Going on a short hiatus

I’m going on a short vacation starting this Friday, so there won’t by any updates for about another week or so. I’ll try to get a new one posted before we go, but I’m not entirely sure about that.

But I’ll be back soon enough, and will make sure to update as soon as I get back.

Piercing Aftercare

Your piercer will go over the specific healing regimen for your piercing with you, but you can use this as a refresher or reminder course.

AFTERCARE
Now that you’ve gotten your piercing, how do you take care of it properly and keep it healthy? Certain piercings can vary slightly by their location, so I’ll break it down a little bit. But first, the pretty much only method you need to clean your piercings is:

The Sea Salt Soak, or SSS for short.

This is a very simple recipe of 1/4 teaspoon of pure organic sea salt (not iodized table salt) dissolved in 8oz (1 cup) of previously boiled, or filtered, hot water. Make the water as hot as you’d make your bath water. Soak the piercing for 5-10 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day. This is all you’ll ever need in most cases. This same solution is used in hospitals for wound irrigation and flushing.

DO NOT ever use alcohol, Bactine, contact solution, table salt or salt with iodine in it, hydrogen peroxide, pierced ear care solutions or other products containing Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK). Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide and bactine even say on their bottles “Do not use on puncture wounds”, and what do you think a piercing is? These chemicals are way too harsh on healing piercings, and kill off bad bacteria as well as the good that are trying to heal your piercing, making healing longer and more difficult. And because they make healing take longer, you maintain a risk of infection because the wound isn’t closing. Hydrogen peroxide is a kind of bleach. It damages cells as well as delaying healing time. BZK is harmful and irritating to new piercings and is not intended for long-term wound care. Do not use Neosproin or polysporin or any other ointment, these trap bacteria against the skin and don’t allow air to circulate properly.

There is a product out there called H2Ocean, which is just basically a pressurized SSS solution that you can spray onto your piercing. It’s great stuff, and also includes other beneficial healing ingredients. The only drawback to this stuff is it’s incredibly expensive for the small volume you get. I’ve seen it for as much as $16 for a 4oz bottle. 4oz is half a cup. If you want to use this, you are more than welcome to, but homemade sea salt solutions are usually just fractions of cents to make. H2Ocean is GREAT for times when you can’t soak properly, like if you’re camping, out at the beach, after the gym, that sort of thing. Otherwise, save your money and just make soaks at home.

It’s also the hot water soaking that makes the SSS so effective. It loosens up any built up lymph and pulls it from the piercing. It loosens itchy and unsightly crusty buildup and washes it away. The hot water encourages blood flow and faster healing. Just spraying with H2Ocean doesn’t do this, making healing longer and more difficult.

Some piercers say you can use anti-bacterial soap, but I usually stay away from it, personally. Soap can leave a film on your skin and your piercing and jewelry, which can cause irritation. It can also dry out your skin, and lead to unnecessary scar tissue. If you do want to use soap, however, use foaming anti-bacterial soap no more than about once daily. Usually in the shower is best. Just lather with a single pump or dime-size dollop of soap, then rinse off very well. Do not let the soap sit for more than about 30 seconds.

You can also wash your piercing with anti-bacterial soap if you think you may have gotten something dirty in there, like after swimming, after sweating, the dog licks your facial piercing, etc.

As your piercing heals, crusty stuff may accumulate around it. DO NOT pick the crusties off. That’s just introducing your dirty hands to a healing piercing and can increase your risk of infection. If you notice crusties have formed, you can flush it with water or wipe them away with a cotton swab soaked in clean water. I’ve also been known to carry around a small bottle of prepared SSS solution and some cotton swabs in a clean plastic bag so I can swab away crusties as they appear throughout the day.

Also, do not move the jewelry around. Do not slide it, do not spin it, do not mess with it at all. All this does is irritate the piercing, drag germs and crusties into it, and introduces your dirty hands to it. There is no need to move the jewelry during the healing process. If it moves on it’s own, then that’s fine, but you shouldn’t be intentionally moving, spinning, rotating, or pushing the jewelry in and out.

Do not change your jewelry during the healing process, unless there is a problem with it, then have your piercer do it for you. Initially, depending on the piercing you received, you will get longer jewelry than you actually need to accommodate any swelling. After the swelling has gone down, after about 2-3 weeks, it is very important that you go back to your piercer and be switched to proper fitting jewelry to avoid problems. Jewelry that’s too long can cause damage to teeth and gums, is easier caught on clothing and other things which is VERY painful when you yank on it, etc. Beyond this circumstance or if you are having serious problems with jewelry length, style, or material, do not change the jewelry. This will just anger the inside of the fistula and make healing longer and more difficult, as well as potentially introduce bacteria to the piercing, increasing your risk of infection.

So, because care varies a bit depending on area, here’s the breakdown. And remember, always ALWAYS wash your hands with antibacterial soap and hot water before you touch and clean your piercings. Also, very thoroughly clean and disinfect as best you can any area that you may be setting your jewelry on, if you’re changing it. Laying down paper towels to set the jewelry on works well, too.

Oral Piercings – lips, tongue, cheeks, etc.: Rinse with non-alcoholic mouthwash, or a saline solution after EVERYTHING you eat and drink (other than water) for the first 3 months. Carry a small bottle of it with you if you go out and have something to eat. If you smoke, either stop or cut WAY back while your piercing is healing, and rinse after each smoke. SSS the outside and rinse off with plain water to remove any residue.

Earlobes and Ear Cartilage: SSS as described above. If direct soaking is difficult, which is common with some cartilage piercings, you can use the compress method. Take a clean cotton pad or about a quarter of a paper towel, soak it in the hot water, then compress. Redip as necessary to keep the heat on it.

Nipples and Navels: Fill a shot glass with the hot SSS solution. Hold the glass over your piercing, and then recline on a bed or on the couch. The glass will form a suction ring around the piercing so the water won’t spill everywhere if you keep a tight seal. No need to press the glass into your body, just hold steady. SSS as described above then rinse off with plain water to remove any residue.

Genital: SSS either with the compress or the shot glass method as described above. Urinate after you use any soap to clean away any leftover soap near the urethra. Avoid sexual contact for as long as possible, and engage in gentle contact when you do for the first few months. After any sexual encounter, you should soak or at least rinse with clean water.

AVERAGE HEALING TIMES:
Every body heals at a different rate, and how you take care of your piercing can either speed up or delay your healing time. How you take care of your body in general can affect your healing time as well. For optimum healing, clean your piercing as directed above, avoid smoking and alcohol and caffeine consumption as much as possible, keep stress and rigorous activity to a minimum, you can also take an over the counter multi-vitamin if you want to, especially one containing Zinc and Vitamin C to help your body rebuild. But average MINIMUM healing times are as follows:

HEAD LOCATIONS
Ear lobes, eyebrow, septum, oral, nostril – 6-8 Weeks
Ear Cartilage – 6-12 Months
Bridge – 8-10 Weeks
Tongue – 4 Weeks
Cheek – 4-6 Months

NIPPLES AND NAVEL
Male Nipples – 4-6 Months
Female Nipples – 6-12 months
Navel – 6-12 Months

GENITALS:
Female:
Inner Labia, Princess Albertina and Clitoris – 2-4 Weeks
Outer Labia, Clitoral Hood – 2-6 Months
Fourchette – 4-6 Weeks
Triangle – 8-10 Weeks

Male:
Prince Albert, Frenum – 6-8 Weeks
Reverse PA – 4-6 Months
Scrotum – 6-10 Weeks
Guiche – 8-10 Weeks
Dydoe – 8-12 Weeks
Ampallang, Apadravya – 4-8 Months

SURFACE PIERCINGS
Any Surface Piercing – 1+ Years

MICRODERMALS
It depends a lot on the location, but the general time frame is 1-3 months.

It is very much recommended that you do not change the jewelry of your piercing until the minimum healing time is over. Only change it if there is a problem with it, like length, style, or material. In this case, go back to your piercer and have them do it for you.

JEWELRY TYPE CHOICE:
With so many piercings and types of jewelry out there, how do you know which one is right for you? Usually a good piercer knows best, but you can sometimes request special or certain styles and materials if you ask. So, what’s appropriate for each piercing? We’ll start with jewelry type, then move on to materials next. We’ll break it down again:

LIPS (labrets, monroe, cheeks, etc.): For most oral piercings like any lip piercings and cheek piercings, the best jewelry choice is a flatback labret stud. One of these:

These are the easiest pieces to heal with because they minimize movement, are most accommodating to swelling, and make sure your fistula heals straight. Rings can slide in and out and move around, causing irritation to the piercing and dragging crusties and germs into it. Longer straight barbells are more accommodating to swelling than rings are as well. You can heal with a ring if you like, but it’s not recommended. When you heal with a ring, the fistula (the tunnel of flesh that a piercing is) heals on a curve, making insertion of straight pieces later on more difficult.

NOSTRIL: The best choice here is an L-shape or nose screw.

L-shape:

Nose screw:

Both of these will be custom bent to your nose when you get it pierced. Nose bones or straight pieces tend to fall out or are easily torn out, so they’re usually not the best choice.

Nose bone:

EARS: There are so many types of piercings for the ear that it’s sort of hard to say if there really is any “right” type of jewelry for each one. But as a general rule, chose barbells or labret posts instead of rings. Mostly because rings move and slide around, drag crusties in and are easier to knock around and more likely to catch on things.

For some people, they’d rather heal their industrial piercing with two rings or two short labret barbells rather than one long barbell. Honestly, this is more of a personal choice for you and your piercer to discuss. I personally healed an industrial just fine with one long barbell the whole time, but others have not. So that’s more of a choice and a preference rather than a hard and fast rule. Everything else, try to choose barbells as initial healing starter jewelry. You can always change to a ring or something else later on. Healing properly is more important than cute jewelry.

NIPPLES: Again, barbells instead of rings, because rings move around and drag crusties in. You can switch to rings later once you’ve healed up properly.

WHY CERTAIN PIERCINGS ARE A BAD IDEA
Just because you CAN pierce something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Many piercings are purely for play and for show. The idea is you get something incredible done, get some wicked cool photos taken or go to some super fancy show or event, then you have them removed. You don’t really keep them anymore than 24 hours. These are typically called play piercings.

Corset piercings are not intended to be kept any longer than what’s needed for a photoshoot. Most piercers use rings or slave rings attached to barbells for the piercings, then the lace or ribbon is threaded through. These pieces of jewelry aren’t meant for long-term wear in surface piercings.

It has been reported that very few, VERY lucky people have been able to heal corset piercings and keep them for some extended amount of time, but these people are SO rare, and incredibly lucky, so it’s better to say that these cannot be healed, because your chances of being that lucky are extremely rare. They also don’t lace the piercings AT ALL, because that will very easily make them reject and make it much easier for the jewelry to be torn out.

Another bad piercing idea is hip piercings. These are incredibly popular right now, and they’re a terrible idea. There are two ways to have this done: with microdermals or with surface barbells. Neither is a good choice. Microdermals are EXTREMELY delicate little piercings, and they are easily torn out and easily reject. Surface bars carry the same risks, and when they are torn out or reject, the scars they leave are much worse. The hip area isn’t really designed to support body piercing anyway. The skin is thin and stretches and contracts a lot, it’s usually close to bone, and it’s too easy for jeans waistbands and seatbelts to catch on the jewelry and yank it out.

This also applies to the butt-dimple piercings that seem to be becoming just as popular as the hip piercings.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INFECTION AND IRRITATION
One VERY important thing to know when getting pierced is how to recognize true infection from normal healing and irritation. The common misconception is that ANY redness, soreness and oozing of fluid is automatically infection. This is VERY much not true. And it’s incredibly important that you know the difference so you can properly treat each one.

Infection, TRUE infection, is actually pretty rare, or not nearly as common as people think. Infection is almost always 99% wearer error, not piercer error. Any infection you get is most likely your own fault, meaning you didn’t clean it properly, you didn’t treat it properly, you touched it with dirty hands, you let someone ELSE touch it with dirty hands, you let it come into contact with dirty environments (like pools, hot tubs, oceans, etc), that kinda thing. It’s actually nearly impossible to get an infection if you go to a fully licensed, professional shop.

Signs of piercing infection are:
~Fever in the individual
~Excessive redness or purple bruising-like coloring in the area
~Excessive oozing
~The ooze is bloody, green, or “spicy mustard” colored pus
~The ooze will smell incredibly foul
~Excessive soreness or tenderness
~Excessive heat from the area

If you do suspect that you have an infection, for the love of all that is holy do NOT take the jewelry out! This will trap the infection in the body, not allowing it to drain, making treatment longer and more difficult and possibly allowing it to spread to other areas of the body. Go to a doctor and get prescription antibiotics. If the doctor does positively identify it as an infection, and tells you to take the piercing out, still do not do it, again, for the reasons above. Most doctors actually have no idea how to properly care of body piercings, or even how to recognize the difference between infection and irritation. Many will just assume that any reaction is an infection, so it’s important that YOU know the difference so you can get antibiotics only when you actually need them. If you catch and treat an infected piercing early, it’s very likely that you can still keep it.

IRRITATION, on the other hand, is fairly normal, especially on new, healing piercings. You can minimize your irritation by taking care of your piercing and your body properly.

Signs of irritation are:
~Slight redness around the piercing entry and exit holes (this will lessen as the piercing heals)
~Discharge in clear or white coloration, which can dry to a white or light yellow color
~This discharge should have no smell, or a very slight “fleshy” smell, it should just smell of skin
~Some slight soreness and swelling, again, this will lessen as the initial shock of the piercing subsides and as it heals

The stuff that oozes from irritated or new piercings is called lymph, it is very much NOT pus. It’s hard to describe exactly what this fluid is, but I’ve heard it described as the same stuff you ooze when you get a rug burn, that clear fluid that happens. I’ve also heard it described as an overproduction of white blood cells accumulating in the area as they try to heal the wound. Either way, know that lymph and dried lymph crusties are normal and not harmful, so long as you clean them up properly.

METAL ALLERGIES
Metal allergies are more common than many people think they are, but they seem to be more prevalent in women for some reason. Normally when someone is allergic to metal, they’re actually allergic to the NICKLE content in the metal. The best way to avoid metal allergies is to wear organic materials and glass, but this usually isn’t possible with new piercings, so what happens after that? It’s important to get high grade metals, ones made with little to no nickel. 316 and 316L surgical implant grade steel has very close to no nickel, and titanium has almost none at all. So if you are allergic to metal, try to opt for titanium or glass as initial jewelry.

How do you know if you have a metal allergy? Most commonly, you already know you have one, since many people cannot wear rings, necklaces or bracelets made of metal, and some are so sensitive that even the metal backings on jeans buttons will give them a reaction. But allergies can turn up at any time, so you need to know how to recognize it. Most of the time, if you are allergic to the metal, the area around the piercing will become red, itchy, sore, irritated, or the skin will sometimes peel. Some develop a rash in the immediate area along with other symptoms. The easiest way to fix it is to change the jewelry to some other material, or a better quality material.

If you are ever in doubt or are unsure of something regarding your piercings, do not ever be afraid to call or visit your piercer for their inspection. They know how to recognize all of these conditions and will be able to direct you on the best course of action to rectify it.

Stabby, Stabby

This post is going to have a lot of the same information that the “How to find a good tattoo artist” post has, so if some information is repeated verbatim, don’t worry about it. Many of the same important points to look for in a tattoo artist are the same when looking for a good piercer.

A VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF BODY PIERCING
Body piercing has a lot of the same colorful history that tattooing does. It’s been done for tens of thousands of years, for many different reasons. Body piercing is even recorded in the Bible, in Genesis 24:22 Abraham requested his oldest servant to find a wife for his son Isaac. The servant found Rebekah, and one of the gifts he gave her was a “golden earring”. The original Hebrew word used was Shanf, which also translates as “nose-ring”. Even today in many Middle Eastern countries a husband gives his wife a golden nose ring, the larger the ring, the wealthier the family is. In India, the left side of the nose is pierced because it is the spot associated with female fertility in Indian medicine.

Ear piercing has been done for even longer, the oldest mummy ever found, dated to over 5,000 years ago, had his ears pierced, and actually stretched to about 11 millimeters. Primitive tribes would pierce the ears to keep demons and evil spirits away from the body, believing that metal repelled them. Sailors would wear gold earrings so if their bodies were lost at sea, they would be able to pay for a proper Christian burial when they washed up on shore. Only the Western culture seems to deem ear piercings effeminate, when no other cultures have such affiliations.

Lip piercings have been performed all over the world, for various purposes. The large lip plates that parts of Africa are so famous for are symbols of beauty, status, and age in the tribe. It’s also been said that one of the reasons these large lip plates were implemented was to discourage the slave trade; slavers wouldn’t take people with these large plates because they were seen as “deformed”, or unfit for transport.

Nipple piercings have been documented as far back as the Roman age. They wore leather breastplates shaped to fit the body with rings placed where the nipples would be, to secure capes to. This led some people to believe that the men would also pierce their actual nipples to secure capes with, but I could never imagine something like that being even remotely comfortable.

In the 1890’s what was known as the “Bosom Ring” came into high fashion for a short time. Some women even wore a small delicate chain connecting the rings. The women enjoyed the constantly excited nipples they received after the piercing, and believed that the piercings made the breast at least appear fuller and rounder. Some doctors in the Victorian age even suggested piercing the nipples because it enlarged them, making breastfeeding easier.

WHAT IS A PIERCING? ARE THERE DIFFERENT KINDS? HOW ARE THEY DONE?
A piercing, in the context of body modification, is the process of puncturing or creating a hole in the body for jewelry to be worn in. The tunnel of scar tissue that a piercing really is is called a fistula.

There are several ways to have a piercing performed. The best way to have a piercing performed is with a hollow piercing needle, in the hands of a professional, in a clean piercing studio. This is the most common type of needle used in the US. Some of these needles are straight, while others are curved to perform piercings where a straight needle would not work. They come in various gauge sizes and lengths, and the piercer will help you decide what size needle would be best for your piercing. On average, 16 gauge, or ga, through about 12ga is standard for most body piercings. That’s 1.2 millimeters through about 2mm for my non-American readers.

This is a close up, enlarged picture of what the hollow piercing needle looks like:

How the needle works is by creating a crescent shaped cut in the flesh and then it pushes that flesh aside as the needle moves through. It doesn’t actually punch through the skin or cut out a bit of flesh. It slices through it cleanly and sharply.

The piercer will push the needle through the area to be pierced, either by hand or sometimes with the aid of a needle pusher or holder. Sometimes a cork will be placed on the exit side to catch the end of the needle and keep it from pricking the piercer or another part of your body. Clamps may sometimes be held in the piercers other hand to secure the area to be pierced. Not using clamps is called free-hand piercing. Some piercers choose to not use clamps at all, while some use them occasionally, depending on what piercing they’re performing. Choosing to use or not use them is usually no reflection on the piercer’s skill or technique. Sometimes it’s just a comfort thing for them.

Once the needle is in, the jewelry will be inserted into the hollow, non-pointed end of the needle, so that when the needle is pushed out and removed completely, the jewelry follows and is left behind with no break in the transfer.

In the UK, you’re more likely to see a needle containing a cannula (or catheter), which is a hollow plastic tube placed at the end of the needle. This is because some countries consider the US’s straight hollow needle to be a medical device and is illegal for body piercers to use them.

The cannula piercing needle:

The piercing will be performed in the same way as described above, but once the piercing is done, the needle will be slid out the back of the cannula, leaving the plastic tube behind in the new piercing. The jewelry will then be inserted into the end of this plastic tubing, and as the tube is removed, the jewelry will be left behind. Again, it’s very similar to the US’s piercing technique.

The next tool is the dermal punch, sometimes also called a biopsy punch. This is used to core out a cylinder of flesh for jewelry to be placed into. It’s most commonly done for implantation piercings, like microdermals, transdermals, subdermal silicone implants, etc. Though it has also been used to create large gauge cartilage piercings, in conches, helixes, lips, earlobes, etc. Dermal punches can also be used as a “head start” on the stretching process, by getting pierced at a larger size, you don’t have to bother stretching up from smaller sizes. They come in various sizes and diameters, and sometimes even shapes like hearts and stars.

The dermal punch:

Piercing guns should NEVER EVER be used to pierce human flesh. These machines were originally designed to tag livestock, not put earrings in the human body. I’ve already covered the dangers and horrors of the piercing gun in a previous post, so I won’t repeat myself here. You are more than welcome to check that post out later if you’d like to know more.

https://steelbonehornstone.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/something-very-close-to-my-heart/

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE GETTING A PIERCING
While many modifications are to be considered permanent, piercings fall in the very small gray area in between permanent and temporary. While a piercing can be removed at any time, sometimes the fistula doesn’t fully close, or doesn’t close at all, and a scar could be left behind if it does close. So while the piercing may be gone, there is a scar that can remain and will probably fade over the years. Over the counter treatments such as Bio Oil can help reduce the look of these scars, but most are permanent.

One very important thing to remember about piercings is that they are considered a very invasive surgical procedure. You are putting a very deep, very intense puncture wound into your body, frequently completely through parts of the body. Puncture wounds are very dangerous even under the best of circumstances, so it’s VERY important that you know what to expect while getting pierced, and afterward.

Many, many people have suffered infections, and even died, from being improperly pierced, piercing themselves, or not taking proper care of their piercings after the procedure. I’m going to say this loud and clear:

Piercings can, and have, killed people.

They are not accessories to be taken lightly. They’re not a necklace you can pull on and off as you please, I cannot stress enough how dangerous piercings can be. Basic infections are very common if you don’t take care of your piercing or choose a bad or irresponsible piercer, the terrible infection MRSA is a big risk, rejection, migration, among other complications.

Here’s one story of a poor boy who suffered from the very serious MRSA infection from getting pierced: http://www.wjactv.com/health/16189269/detail.html

Another boy, this time from the UK, died of blood poisoning after piercing his lip: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/nov/09/health.healthandwellbeing

The first story in this article is about a girl from the UK who ended up totally 100% paralyzed from a piercing. http://news.bmezine.com/2010/11/12/modblog-news-of-the-week-november-12th-2010/

Here’s a more graphic story, so be warned before viewing. This poor girl had the cartilage in her ear liquefy after suffering an infection from a piercing. http://news.bmezine.com/2006/07/24/gun-piercing/

These are not all that uncommon stories; these are not one in a million, just unlucky folks. These are very real risks you take while getting pierced. You can be permanently disfigured, suffer lasting health problems, even die from these piercing procedures. Think of that before you head down to the local mall to get your nose pierced with the same piercing gun that’s been used on a few hundred people before you and they can’t be cleaned. Think of that before you hit up the local piercing shop that smells bad, that has dirty surfaces, and is willing to pierce anyone who will lay down the money, underage or not. Remember that before you decide to ignore a professional’s advice and cleaning instruction and just do whatever you want.

HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD PIERCING ARTIST
Here’s where a lot of the repeated information will come in. Many of the same important points addressed in finding a good tattoo artist are the same for finding a good piercing artist.

One of the best places to start searching is by using the APP website, the Association of Professional Piercers. They are the leading authority on body piercing in the US. Their regulations and guidelines are law in many states. Unfortunately, their website search function only works for piercers in the US. You can use this page to start your search. If you can’t find a piercer in your specific city, try searching neighboring cities as well and expanding the search radius.

The APP’s website:
http://www.safepiercing.org/

The “Locate a member” search function:
http://www.safepiercing.org/locate-a-member/searchable-member-database/

First and foremost, a good professional piercer will NEVER EVER use a piercing gun. Period, end of story, no arguments. NO self respecting professional piercer will ever use a piercing gun on any part of the body, or will even advocate the use of one. If you walk in somewhere and the piercer reaches for a gun or comes at you with one, get up and walk out and never go back.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, what SHOULD you look for in a good piercer? One of the best credentials a piercer can have is an APP membership. This means they’re up to date on laws, regulations, the newest innovations in the field, health and safety laws, etc. But it can be expensive to maintain, so if a piercer isn’t a member that does not make them a hack in any way. As with the tattooist, ask for any other licenses, certificates, memberships, or awards the piercer may have. Demand to see autoclave records. Ask for the piercer’s portfolio. Ask them where they took their apprenticeship, for how long, and who their mentor was.

Professional piercers will never pierce out of their or someone else’s home, their car, a basement, or anywhere other than the designated clean room in their piercing shop. They will fully and completely answer any questions you may have. Don’t ever be afraid that your question is dumb or silly, because a professional will answer any question you have.

And again, trust your gut. If you don’t like anything about the shop, the employees, or anything else, just leave and find a new shop. Remember, was with the tattoo artist, this person is performing a service for you, and could potentially put your life at risk if they perform that service improperly, so it is very important that you are perfectly happy with what they have to say and how they present themselves and their shop.

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU GO GET PIERCED
So, you have decided to get pierced at this beautiful shop with the friendliest and most knowledgeable piercers you can find. Now what? How do you know what to get?

Starting off, the basics. Yes, it WILL hurt. There is no way around this, at all. How MUCH it hurts depends on several factors: the skill of your piercer, the particular piercing you want, the method of piercing the artist will use, your own personal pain threshold, and how you take care of your piercing and your body in the days to follow.

I cannot tell you what you SHOULD get, what would look good on you, or anything like that. DO NOT leave comments asking me those questions. Piercings are one hundred percent relative, based entirely on personal aesthetics. I will never tell someone what they SHOULD get, because that is not my decision to make, it is YOURS and yours alone. If you want to ask your friends and family what they think would look good on you, those are the opinions and thoughts that matter. NOT strangers on the internet who don’t care about you, who don’t know you, and will never see you. Ultimately, get what YOU want, what YOU think you’ll look good with. Get what you’re willing to take care of and what you’re willing to see in the mirror every day.

No, you will not be given any sort of numbing agent at all. It is illegal for piercers to use injectable numbing agents like lidocaine or anything else, since these can only be administered by licensed medical professionals. Most piercers are not licensed MEDICAL professionals; therefore, they cannot use those anesthetics. I have heard that some piercers will actually take the necessary education, classes, and schooling to become medical professionals enough to use these anesthetics, but those are incredibly rare individuals. And besides, most piercings aren’t nearly painful enough, or last long enough, to warrant the use of these anesthetics.

Once you understand that, think long and hard about what piercing you want to get. Stand in front of the mirror and imagine what you would look like with the piercing. Fake it for a while by wearing a fake ring or gluing or sticking on a gem to replicate the look of a stud. Think about potential complications you might have. Like say, if you wear glasses, then a bridge piercing might not be a good idea. If you wear metal and wire braces, a lip ring probably isn’t a good idea right now. Know the risks associated with specific piercings and piercing locations. Think about what you’re going to be doing in the near future that might affect the healing of your piercing. If you’re going camping in two days, getting pierced today isn’t a good idea. If you’re planning on swimming a lot now that summer’s hit, then getting a new piercing now isn’t a good idea, wait until summer is over. These are ALL things you really need to consider before going back to the shop to get pierced.

But say you have decided to get pierced, you know what you want and know all the inherent risks involved. What can you expect to happen when you go in for it? Ideally, you should have made an appointment and you’re coming back on that day. Some shops allow walk-ins, or they may be slow enough in the shop to get you in right away. Either way, when you walk in, someone should greet you at the counter. Explain why you’re there and the piercer should be called over. From there, discuss with the piercer what you’d like to do. The piercer then should allow you to choose what jewelry you’d like to start with. Not all options will be available to you right away, but they should allow you to pick what you’d like from the available starter jewelry.

Once that’s been decided, the piercer will lead you into the designated piercing room. This is usually at the back of the shop, in a completely separate room. It should have a real door, no windows and NOTHING should be made of cloth. Every surface should be non-porous so it can be fully sterilized and cleaned properly.

The piercer will then sit you down, or sometimes even lay you down, and will clean the area to be pierced. The area will then be marked and you will be asked for your approval. Once the placement has been decided, then the piercing will begin.

Watch the piercer’s every move. They should be washing their hands CONSTANTLY with soap and water. They should be changing their gloves CONSTANTLY. Everything should be opened in front of you from fully sealed sterile packages. Most will have a small rolling metal table that doctors and dentists sometimes use, and it will have everything needed on it. Once everything is ready the piercer will lay you down or have you recline, you shouldn’t be sitting fully up under your own power since many people have been known to pass out or faint while getting pierced and reclining or lying down can greatly reduce this.

As was stated above, how the actual piercing will be performed depends a lot on what it is you’re getting, who is performing it, and your location in the world. But either way, the piercer will line up the needle and clamps, if clamps are needed, get all set and ready to go, then they will have you take a large deep breath in, hold it for just a second, then have you release the breath. As you release, that is when the needle will be inserted and the piercing performed. Make sure you breathe slowly and deeply the entire time just before and following the piercing, don’t hold your breath or forget to breathe, make a conscious effort to keep breathing slowly and deeply. The pain should only be momentary and then a dull soreness may follow. Once the piercing is performed, the jewelry will be inserted and you’re done!

You are now officially pierced.

In the next entry, we’ll discuss the aftercare of your particular piercing, what you should and shouldn’t do to it and with it, what happens if you notice something wrong it or if you have any concerns or complications. We’ll discuss the difference between infection and irritation, which is VERY important that you learn to recognize. So stay tuned!

Let the flames begin…

This may not apply to everyone, but I figure it still needs to be said. It’s going to be very personal to me, but I’d like you all to read it, as I’m sure this has happened to everyone at one point or another, in some form.

If this sounds like a rant, it kind of is.

I’ve been called all sorts of names over my years in the body mod community. Stuck up, arrogant, know it all, bitchy, pretentious, among others that I should leave out of this polite conversation. I try not to let it get to me, but sometimes, that hurts more than mean comments on my mods themselves.

I like to think I know what I’m talking about. I would never give anyone bad information or bad advice, I go out of my way to know the proper ways and terms so when people do ask for help, I can help the best I can. That was really my entire motivation behind this blog, to share my knowledge and experience with people who ask for it. I’ve been there, I’ve done most things, and I’ve learned quite a bit from it. I would have LOVED someone like me around to tell me good and bad things when I was new to the body modification community. I didn’t, so now I’m trying to do for others what wasn’t done for me, to make the world a better place.

But many times this seems to backfire on me. Someone will ask for advice, I give it, and then they spit in my face. You asked me why your piercings were infected when you had your friend pierce you in their bedroom, you let your friends touch them with their dirty hands, and then you “clean” them with alcohol. I instruct you on the reasons why it’s infected and ways to help, and then you tell me “What do YOU know? You’re just stuck up, you’re no professional! Why should I listen to you?!”

You just ASKED ME FOR HELP. I assume you asked me because you wanted my thoughts and suggestions on what should be done. I gave them to you. Why get mad at me when I tell you what you’ve done is wrong? If you had known the right way, you wouldn’t be asking for help. Do you get mad at your mechanic when he tells you you’ve been using the wrong oil in your car, because you listened to your untrained and uneducated friend instead of talking to a mechanic? No, you take his advice and get your car fixed based on what he says. Do you talk back to your doctor when he tells you that if you had washed your hands all the time in the winter, you probably wouldn’t have caught the flu? No, you take his advice and wash your hands before touching your nose, mouth, eyes and face and you take the medicine he gives you.

I may not be a professional, but I like to think that I’m at least getting there as far as knowledge is concerned. I’ve gone over in a previous post why I’m not a professional tattoo artist or piercer, and I won’t do it again here. You can go back and read that if you’d like to know. I also like to think that people ask me for help and advice because they at least think, if not know, that I’ll give good advice and guidance and not lead them into more destructive habits, ways, or information. Excuse me if I’m wrong here.

When in conversations about body modification, I’m often singled out as being the only “serious” one, because I do take it very seriously. I know when to joke, I know how to recognize sarcasm and facetiousness, and I know when to not be so serious. But just because I don’t feel like joking at the time, doesn’t mean I’m stuck up and “can’t loosen up”. It just means I don’t feel like playing along with the joke. There’s nothing wrong with that, at least I think so.

I don’t try to come off as stuck up, and if I do, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that knowing what I’m talking about makes me stuck up. Or that when people ask for help and I don’t validate their bad practices that it makes me a bitch. Does that mean I’m going to stop? Probably not, because the majority of people honestly want the help they’ve asked for. But like all other forms of negativity, the bad ones overshadow the good.

Like I said, it’s hard to not let this sort of negativity get to me. But it does suck. I offer help when it’s asked for, there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t walk up to people on the street and say “That’s a crappy tattoo, here’s my blog, with how to recognize a good tattooist from a bad one.” I don’t point to people’s piercings and say “That’s incredibly infected. You probably let your boyfriend stab your face with a rusty needle, huh? You’re stupid, and I’m the best, here’s how you can fix it.” I don’t do that AT ALL, but that’s how people seem to be receiving my help, even when they ASK FOR IT. If you didn’t want to hear better ways to take care of your piercings and tattoos, then why did you ask for better ways to take care of your piercings and tattoos?

If we’re having a conversation about body modifications, in any way, and you don’t like what I have to say, don’t jump down my throat about it. I expressed my feelings and opinions on the subject, just like everyone in the conversation is doing, so why are my feelings somehow “less” or “not as relevant” as someone else’s? That’s not fair.

I shouldn’t have to say all this, but apparently I do. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves at the moment. It’s so frustrating that all I’m trying to do is HELP. I’m not trying to talk down to anyone, I’m not trying to make anyone feel stupid or dumb or anything, I’m just trying to offer advice and help and all I get in return is negative responses and name-calling. I really am sorry if I come off as anything but helpful, but that’s not my intention at all. You really have to see it from my end as well.

Imagine that your friend has asks you what you think of their new dress. You don’t like it, so you say something like “I don’t like sleeveless styles or that many frills. And you really shouldn’t be wearing something that short to a very formal dinner with your new boyfriend and his parents, it’s a little inappropriate. Maybe if you got something a little less colorful, a little less flamboyant, maybe a little more modest but still pretty and cute?” Then your friend starts going off “I don’t care what YOU think! I got it for myself only! Screw you and your thoughts. Who asked you anyway, you’re no fashion professional! Why don’t you go screw off, you uptight loser!” It’s the same thing with me and body mod conversations.

I don’t give validation very well. I don’t think it’s helpful to any situation at all. If I agree with what you’re doing, I’ll tell you. But if I don’t, then I’ll tell you that, too. Never forget that YOU ASKED FOR MY THOUGHTS on something , if you didn’t actually want to hear what I thought, then why did you ask in the first place? If you ask for opinions, for thoughts, for advice or for guidance, do not spit in the face of the person offering those thoughts and advice. People are less likely to help you in the future if they know you’re not going to be receptive to anything they have to say anyway.

My thoughts on the new TLC show “Tattoo School”.

It’s been said best once, so why waste my breath?

He is a seasoned, weathered, experienced tattoo artist, so offensive language will be contained within.

What are your thoughts on this new show? Good idea or bad? Do you think it will have lasting effects on the tattoo community, artists and collectors alike, or will it just be a passing fad show?

The change starts with YOU.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror… If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make that change.” ~ Michael Jackson

This is probably the most important post I’ll ever make on this blog.

As a visibly modified person, I have experienced more than my fair share of negativity. Some of it is worse than others, some is just honest ignorance or curiosity and not knowing what to say or how to say it, and some is meant to be hurtful and mean. It’s important to recognize which is which and how you should handle each one. Negativity can take many forms: verbal comments, physical gestures, inappropriate touching or grabbing, things whispered behind your back or said when people think you’re out of earshot.

I want to stress this one point very much, so I’m going to be saying it over and over: We are all a representation of our modified community. How we act, what we say, and how we present ourselves is a reflection of this community as a whole. If people see us as mean, disrespectful, uneducated, dirty, or rude, they are going to believe that all modified people are the same way, and we really don’t need any more of that in the world. Many times, people react negatively to modified people just because they are uninformed about this art form, either because they choose to be misinformed or uninformed, their religious beliefs doesn’t allow them to be understanding or respectful, or they’ve just never been exposed to it. It is up to us to show and educate these people about our passion, and to do it in the right way.

Much of this entry will be personal stories from myself, as well as from others in the body mod community. I feel that personal experiences are the best way to show how to properly respond to people, strangers and family and friends alike. This entry will probably be very long, but stick with it, there will be a lot of helpful advice within.

The most important weapon you can use to combat negativity is education. If you educate yourself and know what you’re talking about, then you know when to correct people, how to correct them, and you’ll know that your information is correct and accurate. Talk to professionals, do your own objective research, talk to trusted friends and representatives of the community at large, read blogs like this one and others, the more people you can talk to the better. There is no such thing as too informed, too educated.

Another important weapon is confidence. If you KNOW that you made a good decision about your modification, then nothing anyone says can deter you. If you love yourself and whole heartedly believe that what you’re doing is good for you, in mind, body and soul, then nothing can ever change that.

One of my best personal stories about dealing with negativity took place a few years ago, when I still had my text armband tattoo on my left arm. It read “All the world is good material” and I always had people stopping me and asking me what it said and what it meant. One day I was standing in the grocery store, looking at one thing or another. I set the item back on the shelf, turned to my right to move along, and all of a sudden someone grabbed my left arm right above the elbow and pulled me back. What’s a woman’s first reaction to being grabbed? I just reacted and my fist went flying, hitting this strange man square in the chest. I hit him so hard it actually knocked some of the wind out of him. He starting raging at me, calling me horrible names and threatening to call the cops on me, when all he wanted was “to see my tattoo”. I threatened to file an assault claim against him because HE grabbed ME first, and I had the marks on my skin to prove it, and things just kept escalating. I eventually just left the store and never went back.

Admittedly, that wasn’t the best course of action to take in that situation, but this is also an extreme situation, one that’s actually pretty rare. Most people know not to grab others, but some feel that just because you’re modified it means that they can touch you and invade your personal space. This usually seems to happen to modified women more than men. I am going to make this incredibly clear right now: It is NEVER okay for someone to touch someone else without their express permission, so if someone ever grabs you or touches you in a way you are not okay with, do not ever be afraid to tell them that you are uncomfortable and that you want them to stop. Some people are just clueless and need to be told.

I have experienced more negativity about my modifications since moving to Utah than I ever did back when I was still living in Seattle, my home city. A lot of it has to do with this particular region and the beliefs down here, whereas Seattle is a very liberal city, a very artsy city, so people like me are more normal and barely warrant a second glance. I’ll get compliments every so often, but almost no negativity at all. Ever since moving to Utah, though, it’s been an entirely different story.

I’ve been asked to leave public places, by other patrons. I was sitting in a park once, reading a book while waiting for a friend. A group of kids and a few mothers were hanging out at the playground about thirty or forty feet from the bench I was sitting on. Suddenly a shadow moved over me and one of these mothers was standing in front of me. She said, and I’m paraphrasing a little bit, “I don’t want my daughter influenced by someone like you, or to see someone like you, so you need to leave this area.” She said a few other things, but that one really stuck out to me. I just looked at her, smiled, took another drag off my black cigarette, and went back to my book. By the way, there were no “No Smoking” signs anywhere around me, so I was free to have my once in a blue moon cigarette. It was a huge public park, which also had a playground in it, as most do. It’s not like it was JUST a playground park.

I’ve had horrible things yelled at me in public, in stores, grocery store parking lots, across produce departments, all over the place. People tell me I’m going to hell, that I’m a demon or the devil, that no one could or SHOULD love me because I’m ugly now, or that I’m destroying the temple that god gave me. I’ve had people ask me why I’d get “Oriental tattoos” when I’m not “Oriental” myself. I had a woman scoop up her child as she passed me and hiss “You think she’s a witch?” as I went by. I’ve been followed not very discretely by store security. Most of the time I don’t even acknowledge any of this, because most of these people are just over-grown bullies and until they get up in my face or physically assault me, they don’t even deserve my acknowledgement.

I hate to bring up this aspect of negativity, but it seems to be a big motivator for the negative people. Their religion tells them that modified people like you and me are bad, or somehow “less” than they are. Don’t get me wrong, some of the best people I’ve ever met claim to be very devout believers in whatever religion they choose to follow, they’re honest, hardworking, accepting, intelligent and very loving people. I would trust many of them with my very life. But unfortunately, most of the time, these super nice people are overshadowed by the very mean ones. Sadly, with these extremists, there’s not much you can do to sway them away from what they so firmly believe in. The best response is just no response. Don’t feed the trolls, as it were.

It’s really unfortunate that these so called “followers of a loving god” hate people who are different than they are, or who believe in something different, so much. I don’t want to name any particular religions specifically, since I’ve received negativity from someone who claimed to follow one of nearly all of the major ones, at least. It’s probably childish of me to do this, but it is pretty fun to know more about these people’s religions than they do. Take Christianity, for example, since it’s one of the largest religions in the world and has some of the most diverse denominations.

I’m going to say this loud and clear before I continue:

I DO NOT hate Christians, I don’t hate anyone. NOT ALL Christians are this way, I know and understand that. I am NOT picking on Christians purposely, or intentionally, or for any other reason. I’m simply using it as an example because it’s probably the largest religion throughout the world, and the one I’m personally the most familiar with.

My family is, historically, Catholic. Meaning back as far as anyone can remember, we’ve been a Catholic family. My grandmother is now a “fair weather” Catholic, as it were, since she’s gotten older, and even then she goes mostly for the social aspect of it, something to do, really. My father went to Catholic elementary school, then public junior and high school. My dad never forced my sister or me to go to church, and we went to public schools our whole lives. Growing up, my grandmother took us to Sunday Mass and holiday Mass, whenever we were around. We were never forced, really, but we went because we were respectful enough of our grandmother to do as she asked and told us. One of the best things she ever told me about negative religious people was: “God knows I love Him, why do I have to go to church and prove that to anyone else?” I’ve been living by that ever since I heard it.

I, personally, do not identify as Catholic, or hold any other religious affiliation. But because of my background, I at least know and understand Catholicism and at least the basic teachings of the Bible. So like I said, it may be childish of me, but I actually really enjoy contradicting people on their own religion.

I’ve done this several times when confronted by religious negativity. Someone once told me “Jesus doesn’t love you now that you’ve done that to yourself. How does that make you feel?” I smiled and said “Jesus doesn’t love YOU because of how mean and judgmental you are. How does that make YOU feel?” I shouldn’t have been mean back, but sometimes it’s honestly just needed, especially when confronted with something THAT mean. These are the people not worth educating, because they’ll never listen to what you have to say, or be receptive to any education you may have to offer. The best you can do is tell them in one way or another that you don’t appreciate what they have to say, and recite either “Treat others they way you want to be treated,” or “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I’ve done that before, too. The trick is to develop a very sharp silver tongue, so these people don’t even realize that you’ve insulted them.

One of my favorite things that people do is quote the various Laws of Leviticus or Deuteronomy at me. Here’s a basic refresher on those laws, as well as others. This first page looks a little scary, but I read the whole thing and it’s okay. Disclaimer: I know that various editions and forms of the Bible DO vary in quotes and certain lines, but most of them are at least similar.

http://biblebabble.curbjaw.com/laws.htm

The Wikipedia page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Leviticus

The cutest Lego version of various Bible verses and scenes.
http://www.bricktestament.com/the_law/index.html#fashion

If someone tries to quote Bible verses at me, trying to shame me or make me feel bad about how I’ve chosen to decorate myself, some of my FAVORITE laws to quote back are:

Don’t cut your hair nor shave. (Leviticus 19:27)

Don’t wear clothes made of more than one fabric. (Leviticus 19:19)

Who DOESN’T do these two things on a fairly regular basis? So if you quote one Law at me, namely Leviticus 19:28: “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” then you better know and follow the REST of those oh so important Laws that you claim to live by, and you better know and understand the context in which these laws were written. The Bible is incredibly easy to misrepresent when taken out of context, as most people actually do. You can’t pick and choose parts of the Bible to follow and say are relevant to modern times, then ignore the ones that contradict themselves or that you don’t want to accept. Stoning disobedient children to death, anyone? You either adhere to it, ALL of it, fully and wholly, or not at all. And you can’t pick and choose parts of certain passages to quote and shame people with, you either use the entire passage in the proper context, or you shouldn’t be using it at all.

So there. Now anyway, MOVING ON!!!

Many people don’t fully understand the impact their words can have. What you think is just a harmless comment can actually be very rude to whoever you direct it at. A religious person telling you that you’re going to hell is not helpful, even if THEY might think it is, like if they tell you that what you’re doing is bad, that you’ll stop the behavior and be “saved”. This frustrates me so much, but in more ways than just the modification front.

Cheryl, 22, from Canada says about her experiences with negativity:
When I worked around people a long time ago I’d have people that would straight up avoid my till because of my facial piercings, and honestly I couldn’t say anything about it or confront them because I would get fired. If people did come to my till though and say negative things about them I’d just smile and say “Well, not everyone likes them.” and be as polite and nice as possible so they’d feel bad about the comment.

That’s a good way to deal with negativity in the workplace. You REALLY don’t want to make a scene at your place of employment when someone confronts you, but you also don’t want to let them think it’s okay to harass you just because you’re at work. Either ignore the comments, which is absolutely the best reaction, or brush it off with one simple statement like the one above. You never want to feed negativity, because that just makes it worse. Cheryl goes on to say:

This one man walked up to me in a grocery store and told me that I was a freak and that having piercings is not natural. I responded by telling him that his wife bleaching her hair was not natural either, but she still does it and I don’t call her a freak.

This is where education can come into play. Remember the previous post about “What is body modification”? Educate people that they perform some sort of body modification every day, you just chose to go farther down the spectrum than they do. Cheryl also says:

Another man walked up to me and told me that having piercings was destroying the temple that god gave me. The funny thing was though, he had an arm tattoo! So of course I had to say “And clearly you came out of the womb with that tattoo right? Or else you’d be destroying the temple that god gave YOU.” He gave me an odd look and walked away.

This is something that REALLY bothers me about people in the modified community, the hypocrisy that sometimes rears its ugly head. Some believe that you’re “not really modified” if you don’t have lots of piercings, lots of tattoos, certain kinds of tattoos or piercings, etc. This is the opposite end of that spectrum; people who are only slightly modified looking down on those who are more modified. We are ALL modified, we are ALL part of the same community, so why are we comparing each other? Also, that sort of hypocrisy with religious modified people really makes me angry and sad. These people will have pierced ears and maybe a navel ring, or a helix piercing, but will vehemently condemn people with a nose stud or lip ring. You are modified in the same way, just different location. Someone having their lip pierced is no worse than someone who had their ears pierced.

Dealing with family is a little bit harder than dealing with strangers. Family is important, and most people want their approval. To me, my dad is THE most important person in my life. Even if I lost everyone else in the entire world, so long as I had him, I’d be alright. I would never do anything that would make him not proud of me. Without his approval, I would be devastated. How does he feel about my modifications? He’s very old fashioned about beauty and appearance, and believes that I’m beautiful no matter what I do. He thinks I look better without makeup, with my naturally crazy curly hair, as au natural as I can get. I very much appreciate that, of course, but I, personally, feel more complete with my modifications. He doesn’t exactly like my modifications, but he doesn’t hate them either. He’s once said “I know you’re smart enough to not do anything detrimental or harmful, so whatever. You’re an adult.” And that’s the best I can hope for. I have sort of talked him into wanting to get a tattoo, which is fun. I’m helping him design it, too, which makes it even more awesome.

I’ve been lucky, my family is pretty neutral about my modifications. The general consensus among my family is “You’re an adult, you can make these decisions. Just don’t do anything stupid or that you’ll regret.” But many others aren’t as lucky as I am. Religious influences, family traditions, and old fashioned beliefs can make getting modified a very tough thing for many people.

Jeni, 22, from Arizona says:

When I first got tattooed, my family was okay with it. It was a simple ankle tattoo that they hardly saw. But as I got into piercings, my family became a bit more negative, especially when I got my septum pierced. They love to call it a “bullring” and they said that I don’t look any prettier with it. I told them straight up, “It’s my body, I can do what I want to it. I love the piercings I have, and I think that they make me more unique.” They of course, never really liked that answer. It basically shut them up for a time before they saw it hanging out in the open again.

Some families believe that harassment and negative comments will make people change their minds and do what they want them to do. This is very much not true. Harmful comments only serve to make people feel bad, and make them want to rebel, or withdraw. If someone in your family has a modification you don’t particularly care for, you can say something like “I’m not a huge fan of it, but if you like it, that’s all that matters.” Then leave it at that. Insults and negative comments don’t make any situation any better. Jeni continues:

When i got my chest piece, shit sorta hit the fan. My family wasn’t used to seeing so much artwork in one place. They of course said that it would affect my professional look and that it would be harder to get a job. Which, of course, they were partly correct. After I got my guns colored in, work back in California went downhill. Even though I was a supervisor, I was barely getting any hours to survive. But when I moved down here to Arizona, let’s just say people are beyond easy going. I actually have a lot of elderly couples ask me about my tattoo at work and want to see it, they absolutely love it, especially when I tell them the story behind it. My boss has straight up told me that even though I’m more modded than most, my tattoos and piercings will not affect his outlook of me. And on another note, every time I mention getting a tattoo or a piercing, my dad simply says “Another one?” but as of lately he’s been responding with “Well, when are you going to help me get mine?” So after years of being judged with negativity, my dad has come to a point where he is enjoying my body mods. Hell, I even got him to the point where he wants a tattoo.

Most of the time, family is out for your best interest. They worry that certain modifications will really hinder your future prospects for school, jobs, relationships, etc. They just don’t know how express it in a positive way.

Lauren, 19, from the USA has this to say:
Ah negativity. I have dealt a lot with it especially in my family, strangers tend to ask about my tattoos but then leave me alone. Every time I get a new tattoo my family has some downer comment to make except my grandfather because he loves tattoos and would have more but he is on blood thinners. When people ask me the age old question, “How do you think they will look when you are 80?” I respond with, “Well, when I am 80, I am going have more to worry about than my tattoos. I got them for all sorts of reasons, when I am 80 I am going to love the saggy, wrinkly, faded look they will have. To me it shows character and just like me they will age with me, reminding me of my past of who I was.” I get a WTF look, but I don’t care I guess they weren’t expecting a thought out response.

This is something I’ve done myself, have thought-out responses to common questions or comments that are presented to me. It might sound silly to have pre-made responses to give to people, but when you get the same questions or comments over and over and over again, it just makes it easier. It’s best to just have one or two lines to say, so you and they can move on. If they end up being really nice or interested, or if you’re willing to answer more questions, then by all means, stick around, you just might make a new friend. But sometimes, we are in a hurry or a bad mood and just don’t want to talk to people. In this case, I’ve actually gone around with headphones on with my iPod, even though it’s not on all the time. People see you’re listening to something and tend to leave you alone, or not bother you. This is GREAT when I just really don’t want to listen to anyone. Lauren continues:

My labret stud no one really cares about, I guess it is the fact it can be removed so my family doesn’t care. My stretched lobes (0ga) drive my mom nuts. She loathes them. I always get the “Oh god, your ears can fit Coke cans in them, they looks stupid, oh god that is hideous, they stink (they don’t), they are ugly.” I eventually told her to shut the hell up about it. I told her that her bitching about them isn’t going to make me take out my plugs and let them shrink up, and is going to put a wall between us which for a while it did. She then came around and realized that they aren’t THAT big and they don’t stink. She still hates them, but she realized that I am not like most people and I don’t wish to look like the “normal” person.

Sometimes, with family, it has to come down to this. But don’t be mean or hurtful in return! Just stand your ground, tell them that what they say to you is hurtful and that you do not appreciate it. And if that they continue to only have negative things to say, you will no longer come around them, or allow them in your house. You absolutely have the right to control who comes in and out of your life, and you deserve to not have negative people in your life, even if they are family. Lauren concludes:

She became more accepting of my body mods because I have recently decided to make tattoos and piercings my life’s work. I don’t care what people say about my body mods, I got them for me, not my husband, my mom, my friends, my peers, no one. It is all me. People can bash (which I had a few people bash my mods) and my family can hate/bash my mods, but I just tell them how I feel and blow off what they say. I love my tattoos and would feel naked without them. I love my skin, I love my body and I feel the tattoos add to them.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, it really is YOUR body to do with as you please. So long as what you do is safe, sane, clean and done with positive intentions, you can do what makes you feel good. Don’t be too influenced by family or strangers on what you want to do. Opinions and thoughts are nice, but at the end of the day, you need to do what makes YOU feel good about yourself. If getting your lip pierced will make you happy, then do it, just make sure you do it properly and take care of it.

Humans are social creatures. We all, deep down, want to be accepted and loved by the people around us. Some of us need to find a new group to belong to if our current one doesn’t accept us. The body modification community is a very accepting place, for all people who want to be a part of it. We’re all the same, we’ve all experienced similar things from non-modified people, we sometimes even share similar backgrounds and feelings and morals and values.

As members of this still at least partially oppressed community, we need to start making the change to better the world’s view of us. WE need to be the change, WE need to start with ourselves and how WE react to other people. Reacting negatively to negativity only further breeds it, feeds it, and allows it to spread. I understand that we all have bad days, we all snap and say things we wish we could take back, but on the whole, we need to remain positive even in the face of ignorance, hate, and lack of education.

Change starts with YOU. So go out there and start being the change that YOU want to see.

Ka-put

So, I’m sorry for the no posts lately. My computer’s charger cord has completely bitten the dust and I’m waiting on another to come in the mail. ALL of my information, scripts, etc. are on that laptop and now that it’s battery is completely dead, I can’t retrieve anything until I get the new cord.

BUT!!! I also ordered some new stretched ear jewelry and some new CBR’s for my labret and once those come in, I’ll post pictures.

So sit tight, the new cord should be here before the end of the week, or just into next week (holiday weekend ruins the mail system), and I PROMISE that as soon as I get it, I’ll have another post up. It’s ready to go, the computer just needs power.

Previous Older Entries