I have a gold ring through the little lip of flesh at the bottom of my belly button. When I am writing, I lock myself to my desk by a chain through my navel ring. Otherwise I would get up every five minutes to clip my toenails or refill the ice trays. The chain, which is short, forces me to sit upright, which relieves the back-aches I am otherwise prone to.

My stomach is white and completely flat, and consequently unfit for bellydancing, which nonetheless I work at, off and on. Bellydancing has taught me to roll and flutter it, though awkwardly and unreliably. When I was little, I could suck my stomach in and make a cave or stick it out in a resilient dome that sounded like a drum when I tapped it.

The weight of the links - it is not a heavy chain - is enough to make me aware of my bondage, and strangely, this is a relief; it stops me from wondering where else I might want to be..