The Red Nose of Courage

I got tired of being mislabeled as "conservative" or "traditional." So I did what anyone would do:

I got a big honkin hole punched in my face.

OK, it's not big. In fact, most of my friends, who knew I was considering this, didn't notice it. When I asked them they said, "Oh my god. You did get your nose pierced! It looks like it's always been there." I take this as a compliment, like when I dyed my hair red and no one noticed, but when I went back to blonde they said, "Why not go with your natural hair color?" I would say, "This is my natural hair color." And some people actually said, "No, you're a redhead. Aren't you?" I thought that was hilarious.

So here's a pic:

I had to go with b/w because the camera keeps washing me out, which makes it impossible to see the stud.
It's on my right side. With apologies to Mom, I like it, and I'm glad I did it.

What's interesting, though, is why I did it. I was talking with a friend over coffee at a local coffee house I LOVE because it's kinda funky and eclectic without being totally hipstery. We were discussing how she had chosen the Div school we both go to because she is a lesbian, and she wanted to be challenged to grow out of her comfort zone-- so she chose a more traditional school. Ivy League schools (and northern ones) tend to be super progressive and gay-friendly, and she actually wanted to learn how to be surrounded by more conservative Christians, and talk to them openly about her differing views. (This girl is awesome, guys.)

Anyway, I was talking about how frustrated I was by people looking at my appearance and hearing about my life in seminary, how it always seems to amount to, "Oh, you're one of those. I gotta go." I said that I was considering piercing my nose as a way to combat those instant assumptions, and I phrased it so that it was clear that I thought it was silly of me to consider doing that just to influence what other people thought. She looked at me a second and said, "Well... I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to communicate on the outside who you really are, and the way you look right now, you fit right into a 'conservative' box. Piercing your nose would make a significant dent in that image."

We talked about her intentional choice to "look" like a lesbian, because it was how she felt and she is proud of who she is; she also realized that this choice would lead to others seeing her a certain way and that she wouldn't be able to pretend she was straight.

She told me that she, too, struggled with assumptions based on her faith, but she has something on her side (sorta): she's a gay Christian. Right away, people go, "Huh. WTF does THAT mean?" She's outside of boxes immediately, or at least confusing them. We discussed how all of us have a need to look like we feel, and she helped me let go of my guilt for spending $40 just to slow people down on the Assumption-Train.

So I went and got my nostril pierced. It barely hurt at all, but of course, I had had it done years ago, so I was ready. It was red for maybe an hour.

I. Feel. Great.

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