My naked navel

I am writing this blog with one hand, as my left paw is wrapped up in gauze like a giant snowball. That's right: I had my carpal tunnel surgery on Friday! It's only been a few days, but I'm deeming it a giant success. The surgeon told me that once he was in there, he could actually see the carpal tunnel/nerves being impinged. He's snipped free whatever needed to be snipped, sewed me up, and sent me on my way.

Before the procedure, a nurse had me change into a gown and socks, plus a pair of really pretty disposable mesh underwear. Looking at my ears and fingers, she asked if all of my jewelry was off. “Everything except my belly button ring!" I replied. “That’s gotta come out, to,” she said.

Cue the sad music.

I've had my little silver barbell in since I was 21 years old. That's almost 12 years since I've seen my torso sans silver. Of course, I wasn't about to risk frying myself (apparently, if the doctor needed to use a special cauterizing tool during surgery, it could lead to burns near any metal jewelry on my body) so I slowly unscrewed the top metal ball, pulled that puppy out and sealed it up in a biohazard bag.

On Saturday as I was getting dressed (ok, as “we” got dressed - Dan needed to hook my bra, button my jeans, tie my shoes and ponytail my hair), I looked down and did a double take. My stomach looked like it belonged to a stranger. I never realized how I had grown so used to seeing that little embellishment peeking out from my belly button. But I suppose, over the last decade, every time I worn a sports bra and watched myself lift weights in the mirror, I've seen it. Every time I've soaped up in the shower, I've seen it. Every time I've done crunches, or zipped up my pants, or gone on vacation and lied in the sun, I've seen it. Now all that was left was a little dot - the same scar so many of my girlfriends have, only theirs came when they had to remove their belly button piercing to accommodate a pregnancy.

Dan said he liked the way it looked out; my grandparents urged me to go natural, too. But as Saturday turned into Sunday and I approached 50 hours of naked navel-dome, I decided I wanted it back in.

Let me tell you, reinserting a belly button barbell with one hand is no easy feat. It took some maneuvering, and an assisted ball twist-and-tighten by Dan, but it’s in.

This got me thinking, what other kinds of body modifications or embellishments do people get that, while new and foreign at first, wrote to become a real part of them? Do you have a tattoo, piercing, highlights, contact lenses, a scar - anything that, were it to disappear, you would feel like you were not yourself?

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