So, I did the only logical thing...I got a nose ring. About a week after Rip died, my younger brother came in town with strict orders to keep an eye on me while Parke was at work. He drove me around town, I have no idea where we went or what we did, but at some point I must have mentioned that I'd always wanted a nose ring...the next thing I knew, I was leaning head down in the back room of a dark, patchouli smelling hole in the wall with a blinking piercing sign on the front door.
From my vantage point, I couldn't see the device the "piercing specialist" was using but based on my brother's gagging/giggling reaction, my guess is it looked like something that would shove a needle through your nostril. Still, I figured with the amount of pain I was already in, nothing could hurt me now. Yeah, I was reeeeaaaaaallly wrong about that part. It hurt, it hurt bad.
But it was worth it. Turns out that nose ring was exactly what I needed. It was like a little bit of armor, distracted outsiders, maybe even gave me a touch of "bad-ass". I needed to feel stronger, and for whatever reason (and much to my family's horror), having a diamond sticking out of nose gave me strength.
Unfortunately for the nose ring, Parke's choice of armor for that period in our lives was to grow a big, burly beard. Word to the wise, beards and nose rings don't mix. Every time I leaned in for a much-needed hug, I got snagged. Between that and the massive amount of crying I was doing without being able to properly blow my nose, my little diamond of strength only lasted until New Years.
But by then I was a little stronger, had a little more faith in myself when I stepped out of the front door. I was ready to take off the mask. My only regret now is that I didn't get any good pictures...
Parke and I in our our masks...okay, you can't see mine because it was on the other side of my face, but trust me, I was cool.