Six months ago, if you had asked me what was my favorite thing about myself, the last thing I would have said was my body. Although I have always been one to promote the idea of body acceptance, and self-love, I have remained a hypocrite.
I was my body’s own toughest critic, its worst enemy. Getting ready in the morning was a constant battle. As I undressed and looked at the naked figure standing in the mirror, I mentally tore apart what I saw: thick thighs, wide hips, slightly-rounded stomach, uneven breasts that were not as perky as I wished. The harsh criticism would go on for as long as I stared at myself. The last time I remember truly liking my body was ten years ago before I started puberty. Hating my physique for so many years had taught me to accept the idea that my body was never something that I would be proud of.
However within the past six months, these emotions began to slowly disappear with the introduction of one (or two) little changes: nipple piercings.
Let me rewind. Earlier this year one of my best friends revealed to me in passing that she recently got her nipple pierced. Considering she had never talked to me about her desire to get her nipples pierced, I was shocked. I asked, “What made you decide to get it?”
She earnestly revealed, “Because I wanted it.”
After hearing such a simple but poignant response, I felt a light bulb flicker above my head. I then told her, “I am going to get my nipples pierced.”
I could hear the voices inside my head question why I would ever want to get a body modification so invasive as nipple piercings. I am not a very “sexually active” person (whatever that even means) and the only time I am ever completely nude is when I am showering or getting dressed. So why would I ever put myself through such pain for something that nobody else but me would ever see? Although I didn’t have an answer to these questions, for some unforeseeable reason my mind was completely set. Two weeks later, I sat in the closed off room in the tattoo shop getting massive needles jammed through my nipples (all while I was screaming a variety of profanities.)
After a few weeks my piercings began to heal and I slowly started to look at my body in a completely new manner. When I would undress, I was no longer interested in critiquing every curve in my body. Instead, I would take the time to admire all of the things that made my body unique, starting with those two little metal additions to my breasts. Over time, I started liking my thick thighs, wide hips, slightly rounded stomach, and uneven breasts. I began to understand that my body was my own and I could not expect it to look perfectly airbrushed as I once hoped.
Sometimes all it takes to accept your flaws is to highlight them in a new way- whether that is with piercings, tattoos, or just a particular article of clothing- because it teaches you to look at them in an entirely new light.
Nipple piercings became my daily reminder that I am in complete control of how I perceive my body- and it is about damn time I learn to start liking it.