A Piercing Tale
When it comes to voluntarily punching holes in your body, I know a thing or two. If you’re supposed to treat your body like a temple, why not adorn it with metal & jewels?
Piercings have been around just as long as sadists & masochists – so the beginning of human existence.
According to Tribu, a jewelry company based in London:
Expanded ear piercings or more generally referred to as stretched earlobes is a tradition that has lived for centuries – particularly those of the earlobes and lower lip. For many of the world’s tribes, it is even an essential body modification. Having emerged independently in such diverse locations as North America, The Amazon, Asia, Africa, Polynesia and New Zealand; the practice has recently provoked growing interest in the West.
From piercing holes to stretching them to bedazzling our epidermis, the human race has concocted quite a few means of piercing related body modification.
Here, we’re not going to get into the horrifically gory end of it, because ew. Click here if you must.
Here’s my story: I have 15 man-made holes in my body that make up 14 piercings.
My journey began when my little sister graduated Kindergarten. She was 7, I was 10. My dad asked what she wanted as her present & she said to get her ears pierced. That caught my attention, I’d never thought to ask. So, there he stood with his two earring-less daughters – pale.
My mom would’ve been better equipped to handle this situation, having a total of 13 earrings herself, half of which she pierced herself. She is precisely where our obsession comes from. She had drawers of matching sets of studs & hoops. She had earrings for every holiday. He jewelry drawers were like mood rings come to life. We’d stare at her walls of chandelier earrings in awe, it didn’t matter they were all costume jewelry. Our eyes would grow wide with glitter.
They would only grow wider for piercings after my dad lamented & we stood standing in front a fully loaded piercing gun in the hands of a 19 year old, chewing gum.
My sister was terrified & rightfully so. The store associated demonstrated on a Teddy Bear & the spring loaded action made her wince. Unconvinced that it wouldn’t hurt & demanding more evidence, I volunteered as tribute. Dramatic, sure, but I was the older sister constantly determined to make my lil sis feel stupid. (What are you gonna do?)
She reloaded the gun & set it to the side. Without more than a moment’s thought, she marked my ears with a wet erase marker (you know, the ones you used on projector sheets in math class), asked me how it looked & proceeded. The trigger clicked, I heard a pop and I don’t remember much until the reload, cock, & click for the second ear. I heard a ringing, but not what she was saying.
“How does it feel?” My head was on fire. I jumped out of the chair & started RUNNING around the Claire’s. The piercing chair was right in the front window, but in the back was a mirror covered door, which I ran back & forth to & from over & over. I’m not sure anyone, myself included, knew what was happening. Looking back, I was likely trying not to cry.
My reaction did not at all help to convince my sister, but it did catapult me into a life of holiness. (After forcing my dad to pierce one of his ears, she finally did it BTW)
After making it through the healing process of my first holes rather easily, I thought I cold handle another set. Dad & I trusted Claire’s for the second and final time. See, this was before they started advertising all their piercing jewelry was Nickle Free, because this was before all their piercing jewelry was Nickle Free. Unbeknownst to me, I was allergic to nickle. Or at least I am now.
Like I said, I made it through the first set just fine. The second go around was uneventful as I don’t have any jarring memories from that time. I just know that before I started 6th grade I had my ear pierced twice.
By little old 6th grader me thought I was an expert. Regardless of my “expertise”, nothing could have prepared me for the infection I developed in reaction to my third set of holes.
At first it was the regular oozing & bleeding associated with new piercings & teenagers. No matter how much of the (useless) cleaning solution they gave me, nothing healed. Now, I had blood blisters on one ear & an overwhelming pus scab completely covering the other. Gross, I know. I won’t go into anymore detail. You can imagine how it felt when my mom finally got the studs out of the holes. I went from wearing a ponytail everyday to cutting myself side bangs to hide my ears.
I was prescribed an antibiotic to dry swallow every 6 hours for a week. Every 6 hours. Even at night. Even in school. A rumor went around that I was on “crazy pills.” I was the new kid in 6th grade too. Fun times.
I also had to slather my ears with prescription stretch antibiotic ointment until the scabs & blisters cleared. When they did, I was surprised to find 5/6 of my piercings actually survived. I was that girl with 2 on one side & 3 on the other. I felt so cool. Cool enough that when I got my fourth set, I kept them uneven.
Set #4 came from Piercing Pagoda, this time with mom. Also in the mall, also with a gun, but advertising fully hypoallergenic piercing earrings. Unfortunately for me, they were claiming they had better quality materials not better quality piercers. Not that at 13 I would know I reputable piercer, if they pierced me in the faced.
Those have me problems too & I had them repierced a few times, after developing painful blood blisters that I had to let heal first.
Most of my infections were self caused by a combination of not researching piercers & procedures properly & being a handsy preteen/teenager. Not every baby, kid, preteen, teenager or even young adult is ready for piercings, even with the help of others. Honest communication & open conversation are the first steps in successful body modification. Trust yourself to know what you want, but be sure you trust your artist too. Trust your friends opinions of artists over the internet. Ask the artist lots of questions & if you don’t like the answers – find a new artist. Do not let my stories deter you. Let them educate & inform you. Learn from my mistakes & mod on.
After graduating high school, I went on a body modification binge:
- July 2011 Right Horizontal Industrial (14g)
- August 2011 Naval (14g)
- September 2011 Left Nostril (20g)
- October 2011 4th Lobe (18g)
- November 2011 Strawberry Platinum Blonde Hair
- December 2011 1st Lobe Gauged (16g)
- January 2012 Left Cartilage (18g)
- February 2012 1st Lobe Gauged (14g) & Redhead with Bangs
- March 2012 1st Lobe Gauged (12g)
- April 2012 Both Nipples (14g)
- May 2012 1st Lobe Gauged (10&8g)
- June 2012 Left Ear & Lower Lip Tattoos & 1st Lobe Gauged (6&4g) & Industrial Ungauged
- July 2012 Regauged Industrial (14g) & Ungauged 1st Lobe (16g)
- August 2012 Left Cartilage repierced (18g)
Each piercing in this run has it’s own crazy adventure & memories attached. To add in all those stories here would be too much. So, I’ve decided to continue on with a post series on Body Modification Narrative. While I haven’t really stopped modding, my piercing rates have gone way down. Here’s just a preview:
- February 2013 Right Shoulder Tattoo
- June 2013 Blonde & Pink Underneath Hair
- October 2013 Blonde & Pink Tip Hair
- December 2013 Black Hair & Eyebrows
- January 2014 Chocolate Brown Hair
- March 2014 Back to Blonde
- April 2014 Right Shoulder Tattoo Addition
- August 2014 Teal Hair
- January 2015 Pink Hair
- February 2015 Pink to Purple Ombre Hair
- August 2016 Left Tragus (16g)
- January 2017 Blonde & Pink Underneath Hair, Pink to Strawberry Blonde Ombre Hair, Pink Hair
- February 2017 Hot Pink Hair with Bangs
- April 2018 Rose Gold Hair
- January 2019 Pink Hair
Stay tuned for the following posts in this series:
- A Year of Change
- Her Hair Offends Me
- Poking at the Fear of Needles
- Post Mod Treatment Plans