I’ve removed a piece of myself, this morning.
Back in 1999, I had a dream that my tongue was pierced. Upon awakening I remembered that – for some unknown reason in the dream – this made me happy. On September 7th, 2001 I managed to scrape up enough courage and I paid a nice fellow at Blue Flame (a piercing and tattoo salon of which nothing now remains) to drive a hollow barb through my tongue. My girlfriend at the time (future-ex-wife-to-be) was too grossed out to sit with me for the procedure, but it was over quickly.
The very next day, I went with a group of friends to Busch gardens. I was so miserable! My tongue had swollen up and I had such an awful headache. Jenni sat with me in my misery, and it was there, that day, that I first thought of marrying her. Sitting in a fake French alley behind a bakery in a theme park.
I remember the very first time I bit the thing, trying to eat eggs at a Waffle House on the way home. My head resonated. It was unpleasant. I had to re-learn how to chew, somehow without flipping my tongue over.
I’ve run into a lot of people who were very surprised to learn that I had it, as the years went by. I am such a painfully mundane person, it’s been a point of pride that there’s this secret hidden away.
Lately, I’ve been very frustrated. In my agitation I’ve been clicking the jewelry around in my mouth, raking it across my teeth. I’m 35 years old now, and my gums are taking a genuine beating from this thing. I’m getting older, as much as I don’t want to admit it. I may have to fight with everyone older than me over the validity for such a statement, but I can feel it happening. I don’t want to crack my teeth, I don’t want to wear my gums down. 13 years of rubbing a bit of metal against the insides of your mouth will do that.
Tonight I’ve removed that tongue bar, and I do not believe I will be putting it back. I carried it through marriage, the birth of my daughter, an unwilling divorce, the death of my father, and a motorcycle accident that robbed me of a fingertip. But in the end it’s just a thing. I feel like I’m letting myself down by taking it out, but it was hurting me. That can be said for a lot of the past, I suppose.
It’s always such a fight, achieving legitimacy. Even your own friends take it from you when they have the chance, and I don’t think they can help it. That stupid bit of metal was holding me aloft, in my own mind. But I can’t keep at it, because I suppose I am worried that I will wear this weak body out slightly earlier than otherwise. It’s a mundane decision from a mundane person, and I am unhappy with myself, but I think it was the correct action.
Originally a G+ post