It’s something, to wake up one day and realize that you’ve been living for other people…
I’ve always wanted to wear earrings. But because I grew up (and am still a part of) such a conservative religion, my community saw piercings as one of the worst things a young person could do. “If God wanted you to have holes in your ears, he would’ve put them there Himself,” “Jewelry was only used in the Old Testament to make idols out of gold—if you get your ears pierced, your making yourself an idol,“ “Women are supposed to be modest, and lipstick and earrings are the things of Queen Jezebel.” These ideas caused so much trouble between my generation and my parents’ that it was common for my friends from church to get their ears pierced behind their parents’ back. Sometimes they would be grounded, sometimes their parents wouldn’t speak to them for months. I didn’t want to go that route.
When I was 18, I explained to my parents that I was an adult, that I would like their blessing but didn’t necessarily need it, and would be getting my ears pierced regardless(my mom ended up coming with me; she was silent in the car both on the way there and on the way back). I had the time of my life after that in Argentina, and bought earrings as souvenirs in every city I visited—Machu Picchu, Perú, Río de Janeiro, Brasil, Santiago, Chile, Buenos Aires, Argentina… I even bought a pair at the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama, when I heard President Barak Obama speak, just as a memory. My Earrings were a trail of the places I’ve been, the people I met, and the parts of myself that I left behind.
When I became Miss Oakwood 2015-16, I decided to stop wearing any type of jewelry because it wasn’t congruent with the ideals of my school. For a while, I would wear earrings to sleep to keep my holes open, but then I gave up. I had met people who encouraged me to not wear them anymore (for their own reasons) and had let myself agree with them. Then I kinda lost myself in general, for a very, very long time.
Yesterday, I was getting dressed, tying my head wrap, and suddenly realized that my outfit needed some cubic zirconium. It needed a touch of personality and familiarity and foreignness (I had never given or sold my earrings and still had them on my dresser). I picked up a couple and gingerly placed them by my ear, just to dream. And then I realized: I stopped doing something I loved to make the people around me more comfortable; so that they would accept me, and judge me less (or for other things). I already know that God literally couldn’t care less about what glittery stud I wore in my earlobes. So I got my wallet and went to Claire’s and got my ears pierced, again, after two years of not wearing earrings.
It was the best decision I’ve made in 2018, and trust me, I’ve been making some life-changing ones already. 🧡