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Not your typical self-piercing experience - ankle surface piercing

I tend not to read most self-piercing experiences as they generally involve 15 year olds with safety pins, or men too embarrassed by their genitals to see a professional piercer. I find they serve as a 'what not to do' rather than being useful when researching a new piercing. I hope this experience isn't going to come across like that!

I've had at least 25 piercings done professionally, and also several temporary ones for suspensions and pulls, but I've never previously pierced myself, as I find piercings very painful and didn't think I could inflict that much pain on myself. Since meeting my boyfriend Sarge, who is a professional piercer, I've been learning to pierce. I've done a few piercings on other people, and I really wanted to be able to overcome my fear of pain and actually pierce myself. In the past I've done a cutting on myself, and I've done most of my stretching, but the pain from that is longer, rather than the short sharp pain of a piercing, and I find it much easier to deal with.

I did my first suspension last year, and a week beforehand, I got circle sutured onto my arm, onto which I wove a dreamcatcher. I found this useful for me, as it prepared me for the pain of the suspension, and also helped me focus my mind on it. Every time I looked at my arm, I imagined myself in the air, with the pretty thing sewn onto me. I took the dreamcatcher off and removed the sutures a few hours after the suspension, as it had served its purpose. I decided I wanted to get something temporary to help focus myself before my next suspension, which is in 5 days time. This time I wanted to do it myself. I thought about asking a friend to do it for me when I visited his studio yesterday, but realised it would be a lot better for me to get over my worries and do it myself. I contemplated using anaesthetic, but decided against it as that would almost defeat the point of what I was doing it for.

The reason I chose the ankle was that it would be pretty easy for me to do on myself, and I've seen pictures of it on BME, but never seen one in real life. I toyed with the idea for a couple of days, then decided to go ahead and do it. Last time I was at Sarge's shop, I got my tools and all my jewellery autoclaved, so I didn't have to worry about that, everything was ready.

I decided to go ahead with it last night, as I was bored watching TV. The easiest place for me to do it would be sitting on the floor, so I put a couple of dental bibs down, and set out gloves and clamps and all the other stuff I'd need. I raised one of the dental bibs off the floor with a foam yoga block, and rested my foot on this as it gave me an easier position from which to pierce. I marked up the place where I wanted it, about 2 inches above the bulge of my anklebone, and picked a 1.6mm 12mmID ring, checking it looked okay against the marks, and making sure I could get the ball in without ring openers. I then cleaned the area with Technicare, dried it, and put the clamps on. It took quite a while to get them straight against the marks, as my skin isn't that stretchy, but eventually I managed to get it straight, and the skin there was so thin the clamps locked without me even meaning to do it, so that made things a bit easier. I dipped the end of the needle in Techni care, then moved it level with the mark. I couldn't do it. My hands were shaking, not much, but a little.

A friend was watching me and videoing what I was doing, and I sat there for ages, before saying to him 'I just can't hurt myself'. Then the phone rang and distracted me. I ignored it, but it had put me off. Then my mobile rang, so I took the clamps off and got up to look for it. Phonecall sorted, I changed my gloves and clamped the area again. The marks were very close to the bottom of the clamps, but I just couldn't get the skin any more stretched without another pair of hands....if I were to do this piercing on someone else I think I'd prefer to get someone to help hold it rather than use clamps, but on myself this wasn't an option. I touched the needle to the skin on the mark and pushed, probably rather gingerly. I couldn't feel anything, so started to push harder. The needle wouldn't budge. I worried perhaps that I was angling it down and hitting the side of the clamp, so I decided to move up and do the piercing about half a mm above the marks. Looking back on it, I thi nk I just wasn't pushing hard enough. I took a deep breath in, and then on the exhale did the piercing, not thinking about the pain, just imagining it as any other piercing I'd done, concentrating on the marks. I felt a sharp tug as the full width of the needle entered the skin, and then I didn't feel much until the needle came through the other side. I think this is the first time I've ever managed to breathe properly during a piercing; generally I tense up and say 'ouch', rather than letting myself relax through it. I was so relieved that I'd done it. I found the ring and slid it in, then put the ball on. The piercing was a little shallower than I'd planned, but it still looks pretty, and placement isn't really important as I plan to remove it after I suspend anyway.

The pain wasn't that bad at all. I'm not sure if that is because my attention was on what I was doing rather than the sensation, or if it was simply the area the piercing was done - certainly pinching the skin on the outside of my ankle doesn't hurt at all when compared to other areas of the body.

Even though it didn't hurt too much, I wouldn't really recommend this piercing to anyone, as surface piercings are almost impossible to heal, it makes wearing boots impossible, and rubs on the bottom of trousers - most definitely a temporary piercing!

The only aftercare I will do is the same as with other piercings, and that is simply salt water soaks. There'll probably be photos of this on my IAM page once I get round to putting them up.


submitted by: vampy
on: 19 Feb. 2003
in Surface & Unusual Piercing

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Artist: me%21
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Location: Norwich%2C+UK

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