NOSE PIERCING AND OTHER TEENAGE REBELLION
So, last night I had my nose pierced (yes, mom, I really did it. No, I am not teasing you.). I have been wanting to do it for a while, but just haven't had the guts. For some reason, I have always really liked piercings. Don't know why, just do. Contrary to what some may believe, I didn't do it on a whim and I did give it a lot of thought. I asked several leaders in our church if they thought that piercings/tatoos were a sin based on several well known verses of scripture. The consensus was that it is NOT sinful and satisfied with that, decided to go for it.
I am always surprised how strongly people feel about some things. Family size, for example. I had many people comment on my third pregnancy with sentiments such as "this is your last one, isn't it?" or "was that an accident?!". It was the same with this. I heard comments such as "haven't you had enough teenage rebellion?" and "how could you do that...you're a MOTHER!!!". Why do people care so strongly about something has that absolutely no bearing on their lives? Obviously, it is hitting a nerve with them. There are strong social stigmas about how many children one should have, what kind of person have piercings, what kind of car you should have, what kind of job, etc. I have seen these biases in my own life. I often judge people based on how they are dressed, or what they drive, or how articulate they are.
In truth, I did have strong reasons of my own for wanting to pierce my nose, but I am not sure that I will be able to explain it coherently. But I am going to try.
A few months ago, I was having a phone conversation with a friend. She was telling me how frustrated she was with her children. I replied that I understood her frustration...patience with my children is easily one of my biggest struggles. Genuinely surprised, she said that she had never seen/heard me be impatient with them, and never would have guessed that about me. Taken back, I then apologized. Obviously, if one of my good friends didn't have any clue about one of my greatest flaws, I was not being very transparent with her. This has happened several times since then, and has led me to wonder if I was showing myself genuinely and honestly to my friends. I think this is very important, especially in the church family. I want to be vulnerable to the women around me and to allow them to see my struggles just as much as my triumphs. I know many times I have compared myself to women, feeling like a failure because I didn't measure up to what I perceived to be their greatness. Presenting myself as anything other than a sinner desperately in need of grace, someone who fails again, and again, and again is not only a lie, but also is a huge disservice to my peers. Being a mother is so hard and the last thing we need to do is compare ourselves to each other and find ourselves lacking because the person we are comparing ourselves to seem to "have it all together". To be in community with one another, to build each other up, to encourage one another...we have to be honest about our own shortcomings, be humble, full of grace. So, you are wondering what this has to do with piercing my nose?
I have felt for a long time that the person I am on the inside is not accurately reflected by what people see on the outside. Not just in the way I dress, but also in things I pursue, who I really want to BE. On the inside, I am earthy, I go hiking and rafting with my boys, I cook from scratch. I grow a garden. I live a simple life, pared down. I enjoy the quotidian events of my life: cooking, cleaning, teaching my boys. I practice attachment parenting, babywearing, holistic medicine. I champion being environmentally concious. I am a good listener and I am kind. I anticipate the needs of my friends, and help them. I am open about my love for the Lord and I pursue a relationship with Him. I am a fun, funky, simple, crunchy mama. That is me on the inside.
On the outside, I am a minivan driving, temporarily overweight, conservative, preppy, laid back yet stressed out, mommy to three boys and wife to one hubby, who I love very much. While some of what people see on the outside is true, there is much more of me that I hold back. Some of the reason that the person that I FEEL like on the inside, and the person I APPEAR to be outside don't match up, is because I am deathly afraid of what people will think of me. I am allowing my life to go by, not really living out many of my values because I am afraid that someone else, who does not live my life, will think something negatively about me. NEWS FLASH: people already do think negative things about me (you might be right now!) and always will, regardless of whether I live my life intentionally, or not! DUH!
So, something snapped in me and I have just decided that life is too short to not pursue the things that are important to me. As long as I am not being sinful, I am going to do the things that I find enjoyable, that are beneficial to my family, and add value to my life. So, with my husband's blessing, I pierced my nose. I might decide in two weeks that I don't really like it so much after all. Who knows? But I am not going to worry about what someone else thinks about it. Maybe God will give Matt and me ten children. If that is what He has planned for us, then I am going to be thankful for that, and enjoy them, without worrying that many people think I have eight children too many. Fear of man is a big struggle of mine, and I am sure I will continue to deal with that. We all deal with it to some degree. I also know that I can be very judgemental too. But I am learning in new ways all the time, that there is more to each of us than meets the eye. We all are much more than the car we drive, and what we wear. I know I am and i am going to learn to look deeper for the hidden qualities in the people around me.