something in. – Alex Binnie

My seventeen year old niece got her upper ear cartilage pierced. My sister, her mother, video taped the event. Some might find that a bit much but in my sisters family getting a piercing, especially a non standard one, is kind of a big deal.

My niece is a lot like me in that she values individual self expression and tends to run with an alternative crowd. Slightly goth, somewhat EMO, very into music. Shes neat. I like her. Correction, I love her. Adore her.

I have always been drawn to her as there is a similar conflict in side her. I can feel it. I can see her easily misunderstood values and even easier hurt feelings. She is funky, different and very outspoken. She is a very sensitive girl – protector of animals, feelings of the underdogs and rejected types and always looking out for the environment. She has volunteered for Make A Wish Foundation and has donated her hair to Locks of Love.

When I first saw the video on facebook I got excited. I was happy for her that mom had finally relented and allowed her to get the piercing. As I watched the video, I saw the technician ask her if she was okay, was she going to pass out, did she need her moms hand. She said no. I could only see the side of her and the quality wasn’t very good but I anxiously awaited the big event like it was Christmas morning.

She winced when the first hole for the barbell was made. I saw her jump a bit but she was a trooper. The technician asked her if she was okay. She said yes, then she said no, then she said she wanted her mom closer. My sister moved in and took her hand.

The technician gave her a minute to collect herself before making the final piercing for the barbell.  This hole appeared to hurt more. Perhaps she was more sensitive to how it was going to feel and she psyched herself up. She jumped a bit, winced, but was successful.

My initial glee began to mirror her own anxiety and then I burst into tears. 

Not really tears. More like a sobs. Uncontrollable sobs. Irrational, mind blowing, eye puffing sobs.

Was I upset for my niece? What the hell was I crying about? My niece got her ear pierced for goodness sake. She did not get her ear cut OFF. She did not become suddenly deaf.

Of course, it wasn’t my niece I was crying for.

As I watched the video, I could not help but think of yeah, you got it, my daughter. My daughter who also has her nose pierced and I believe her upper ear with a ring.

Did she go alone for those events?
Did she go with friends?

She once told me she had to write an essay to her adoptive dad to get permission for the nose piercing. I am going to guess they did not go with her.

I would have. I would have loved to. I am saddened I did not get to.

My heart just ached.

It probably does not help that my niece carries the same birth name as my daughters amended name.

Silly, I guess.

My adoption trauma even includes grieving for piercings got, piercings viewed, mothers there and mothers not.

8 Thoughts.

  1. Suz, I just got back from our blog panel and we trumpeted your blog loud and clear, particularly to an activist first mom who is worried about blogging and its impact on her relationship with her reunited son. I hope she turns up here! And I know your panel next week is just going to be great — I so wish I could be there to see you in person!!!!

  2. I’m afraid there is no escape from the trauma and the triggers. Adoption is the gift that keeps on giving. Blech.

  3. I know just what you mean. I am an adoptee but sometimes something will happen, something mundane and ordinary and I will realize that I wish I could have shared that experience I had originaly with my birth mother or father. I have now known them for over fifteen years but we missed out on so much and we can never get those experiences back. I will never be able to share the joy of finding out I was pregnant with my first child with them, I will never be able to share the joy of the birth of any of my three children with them and a multitude of other experiences. Being adopted stole that from me. Yes, I gained a lot by being adopted and I loved my adoptive parents and miss them terribly but I also missed a lot of experiences not just with my birth parents but my half siblings, and my neices and nephews. I came into their lives at 35 years old and they had all shared many experiences I will never be a part of either. It is a sad but true thing. It breaks my heart. I am right there with you.

  4. I think the fact that you have a close relationship with your neice might be a painful reminder of how much more you want to have with your daughter. Don’t give up hope, she’s still around, she hasn’t disappeared on you. Try to focus a lot of energy on what you have with your daughter perhaps that makes it grow? Might not be good advice but it was passed on to me by my life coach and helped me a lot.
    I’m glad your daughter is still in the reunion, I keep hope that you two will get even closer. She must find it important for you to be available to her.
    I’m going to see my daughter next week, I shall not take this for granted. I agree with Dawn about your blog too.

  5. Ah, piercings. They’re my thing. My cartilege didn’t hurt (done with then high school -into- college boyfriend present). Belly button just felt like a pinch. Second ear hole in lobe didn’t hurt. That first lobe? Done at twelve? Sucked. Nose? All four times? Heh, loved it.
    That said?
    My Mom, who you know gave birth to and raised me, wasn’t at ANY of my piercings. Just something I thought I’d say because I’ve felt those pangs too, on things similar to this issue and sometimes I have to tell myself stories like this to get through the moment. Parents can’t be there for EVERY possible moment. You’ve missed events in your sons’ lives. And you will continue to do so. So will I. It just sucks that we’re not given the option, at all, as birth parents.
    I’m rambling.
    And now I want to get my nose repierced. DANGIT.

  6. RutaK – Thank you for your visit and comment. I regret I had to delete your comment as I found it a bit inflammatory and disrespectful to both adoptive and first parents. I take ownership of my own possible hurtful words here but I don’t take ownership of those of others.
    You are mistaken if you think I hate adopters. I have many adoptive parent friends who can vouch for this. In fact, I just spent three days at a conference with many of them.
    I encourage you to read more of my blog and others and perhaps you will come to a better appreciation and respect for the horrors that can exist in US domestic closed adoptions like mine.

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