Johnna asked me to go with her to get her septum pierced. Of course I went. Going to the tattoo shop makes me want a tattoo, but I go to live vicariously.
Apparently, piercings really disturb me. I don't have any myself. As I watched the man prepare all the tools and put the clamp in her nose and swab things down, my heart starting racing. Her eyes were watering. Then the needle. Oh god, the needle. But it was over soon. Not so bad. For me anyway.
I realized I was squeezing Johnna's arm. I let go. I felt like I couldn't get enough air. Like I used to feel when I tried to go to sleep at night when I weighed over a hundred pounds more. It frightened me. Was my dress too tight? I breathed in and out and it wasn't working. I clutched the wall because suddenly I felt very much like I was going to throw up. Right there in the tattoo shop.
Johnna notices my face. Am I okay? I'm not sure because I've started to feel dizzy and her voice sounds too quiet. Hot and cold prickles are crawling up my skin. She asks if I want to sit down. Yes, yes I do. I'll go back out to the waiting area. My purse is on the floor and I can't pick it up or I'll fall over. I feel like I've had too much to drink, minus the feeling of not caring. I might fall over and I care very, very much.
The piercing artist pulls over a chair for me instead. He says something but I don't know what because his voice is so small and so far away. I sit. The room tilts and wobbles. My ears ring and roar at the same time. I must be sweating. I must be shivering. I might throw up. Johnna is looking at me with concern as her new jewelery glints in her nose. She promises it will pass in a moment.
By degrees, it gets better. Slowly, I feel normal again.
What on earth happened? I ask Johnna. It happens to some people, she assures me.
I can't believe I got dizzy from just WATCHING.
I don't think I'll ever get anything pierced.
And don't ask me to go with you.