Learning To Love You More




Assignment #11
Photograph a scar and write about it.

Jessyca Murphy
Bellingham, Washington USA



At fourteen, I wanted a piercing. Being infused with juvenile angst, I was convinced that shoving a thin piece of metal through my skin was a formidable mode of expressing my undirected discontent. I was preferential towards sticking a barbell through my conch (it's the area of loose skin above your nose and between your eyes and not what it sounds like at all). But my mother refused to let me mar my pretty face and limited my options to anything she didn't have look at. Since I knew her consent was legally necessary, I opted for the belly button. Private parts were essentially out of the question (I was angsty but not kinky) and that left me no choice other than the navel.
My mother took me and some friends to a parlor in downtown Seattle, referred to us by somebody's brother. She let my friend, Sheila pretend to be my sister so she could get her eyebrow done. Against the hospital white walls, an array of wood carved fertility statues stood on shelves like a 3-D karma sutra. The man with the piercing gun was skinny, wrinkly and had a lazy eye. We found out years later that he as a convicted pedophile. The process was quick and anticlimactic. As I had been warned, the clamp hurt more than the piercing itself. But it stung like hell on the car ride home.
The damn thing was supposed to heal within three to six moths. By eight months in, even after cleaning it regularly and soaking it in special salts, my navel was still red and crusty and secreting a repulsive white gooey substance. It was more annoying than painful, but the slightest pressure was nauseating. I needed at least one night of good sleep without waking up feeling like fifteen bees had just stung my stomach. I figured I could just slip it back in when I woke up. But that next morning it had healed over completely leaving a swollen knob just above the dip.
I pretended to be angry about it to my friends and to myself, but really I was happy to be rid of the thing.