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Family Bonding

Since middle school when I first pierced something other than my ear lobes, I've been extremely interested in body modifications of all types. I was very excited when my mother, modified herself, said for my sweet sixteen I could get a nostril piercing. We made plans with Jim, the owner and piercer at Flesh Gear not far from my home, and went in on my birthday.

On the way to the shop, my mom was grinning from ear to ear at the thought of her baby going through with a "life changing experience." I smiled back, not taking her completely serious, but thanks to her, I know understand how important body modification really is, not only to the body, but to the soul and to the connection of people to one another. That connecting feeling carried straight on into the appointment at Flesh Gear.

Everyone at the shop was very nice, and treated me as if I were an adult, even though I brought my mom along for the experience. I was a little nervous, because my nostril would be my first, but not last, facial piercing. I'd been stretching my ear lobes for a year or so at that point, so I had an idea of what I was going into, but regardless, Jim sat me down and explained exactly what would happen. First, we had to sign a consent form, agreeing that I was doing this at my own choice and that my guardian, here he joked with my mom a bit, but I don't remember exactly what the joke was, gave the go ahead whole heartedly. We paid for the time and gave what we could as a tip (it's good karma, you know), and listened readily for what would follow.

He then explained he would mark my nostril with a felt pen for placement, line up the needle, have me take a nice deep breathe, and push through. It sounded simple enough. He said after the initial push, he'd have to insert the jewelry, and that this part might be the most uncomfortable because he would be dealing with a new wound. Even with that little bit of information I was more than ready, so he lead me into the studio with the instruments and sterile equipment, marked my nostril, and had me verify the placement. Everything looked just fine to me, but to be kind, he asked my mom to double check it as well. She was all smiles and nodded proudly, saying it looked like it would be just beautiful, and she could not wait until we matched.

She and Jim joked a bit while he adorned gloves, unwrapped the needle and jewelry, and rechecked the placement. When he seemed set, he placed the needle against my nose, and asked if I was ready. Being a little shaky, my mom reached out and held my hand, and I said yes.

He gave me a warning and told me to take a deep breathe. As soon as I did, he pushed the needle straight through. I was expecting more of a pain, but it felt only like a pinch. It did make my eyes water just a bit at the same time, but that was the worst of it. While he inserted the jewelry and dabbed the bit of blood away, my mom looked over and told me she was very proud of her daughter, and very glad I'd become a woman in my own right. Jim, being a father himself, nodded in agreement, and said it was nice to see a mother and daughter bond over a "hole in the face." We both laughed, but knew we were somehow closer.

I've read many articles of other cultures that treat scarification and tattooing as rights of passage into adulthood, but it amazed me that my own family brought a part of that to the Americas. It made me proud as a daughter to see my mother treat something so many frown upon as something so profound and beautiful.

Many girls my age might have asked for a car for their sixteenth birthday, or clothes or money, but seeing that look on my mother's face was all I could have ever asked for.

Later in my life, I hope to include my mom in more of my transformation through modification. I know she'll be there through my first professional tattoo, she'll accept any and all new piercings I happen to come home with, and when I finally take the spiritual plunge into suspension, she'll be helping the whole team, and giving me all the encouragement I'd ever need.

For my family and I, body mods are more than a flashy accessory or an "unfriendly shout through personal mutilation." We view it as the tribes of our ancestors viewed it: an encouraging step into adulthood, and a unique way to finally find ourselves, inside and out.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 07 April 2008
in Nose Piercing

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Artist: Jim
Studio: Flesh+Gear
Location: Rockdale%2C+IL

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