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Orion's Belt

ism: n. 1. a sexual perversion characterized by pleasure in being subjected to pain or humiliation esp. by a love object 2. Pleasure in being abused or dominated : a taste for suffering —Webster's Ninth Collegiate Dictionary Masochism: n. 1. A psychological disorder in which sexual gratification is derived from abuse or physical pain. 2. The deriving of pleasure from being mistreated or dominated. —American Heritage Dictionary, third ed. Ever since I became self-aware, I have been driven to seek out new experiences and sensations—to revel in them. I wouldn't classify myself as a masochist though. I don't think that I enjoy "pain" as people believe—with my growing number of piercings it seems a natural assumption (if an aggravating one). I don't have an unusually high pain threshold nor do I have an underdeveloped sense of touch. I just enjoy unique and intense feelings—to a large degree anyway. My enjoyment of these sensations is not necessarily sexual in nature either. I have to believe that there are others like me—those who enjoy being pierced because of its unique blend of adrenaline and highly divers sensation. I am proud to belong to the growing nation of Modern Primitives. My journey towards self-realization and body modification started exactly one year ago today—June 18, 1999—with my first piercing. I grew up preppy and conservative—clinging to a bygone decade of synthesizers and republicans—and remained so until I was 23. After spending many years being completely intolerant of "freaks" and "weirdoes," I realized that I was just scared of becoming one myself—sort of a homophobic reaction I guess, I was a freakaphobe. While I was disgusted by the idea of having a piece of metal imbedded in my (or anyone else's) flesh, I was also morbidly fascinated by it. I wondered what it would feel like, or why anyone would do that to himself—or pay someone to do it to him. Then something snapped inside my head. I was in the midst of a new romance—courting the loveliest creature I had ever seen—so innocent and pure (no, really!). I had never met anyone like her—I needed a fresh perspective of myself to even begin to understand her. Therefore, I decided to reinvent myself. I would take the first step towards open-mindedness and away from anachronism by getting a piercing. I sat down and mentally ran through the ramifications of different piercings. I decided that I would go with a tongue piercing—it would be easily hidden, fun to play with, good for oral sex, and just freakish enough to break conformity. It was an amazingly easy experience for me. I went with my almost-girlfriend and a close female friend to the shop (Inferno—Philadelphia, Pa). I was, of course, a bit on edge; but after the clamps were on, I got to a Zen-like state. There was no turning back, so I just rode it out. It was a weird sensation—sort of a pressure inside my tongue; I was too intrigued to be disgusted by it. I didn't think it was painful at all—but that's just me... I don't claim to speak for everyone's tongue. The aftermath was unexpectedly slight—I was eating solid food the next day with minimal discomfort; and with concentration I was able to keep all signs of slurring out of my speech. Within two days of this, I was dating the Disney Princess that had captured my heart. It was a little over four months later that I got my next piercing. I was with a new girl—faerie tales don't always come true, but more on that later—and she was looking to break out of her shell much like I had been 4 months previous. We decided to get ourselves pierced together as a bonding experience. We had our opposite nipples done—my right, her left—so that they would touch when we embraced. She almost passed out from her piercing; I. on the other hand, found it rather euphoric. It was certainly a far cry from the almost nothing sensation of the tongue piercing. It was delicious, like having my nipple gently suckled from the inside. Definitely not a painful experience, though it was pretty intense and a bit erotic. I'm glad my piercer was an attractive young lady, though I didn't say so at the time. For the sake of supporting one of my favorite places, I will mention that this too was done at Inferno. Things went south with that relationship as well, in part because I wanted to delve further into piercing and she still though of it as freakish and unnecessary—so much for unconditional love. I had more piercings done at Inferno in quick succession: a Prince Albert (ok, ouch! Check out PA Foray for more on that one), two rather large earrings (8g & 10g) in my left ear (interesting burning sensation), and a frenum piercing (a mild ouch). These were all done in April of this year. I was rushing because I was moving to Arizona and I wanted to get my piercings done at a studio I knew and trusted. So now it's June 18th and I am currently sporting nine piercings. If you've been keeping count, that leaves three piercings unaccounted for. I have gotten three, somewhat notorious, piercings on the nape of my neck. The latest additions were inspired in part by an old friend of mine out here in the desert—a gorgeous red-head who has gone from 0-39 piercings in about 5 years, including two rather cute nape barbells. Let me add that almost every piercing I have has been preceded at some point by me swearing that I would never get that pierced. Anyway, I thought about it and it began to work its way deeper into my brain and wouldn't go away (like It's a Small World After All). I was also troubled by the fact that my one near-constant reassurance was not with me out here at this time of year; the ever-watchful hunter, Orion, was absent from the night sky. I can't say why he comforts me, but seeing him always makes me feel empowered—I feel renewed and know I can overcome whatever momentary obstacle impedes my happiness. The two thoughts merged and soon became an obsession. I had to design a series of barbells that would form the constellation Orion and have them crafted and placed on my neck. Searching for pictures and editing them using various image software cost me several nights' sleep. I was met by a huge setback when I showed my design to my new piercer, Phish. It seemed they couldn't or wouldn't pierce any closer than a half inch apart. With my original four bar design, keeping scale would mean a huge piece consisting of unfeasibly large bars. After a bit of brainstorming, I went back and asked if I could have a special bead made with two beads attached to a central bead. This idea was met with approval, and the designs were faxed out to HTC's jeweler. The first piece wasn't quite right—they had placed a red gem in the middle of the belt, and a white one on the other end of the bar, a reverse of what I needed. So it was sent back and fixed—another weekend delay (sigh). When the pieces all came in and were right, I was so excited that I had Phish do the piercings right then and there. If you're waiting for me to tell you how bad it hurt, you're going to be waiting a long time. It was a long process due to the tight skin and thick tissue back there, but it was not an unpleasant one. The adrenaline started pumping and it was just a few pinpricks and some heat. I guess my secret is to just intellectualize the experience—I really focus on the sensations so I can remember them clearly later. At any rate, they went in without any problems and were pretty much fine for a few days—little to no pain or redness. After the honeymoon, however, things started to get interesting. The bottom piercing had gotten very irritated, sore, and red all along the bar. I was really afraid that it was rejecting; but Phish was very supportive and calmed me a lot. He assured me that if I just took good care of it everything would be fine—a week of Provon and sea-salt compresses and the redness is almost gone (along with the soreness). So now I have my personal totem or guiding star, if you will, emblazoned upon my neck (you can check it out in the surface bar piercing section of unusual piercings). I feel really good about it. I love [most of] the reactions I get to it. Most of the people I meet are shocked at first, but are genuinely interested in the specifics of why and how. There are, of course, morons and jerks out there who insist on clinging to the notion that piercing is for "freaks, junkies, fags, masochists, and whackos." Let them have their narrow-mindedness; I can at least say that I own my fears and myself. Oh, and one quick thing about faerie tales. The girl that started all of this, Jennifer, has welcomed me back into her heart. She is going to be joining me here in the desert at the end of this summer—we plan to get married and raise a family. Jenny, I love you. Thanks for believing in True Love despite the trials and tribulations. When I think of the good fortune I have been granted... well I can only thank my lucky stars. Please feel free to write me with any questions or comments—I like to hear from the rest of the "tribe."

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 26 June 2000
in Surface & Unusual Piercing

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Artist: Phish
Studio: HTC
Location: Phoenix%2C+AZ

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