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My pierced tongue (Living Art Studios)

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For a long time, I had wanted to do something a little crazy, something people wouldn't have expected of me-being an honors student and therefore kind of nerdly. I debated on piercings and tatoos, things my friends and I talked about occasionally, never having the balls to do any of it. I was particularly taken with the idea of a tongue ring-I spoke with many of my friends who had them up at school and they all were quite satisfied with theirs. So a week or so after i broke up with my boyfriend who was desperately against anything metal in my mouth (which wasn't the reason for the breakup), I had the urge to do something different.

That night I was calling tattoo and piercing parlors all around northern CT looking for the best deal. I was sort of nervous, and not entirely too sure about what to expect, but I had surfed the net looking for good piercing sites and relied on friends to clue me in on the after affects and the after care. I probably should have given the timing a little better thought, after all, that weekend was the start of spring break. Which meant that I'd have to face the mothership. To tell or not to tell? I figured if I was swolen and in pain the Friday I got home, then it would be kind of obvious...So I figured, fuck it, and mailed her that I was going to do it, to prepare her for the shock and hopefully give it time to set in before I actually got home. That night I tried to figure out what the hell I would eat, being a vegan and all (NO animal products at all- no milk, no ice cream, no jello, no eggs, etc.) and was happy that I had only one day to endure cafeteria food before I could have soups and soymilk at home. The next day I hopped in the car with two of my good friends, Amy and Sarah, and we headed out to the place where Amy had hers done, Living Art Studios in Stafford, CT. The ride there seemed to take forever, and I was slowly and surely building up an adrenaline rush. We finally got there, and a big pit bull happily growled at us by the door. We made our way in, and the place seemed ok, not the best, but ok. It had the stereotypical look of a tattoo parlor, with a rather large, leather-clad, grey-haired gentlman with colorful arms and a huge gut poking away at some hapless teenager. Amy had had a good experience, though, so I trusted her word. I was told to wait in the sitting area, where I looked around at all the photos of their work and the sign for 5% off on getting your mouth sewed shut. I sat next to the python's cage and decided the place was cool after all. I waited maybe 5 minutes (on a Thursday night) and was called into the piercing room. It was like a dentist's office, with much more interesting pictures on the wall-some chick with head-to-toe tattoos. I smiled at the mulitply-pierced guy (I was too nervous to remember his name) as I sat down in the chair and took a deep breath. He had me gargle listerine for a minute or so before the procedure and had me lay down. Because my tonuge was so short, he'd have to go to the side of the webbing attaching my tongue to the bottom of my mouth, he said, but he would have it coming out centered. I didn't mind. He put surgical gloves on and got everything ready-including putting a dentist's bib on me to catch my slobber. Then, he clamped me up and had me stick out my tongue as far as I possibly could. It was a bit bothersome, but I didn't mind. I was more concerned with my heart pouding and my fast breathing. I was nervous as hell, even though I felt adequately prepared for the experience. Just the thought of a huge needle being poked through my flesh without numbing gel was a little much. He asked me if I was ready and after I nodded, he poked the needle through into the cork.

It was a really strange sensation, to feel the metal going through but not experiencing any pain-almost like I was numbed. It felt odd, and a little unnatural. But a few seconds later, he was done and I was sitting up again. I looked at it in the mirror in front of the chair an noticed a bit of blood, not too bad though. I grinned at my friends who applauded for me and then swished with water to get rid of the blood. I got up, a little shaky from everything, and made my way out to pay my $60. I couldn't belive how unremarkable it all was, there I was trembling in the chair, and it was over in 5 seconds and relatively painless. It was such an intense rush, though, while it was happening. I was happy. He gave me some more cold water, and told me to be very careful about cleaning. I should gargle with listerine after every time I put ANYTHING in my mouth, and I shouldn't worry about my tongue turning green-that would be from all the listerine. As I expected, I wouldn't be able to eat anything but mush for a week or two following the pierce. My tongue needed a chance to do minimal work and heal itself. I went happily on my way, stopped at dunkin donuts for a big cup of ice and then to Paradise in Willimantic where they sell vegan milkshakes. I spoke well, with minimal slurring, and waited for my tongue to start swelling. I popped a tylenol before heading to bed and was warned by my neighbor that I probably wouldn't be able to talk in the morning.

Day 1

I hauled my ass up at 6am to be at work at 7, and found myself pleasantly surprized with only a bit of sorness and mininal swelling. I had little trouble with speech and people didn't notice unless I pointed out that I was sore from the previous night's activities (which usually provoked a question of what went on). I chewed on ice and had my vegan banana shake for breakfast (not too filling) and got through the morning well. I tried to have some orange juice, and immediately regretted it-the acid felt like it went straight to my raw spots and burned nastily. I gulped down water and realized that I would have to be a bit more discriminatory towards what I drank. I clocked out of work at 11 and was still sore, and tried to have some oatmeal for lunch. Luckily they had some vegetable soup too, so I tried to take some of the broth. Eating sucked. I had to spoon up the oatmeal and sort of tilt my head back and drop it in, past my piercing, and let it slide down my throat. I ate half a bowl and a little bit of the broth and a few glasses of soymilk. I always gargled listerine after everything I drank or tried to eat, which made my tongue turn whitish, then a lovely shade of green. I wasn't happy, but I didn't want to be infected at all. I went through the day not feeling too badly at all, I was surpized how little it did hurt. It seemed like the sorness was pronounced only after I would try to say certain words, like anything with th, d,l, and r sounds in it and when I would try to eat. Other than that, I felt normal. And I was starting to like the feeling of having something in my mouth all the time. I was more aware of how I talked, of all the new sensations. It kind of made me feel more alive. I was very happy that I decided to go through with it. Dinner was oatmeal again, and then I packed my things and headed home. The mothership was not happy at all, and I got a semi-cold shoulder when I got there. It didn't bother me too much, because I am 19 and this is my body...

Day 2

I woke up feeling fine, with slight twinges of soreness every now and then. Eating was still a pain, but I felt like I was definitely on the road to recovery. I was not swollen at all and spoke without any lisps. I considered myself lucky that I could do all of these things, guess I am one of the lucky ones who heal without much difficulty. I gargled after sleeping in all morning, and I noticed that my tongue was still an icky shade of whitish-green. I decided to dilute my CoolMint supply to half strength and see if that would make any difference. I also thought that I had been gargling too frequently-every time I thought of it, I swished. I cut it down to gargling only after I put something in my mouth. It certainly cut down on the burning. As for eating, I didn't have much except my mother's over cooked lentil soup, which i let slide down the back of my throat. I simply could not get my tongue to manuver food around. My tongue twinged with soreness whenever I stretched it or when I yawned, but overall it wasn't bad. I popped another tylenol before bed to see if it would help with the sorness for the next day.

Day 3

I woke up with even less pain than the day before. I think my tongue was finally getting used to having a big barbell stuck through it, which was a good thing. I was still eating mush, but I tried to eat some cooked vegetables. It was still difficult-I'd chew them up, but I would get paranoid that my barbell had somehow come off because of the feeling of the solid food in my mouth, it was really strange actually. But if I concentrated on it and ate very slowly, I could do it. Moving around my tongue was still trouble, but not as bad. I went out and bought more listerine to prepare me for my bus trip to Jersey the next morning. I had sesame noodles for dinner, and that was really difficult-I had to chop the noodles into swallowable chunks and I couldn't eat the fresh veggies very well, and I kept biting down (not too hard) on the ball of my barbell. Annoying.

Days 4-8

I spent the week in Jersey at a good friends house, who more than accomodated my need for mushy food. I found that each morning my sorness got less and less, so that by the end of the trip, the only pain I noticed was when I had a big yawn. I cut down on the amount of gargling, and my tongue turned a happy pink again, yay! After all, who wants to show off a tongue ring when your tongue is all nasty and green? I stopped taking tylenol when I got there, and found no further need for it. I also started on solid foods, granted it was pasta, but I did have chinese food with broccoli and tofu around day 6. Since then, my tongue has been ok enough to eat regularly and moving around the food in my mouth isn't a problem. The only complaint I have now is that my barbell is too long-but that was expected. The guy at Living Art said that in a week or two, after all the swelling goes down, I might find that it has too much "play". He said I could always come back to have it changed if I didn't like it, but I assumed I'd have to pay for it. I've gotten fairly used to having it in my mouth, and it's sooo much fun to play with! I'm very happy with it. I expect to be able to resume all normal activities within another week or two, because my tongue has healed up wonderfully so far. I'll give kissing a shot maybe next week, should I find someone to test it out on! I highly recommend the piercing to anyone thinking about it. You're only young once, and it is a lot of fun. Besides, if you don't like it you can always take it out. Happy piercings!

Any questions, please e-mail me at [email protected]


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 April 1999
in Tongue Piercing

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