This past Thursday I got my nose pierced. I almost took off out of the place before I could get seated in the chair...but the actual process was really simple and hurt very little. I was pleasantly surprised. I had been anticipating today being the day for the past several days. It's something I've considered for months, but the last few weeks of feminist writings sort of set me in motion.
Today at church, a woman I know slightly asked me, "So was that a spiritual thing or what?" I don't know that I would have called it spiritual...but then I thought about the word and realized that in fact, that was likely the best word to describe the experience.
The past few weeks have felt very much like an awakening for me. An awakening to what I have been denying and running from for years. My last post was the angry part...but there is a sad part of me, too. And there is an overwhelming feeling of change approaching. I feel it coming on, and part of me wants to abandon myself to it.
The image that has occurred to me and drove me to the nose piercing was of a woman (most of the time me, but increasingly my daughter) on her knees. It seems I've spent a good part of my life there, figuratively speaking. When I was a little girl, I was told regularly there were things I couldn't do or achieve. These messages came from both men and women ... my father, my church, my pastor, the older folks in my life as a child. I'm sure that no one meant much harm by what they told me...but harmful it was. Like a deep wound that is hard to even talk about...much less heal from.
Later on, during the month I turned 13 I was victimized by a man, and very literally pushed to my knees by him. What he did was horrible and I carry that scar on my spirit. 22 years later and that experience of being pushed down is still painful.
I went away to college at 18, and yet again I was greeted by young men and older ones alike who knew very clearly what a woman's role should be. That age though for me, brought my first real crisis of faith. Suddenly what I *knew* came into conflict with what I was being taught, told and preached. I wasn't sure how to reconcile the two worlds, and so I burrowed into the ground and went to law school.
Surely I had arived... there I was bucking all the gender stereotypes...a tough woman in a man's world. Still, a part of me felt lost in that world. I still do.
My marriage turned out to be one long exercise in kneeling...making my husband primary. He didn't even have to ask, I just did it. After all that's what women do, isn't it?
And so now I find myself on a very spiritual journey. One that is at least partially defined by the fact that I am a woman. Spiritual journey is really about becoming more of a comprehensive self, isn't it? One that can incorporate the parts of life that have been difficult and trying with the parts that are pure joy and light. Certainly there has been joy and light in my life...and the nose ring is about that. While I knew that the men in my life...my father, my ex-husband, many of the male attorneys I come into contact with...would disapprove of my choice...for me it was about rising from my knees and standing.
The thought I had immediately before the piercing was, "It's about time to stand up." And so I have. And I will. And I'm pleased that I've found the strength to again take the first steps on yet another spiritual journey. It feels authentic. And good. And full of promise.