Balance and Symmetry

I'm typing with one hand and it's taking forever.

My left hand is holding a mug of warm water mixed with 1/4 teaspoon of salt cupped around my right nipple. I pierced it last week. My left nipple was done almost exactly 5 years ago.

At the time, I was young and in love with the first person who allowed me to fall, and my future was pretty clear — I had a home, a career path and a man I could trust with my life. So when I was inspired to pierce my nipples, it felt right to do just one.

Two reasons:

1) It was $80 per boob. I had $100.

2) I liked the idea of being off-center, asymmetrical, a little “off” — much like my personality. I'm reasonable and responsible which allows me to keep my head level while still manage to float off into dream worlds when enticed. And in a way, it felt important to have a little unbalance in my sturdy, reliable life.

Looking in a mirror I saw my right half as the natural me, the grounded me, the me that didn't set off metal detectors. The left half featured a beautiful rose gold barbell, inlaid with pink tourmaline and hand made by a metalsmith from NYC. It was the expressive me, the eloquently abrasive me with an elegant edge that made it all palatable.

So when my relationship's expiration date became evident, my foundation cracked. It crumbled the day he moved out.

It's taken almost a year to build a new one, and though it's not complete, it feels sturdier than the first, created with tools I never would have used 4 years ago.

Soon after, when looking in the mirror, I no longer viewed my asymmetrical adornment as representative of me. The right nipple void of precious metal and stone no longer felt natural. It was naked.

So when fate found me next door to a reputable piercing place with a price tag of almost half what I paid way back when, it was clear I was to fall asleep that night with a throbbing nipple.

I feel a lot of things when I look in the mirror now. I feel a little sore. I feel anxious for matching jewelry. But despite the love lost and the new hole in my body, I mostly feel complete.

Originally published on

Image: Marcus74id.

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