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The Piercing I Never Wanted...

For as long as I can remember, I NEVER wanted a septum. Never. I still can't quite believe that I actually did it. There are several reasons why I eventually did it... it was planned, well-thought out and carefully executed.

I have a lot of piercings now. Prior to getting my septum done, I was at 14, 17 holes (there's a few industrials and orbitals included in that count), and several holes that I have retired. I had finally finished my ear projects, which took 12 of those total 14 piercings. It took me four long years to get those complete. One of my non-ear piercings is my tongue, which I've wanted for a very long time, at least since eighth grade, which was 6 years ago. The other is my nostril, which was another weird decision. I don't remember ever wanting a nostril or septum, or anything in my nose really. But I absolutely love my nostril. It's my only really visible piercing that I absolutely can't hide with my hair or by keeping my mouth closed. I also have a big, beautiful tattoo. All of this being as it is, I am hopelessly addicted to BME. I have to look at the pictures, I have to read the experiences, I HAVE to read QOD. I'm one of those people who gets very belligerent if there are le ngthy periods between updates.

So, since I spend so much time on the site, I often look at pictures of or read experiences about things I'd never consider getting, because they're interesting. Like suspension... I don't really want to do it myself, but I find the descriptions of the spirituality involved absolutely fascinating. I guess septums started out under that category.

Eventually I was looking at a lot of septum pictures, deciding what I liked and what I didn't. I found that I really didn't like CBR's, but that circular barbells had a certain appeal when worn in the septum. I also found the experiences very interesting, because almost all of them claimed that it hurt so badly, and that it was one of the most painful piercings they had ever gotten. That in itself intrigued me. I wondered how badly it actually hurt. I did pretty well with cartilage... would it be like that? I thought I was pretty tough as far as handling pain. Did I have what it takes to get a septum? So I guess part of my reasoning for getting this piercing was to prove to myself that I could handle it. I wanted to know, I wanted the experience.

That drove me to like the look of septums more and more. It's like wearing a badge of courage in your nose. You've done something that takes some guts, both to have done, and to stand out in a crowd with a honking piece of metal shoved up your nose and take the ridicule.

The more I researched, the more I wanted one. I timidly proposed the idea to Krystal, my best friend, my roommate, because it's not an idea to be taken lightly, and because I filter all my ideas (piercing or not) through her. She didn't think it would look good on me, and advised against it. She knew very well that wasn't going to stop me. My other best friend, Skatt, hated the idea. He asked the eternal anti-septum question: "Why do you want to look like a bull?" He hates all nose piercings in general, and can't fathom why people like them. So, the reactions from the two people most important to me were, to say the least, discouraging. I also got many other bad reactions, from other friends. Not a single good one. I didn't think those to be favorable omens, so I said I was not going to get one, and I put the idea "out of my mind for good" (i.e. on the back burner). Those ideas NEVER go away.

A few weeks later I was talking to my friend Anuh from back home, and she was also thinking about getting her septum done. Like myself, she had gotten very involved in piercing, and was amassing her own extensive collection. We talked more about it, and we agreed that the hideable factor was key to the appeal of the piercing. If you didn't want people to see it, you'd just pop in a retainer and flip it up. No big deal. Huge advantage. I had finally gotten fuel for my fire, the support I needed. So, we talked about it several times. We decided that when I went home for the summer, we would get together and go on a piercing excursion, and have them done together. I liked that idea, seeing as how I hadn't seen Anuh since graduation.

I told Krystal (of course, I tell her everything). She knew better than to try to persuade me otherwise once my mind was set on a piercing. I didn't tell Skatt that I would be getting it done anyway. I knew he'd flip out since he was so very disgusted by the suggestion. So I kept it a secret from him, and everyone else. I went back home, saved up the money little by little, and kept calling Anuh...

Yeah, I kept calling her alright, but she wasn't calling me back. I was having a spectacularly awful summer. I had no one to hang out with. I did nothing but work 44 hrs a week. And then I was housesitting and taking care of a really old dog who suddenly couldn't walk, climb steps into the house, stand up, control his bodily functions, or stop barking or stop eating his own leg. For three weeks I did nothing but carry this dog around and clean up after him. The summer was just not fun at all, and I wanted this piercing more, so that I could at least say the piercing was something good that came out of this whole craptacular summer. So I decided not to wait for Anuh, and set out on my own.

So on my next day off, I headed down to my usual piercer in my hometown. Debbie has a very small jewelry business, Enchanted Jewelry. For the most part, they do custom order jewelry, engravings, watch batteries, clasp fixing, and all that run of the mill type stuff. My hometown is just a conservative place, where only bad people get piercings. It's not accepted at all. Debbie advertises only that she sells body jewelry, not that she actually pierces, so not many people know about it. I found out quite by accident; I was looking around and someone came in wanting an eyebrow piercing. It's not a very big store, so she doesn't have a whole lot of business. She's done a lot of my piercings, so she knows me and my threshold of pain very well, and she gives me discounts on a lot of my piercings and jewelry, since she has her own small business. I'm very comfortable with her, and how she does things. I've never had any problems with any of the piercings she's done.

But every summer Debbie goes on vacation. And it's always right when I lose a ball or a bead, or want to have a piercing done. And so that's what happened, I went down only to find out she was on vacation until the following week. I took the opportunity to check out another local shop, and, finding it ridiculously below standards, waited until Debbie got back. I hit more bad luck when I showed up about half an hour before closing on her first day back only to find that she had to take her son to his GED class. She felt bad, because it was me and I'm a regular. But I told her what I wanted so that she could be ready for it first thing the next day, which I had off.

So FINALLY I went to Enchanted to actually get my piercing done. Debbie was expecting me. So we went in the back of the shop (where no one is allowed unless they're getting a piercing) and downstairs, where she keeps all of her goodies. She took out an autoclaved, packaged needle, rummaged around in her packaged clamps until she found the kind she wanted, which were really tiny ones. She then took out a pad of something that looked iodinish. She cleaned out the inside of my nose with it, and having someone else put their fingers up your nose is pretty interesting. She then felt around for the spot she would have to pierce, and marked it (this was why the stuff on the pad looked iodinish, so that she could see the marks when it colored the inside of my nose). She clamped it, which made my eyes water a little. She said I was extremely brave to have this done, and warned me that my eyes were going to water a lot. Then she picked up the needle. I squeezed my eyes shut. And it di dn't hurt. Not at all. My eyes watered like hell. My whole head tensed up. I could feel the needle go through each layer of cartilage. Then Debbie put in the staple shaped retainer I had chosen (since I could not let my parents see it ever). It took awhile to dry up the stream of tears. I fell in love with that little retainer in my nose at first sight. Then we looked though the rest of her jewelry for a circular barbell that I could wear when it healed, which is what I was planning to do. I eventually settled on one that was rather small, like I wanted, in diameter. I would have to replace the colored balls with some extra stainless steel ones I had for my tongue barbell, but it would do at least as something to start experimenting with to figure out the actual dimensions I wanted. Then I could have it custom made. She gave me a discount on it, charged me $40 for everything, piercing and extra jewelry. I went on my merry way.

One of the first things I had to do was figure out how to flip it up and get it back down. I have discovered that, because of the placement, I can flip it down in the direction back towards my mouth, but I have to flip it up in the opposite direction, and kind of pinch my nose to elongate my nostrils so it'll fit up there. I personally like the staple shape. It's given me no problems, and it's a little more difficult for it to slip out of my nose (which did happen one morning about three weeks later- all it took was a little Astroglide and it slid right back in). I clean it twice a day with Q-tips in salt water. I flip it down too to clean all around, and I haven't found that the staple shape has really complicated the cleaning. For the first few days I did a short soak of my nose in the cup, but I really found it uncomfortable to breathe through my mouth that way, so I stopped. The piercing really complicates blowing the nose, because it blocks a lot of what should come out of there. For the first day there was no pain, just a slight stinging sensation. Then it got very sore and sensitive. It was hard to wash my face for a few days, and I had to be very careful of bumping it in the shower. Even so, even the worst bump only stings for a few seconds and brings on a little eye watering fit.

All in all, this really wasn't a bad piercing to get. I thought the pain would be excruciating, and it ended up not hurting at all. It can be a bit tricky to clean and flip (if you get it done with a retainer), but it just takes time and patience, and it's nothing you can't get used to. I started wearing my retainer down at work once in awhile. I got a lot of "did that hurt" questions. People are confused when I answer no. But there hasn't really been any negative response. As soon as I got back to school, I was able to finally wear out real jewelry in the piercing. I first put in the circular barbell I had brought from Debbie. But I found that the opening between the balls was much too small, so that it didn't look great. One of the first things I did was buy a slightly bigger, 7/16" diameter stainless steel circular barbell which came with spikes as well as an extra set of regular balls. I loved the spikes immediately. I am extremely happy with this piercing, and I'm glad that I got it done. It takes a lot of getting used to, but I love the fact that's it's something different, and I've grown to love a piercing that I never wanted in the first place.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 10 Sept. 2003
in Nose Piercing

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Artist: Debbie+St.+George
Studio: Enchanted+Jewelry
Location: Danielson%2C+CT

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