All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The Earring MAG
Cleaning out my closet is the chore I detest most. Each time it gets harder to let go of my belongings. When I put anything in the bag labeled “Salvation Army” or “Vietnam Vets,” I feel as if I am throwing away a piece of myself. Each item of clothing, jewelry, or shoes has a story I am not willing to lose.
One day, I carefully untangled a single earring from the cluster of necklaces and bracelets. As I set it free, the sharp end stabbed my finger. The pain reminded me of the piercing gun pressed to my upper ear and how it shot through the cartilage. The anticipation that preceded it and the suffering that followed were much greater than the pain of the actual act.
I decided to get this earring when my parents were away for three days. I was to spend half the time with my aunt and the other half with family friends. Having never experienced this kind of freedom, I didn't know where to start. While at the mall with my friend and her mom, I was lured toward Claire's. Even though I had talked about getting my upper ear pierced, I suspected I would never do it because of my fear of needles. But as I watched a man get his sixth piercing, I summoned the courage to perform my first outwardly defiant act. I paced the store, palms sweaty and legs trembling, and asked myself why I was doing this – but there was no answer.
Every so often, I pick up an object in my room and wonder how I came to have it. A lot of the time I can't remember and throw it away without a second thought. Sometimes I recall why I did something and that my actions are a reflection of me. We teenagers often forget, in the face of conformity and popularity, that our actions represent us.
Two of my friends had recently celebrated their eighteenth birthdays, and wanted to commemorate the event in a special way. One, who lives for music, got a small tattoo of a treble clef above her ankle. The other, not really knowing what to do, got her nose pierced. The first claimed the tattooing process was virtually painless. The nose-piercing incident did not go quite as well. Not only did it hurt when she sneezed, but it soon became infected and closed up.
As I nervously awaited my turn at Claire's, the man with all the piercings assured me it was no big deal. My racing heart told me otherwise. Sitting in the chair, the employee had me choose an earring. By this time, my anxiety was at an all-time high. I considered leaving numerous times. Taking her time, the lady carefully set up the piercing gun and cleaned my ear. Meanwhile, I continued to contemplate why I was doing this.
Acts of teen rebellion are not uncommon. In fact, the words teen and rebellion fit together like no other pair. Teens believe that resisting conformity makes them individuals or makes a statement. Sometimes rebellion results for no reason at all. History is full of teenage “expression”; author Quentin Crisp summed it up best: “The young always have the same problem – how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.” Teens often cannot distinguish between finding themselves and trying to be like everyone else.
The slight stinging right after the click of the gun was nothing compared to the pain to come. In the weeks that followed, I could not sleep on my left side and had to clean my ear three times a day. The pain never seemed to go away.
When my dad returned, I attempted to cover the piercing with my hair. Not surprisingly, even when the earring was in plain sight, he failed to notice. In some twisted way I wanted to be punished. I wanted it acknowledged that I had done something wrong. So I waited until my mom returned. To my disappointment, she didn't react either.
Rebellion is not always for a cause. Yes, in the '60s teenagers protested the Vietnam War and some still revolt in order to maintain their rights, but the majority of us rebel for absolutely nothing. We want a reaction, so we do something shocking just for the sake of doing something shocking.
One morning, a few months after my act of rebellion, I woke up to throbbing pain in my left ear. I went through an entire school day wondering why it suddenly hurt so much. When I came home, I unscrewed the back of the earring and blood gushed out. As I pulled the earring out, the pain miraculously disappeared.
Sometimes I unconsciously brush my fingers over the spot where my earring used to be. If I press hard enough, it still feels a little sore. I am pretty sure that small bump will never go away.
The other day I recounted my story to a girl in gym class. She told me the same thing happened to her friend. She said the shattered tissues take months, sometimes years, to knit back together.
The earring does not have a partner; it is all by itself. It has no use anymore. Nevertheless, I place it where I can see it from time to time – to remind me.