The Great Rural Social Experiment: Part 2

It has been officially one week since I have had a sharp piece of metal shoved through my septum.
And let me tell you, that was the highlight of the week.

When I returned to work last Monday with metal dangling out of my nose like a punk-rock booger, I was greeted by my employers as if I had committed murder. And I’m not even close to exaggerating that fact. It’s like I had legitimately made a proposal for the world to end. I am still flummoxed as to how reactive this was in my office.

“Oh my god, what did you do?!” were my publisher’s first choice of words; and she repeated those words about four times. I’m pretty sure she even went pale, poor dear.
Yet another small town, religiously driven woman who could not handle my choice in body modification. What else was new?
I informed her that the piercing would take approximately six weeks to heal and until then, it would not be able to come out. I also stated that I’d be willing to figure out a way to hide the piercing, once it was healed enough to do so.

Then, I went to my office, and started my work. My editor stopped in and said his good mornings, with his eyes entirely locked onto my nostrils, but he said nothing about the piercing.

Within 20 minutes of my work day beginning, I was called into my superior’s office.
During those 20 minutes, I spent my time going over my workplace policies in our handbook. I read each and every page that included topics on the dress code, standards of conduct, etc. Nothing in there said anything specifically about facial piercings or even visible tattoos (which I was hired with over 3 years ago).
The one thing I did notice was an “employment-at-will” portion stating that an employee is free to resign at will at any time, with or without cause….and similarly, the company may terminate the employment relationship at any time, with our without cause as well!
So there it was. Their loophole to my loop hole.

At this point, I knew any conversations with my employers should probably be decently documented, so when my superiors called me into the office, I brought a pen and paper with me.
In my head, I was trying to remember if I had any additional misconduct issues in the past that could have been brought up. I could not recall anything that would inherently tarnish my record – just metal in my nose.
So, I went in, pen and notebook in hand to make sure I got the gist of what my superiors would say about this whole pickle.
To say that I felt attacked based purely on my appearance is an understatement. I mean, the week before, these folks had zero issues with me, and all of a sudden, one ring (insert LOTR reference here) changed everything.

The meeting was a blur to me. Dealing with anxiety and depression daily makes me hyper vigilant about things and I know that meeting was pure, unadulterated rage. I felt the burn on my cheeks, my hands were shaking as I took notes, and when I was given the opportunity to speak, it all just came out as tears.
Here’s what I wrote down from my supervisors:
“not pleased, really uncomfortable, not professional while representing the newspaper, you can express yourself on your own time, comparative to a vulgar tattoo, possibly cause issues with ability to do my job, wished we could have talked about it before, I know you wanted the shock value, where do we draw the line?, small community, word travels fast, best appearances at all times, when in doubt talk to her, distracting, communicate next time, valuable member of staff.”

…so here’s my first thing.
As a person who has had to have “come to Jesus” meetings with people before? They fuckin suck. K? Nobody on planet earth WANTS to point out someone’s flaws and display them like a library story time puppet show. Unless they’re complete narcissists. Just look at Donny boy’s tweets.

Secondly, why on earth would you say all of these negative things and wrap up the conversation with a compliment? I am a firm believer in the Oreo theory. If there’s an issue with someone you’re working with, or in a relationship with, or whatevs and you want to confront that issue? You give them an Oreo. Not an actual Oreo, but a word Oreo. You say something they’re really good at then state the thing you’re concerned about (in a compassionate and caring way, in my humblest of opinions), and then you say something positive again. I got an open-faced Oreo. I was pelted with displeasure and blasted with bias and was told, ‘oh, by the way, we do find you valuable, but it’s an afterthought. Or at least that’s how I felt.

This meeting was seriously the the Dorito kindling to my fire. I was equal parts angry and terrified. Angry because there was literally nothing besides a nose ring to tell me I wasn’t competent to do my job, and terrified because I did not want something as menial as a nose ring to deter me from obtaining my own goals while holding this position.

To me, a nose ring is a non-issue if you can do your job competently, professionally, and enthusiastically. A nose ring is a non-issue if you can do your freaking job, which I have been doing since day one. Day one! Why?
BECAUSE THIS IS ALL I HAVE EVER WANTED (job-wise) IN MY LIFE! I would never have pierced my nose if I thought my job was in actual jeopardy.

Part 3 coming soon.

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