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navel by Lani

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I just got my navel pierced, so I felt inspired to write about my

piercing experience. I went to see Joe Kirkpatrick at "Piercings by Lani" in Cleveland, TN; he runs a piercing studio in the back of his house. My friend and I had gone to see him to buy jewelry for tongue piercings before, but I had never actually had him pierce anything before. I've been feeling really out of control of my life lately, so a new piercing seemed like the perfect catharsis... nothing like a little pain to induce some clarity. :) I've always been a little insecure about my stomach, and this seemed like a good way to rise above my insecurity, to prove to myself that no one can tell me how to feel about myself but me. Plus I've been thinking of getting my nipples pierced soon, and I figured that this would be a good lead-in.

I decided to go alone to make it my experience, so I showed up at Lani's

ready to go. I thought I was going to be really nervous, but surprisingly, it all felt pretty natural to me. I waited on the couch while Joe got all of the piercing instruments ready, so that when it was time to pierce he could just take me on back with minimal waiting time; that way there was no room for nervousness to build. Joe took me back to his office and helped me pick out the jewelry. I chose a curved barbell with a clear jewel on the end, which would peek out of my belly button. He explained about aftercare and what to expect, and then he gave me a sheet with all of the care instructions printed on it. I was supposed to wash with antibacterial soap twice a day and then put bacitracin on it; he gave me a small package of it so that I didn't have to go buy it myself. Then he said to rinse it in saline solution when the bacitracin ran out and not to use Neosporin AT ALL. Then I gave him my money (of course) and he took me on back to the piercing room.

I pulled up my shirt and tucked it into my bra and stood in front of Joe.

Then he took a sharpie marker and marked entry and exit holes on my navel. Then he wiped this stuff all around my belly button to sterilize it. Next, he took his clamps and positioned them carefully around the marks he made. This was honestly the most uncomfortable part of the whole experience. When he was satisfied with the position of the clamps, he wrapped a rubber band around the handles to hold them in place and asked me to hold the clamps in place while I lay down on the table. After I had positioned myself on the table and placed my head on the pillow, he took the clamps from me and I closed my eyes. I started to talk to him about school and stuff, and then all of a sudden I was pierced. I don't think I even knew it was happening until it was already over. The pain was so quick that it hardly even registered until the needle was already through. Joe said, "Guess what, you're pierced." I said, "That's it?" And he put the barbell through the hole and said, "All I have to do now is screw in the bead." After he had screwed it in, he told me that I was bleeding a little and wiped something on the piercing (I think an antibacterial cream).

So I was all pierced and feeling fine.  Then I looked down at it to see

what it looked like. I don't know if it was raising my head or just the sight of the blood, but all of a sudden I felt really lighteheaded. When I finally sat up, I thought I was going to hit the floor. So I just sat there on the table while Joe put a fan on me to give me some air. He was really attentive and was sooooo great with the aftercare. I sat down and drank water while the fan was blowing on me, and we talked for a while until I felt recuperated enough to stand up. He said that he gets a lot more lightheaded customers after navel piercings than tongue piercings, which made me feel better about being a little woozy. Joe was so kind and professional about the whole experience that I would definitely go back to him again. Then before I left, he said to wait, that he wanted to take a picture of the piercing for his book. He has this book that he shows customers of his work so that they can see the quality of what he does and see the different jewelry types before they decide what they want. I stood there while he put the camera right in front of my belly button and snapped a photo. So now my belly is immortalized at Piercings by Lani. I think I've come a long way from that former insecurity about my stomach!!!

Driving home, I started to feel it sting a lot more.  It kind of took me

by surprise, but I didn't care because it looked so fantastic. I could hardly keep my eyes on the road because I kept wanting to look at it. It bled just a tiny bit off and on all that night, but by the next morning it wasn't bleeding anymore. It doesn't hurt that much unless I bend over or twist around, so I'm trying to keep my torso relatively steady. My friend with a regular belly ring said she was jealous of my piercing, mainly because I have the sparkly barbell instead of the ring. My grandmother said that now I can be a belly dancer since I have a jewel in my navel. But now she's scared about what I'm going to do next; she hates my pierced tongue. She said that if I get my nipples done, she's going to "write me off," but I know she's just bluffing. After all, I'm 23 and can poke whatever strikes me. Navel piercings aren't all that alternative, so I really haven't gotten any negative reactions. Mainly people are interested because the jewelry is a little different from the average...

I think it looks great;  he did a really good job.  And I would recommend

Joe to anyone who wants to have anything pierced. I'm going to go back to him to have my nipples done after my navel has sufficiently healed... [Sorry grandmother!] He puts the establishment who pierced me last to SHAME!!!

Thank you, Joe.  :)

seschier@atl.mindspring.com

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 June 1999
in Navel Piercing

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