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My beautiful sternum

Getting my sternum pierced was something I worked very hard for. My mother has never really understood why I love modifications so much, and in fact refers to anyone who is heavily modified as a 'freak', and believes that they should be locked up.

At the beginning of last year, I had two piercings that had been rejected (my own stupid fault, but I won't go into that right now) and so I was on the look-out for a new piercing to get.

I knew that it couldn't be a facial piercing, because my mother would never agree, and because most of my family would freak. So they were out. I didn't just want an ear piercing, because they seemed pretty tame (although I am getting into them now), and I needed a piercing that would be easily hidden, for the family reason again, and because of my work who are quite strict with piercings. But above all, I needed something that was original, that would separate me from all the little scene kids who are running around nowadays.

So floating around BME one day, I came across a picture of a sternum piercing.

I was instantly in love. It just appealed to me in every way.

The next thing to do was to talk to my mother about it, as I knew there was only one piercer in my area who could make this piercing work, and there was no way in HELL that he was going to do it without parents permission.

So one day on a long car trip, where she couldn't escape I said to her:

"I was thinking about getting another piercing."

"Oh yes..."

"Yeah, just a little bar that sits just between my boobs. It would be heaps easy to hide and stuff."

"Hmm that doesn't sound too bad."

And so, I talked to her about it, and weirdly enough, she didn't seem to mind the idea very much at all.

So, the next time I got paid, I ran happily down to her room and said:

"Mum can you keep your phone on today, coz I'm going to go and get that piercing I was telling you about."

"No, I don't think so."

"What, why?"

"Because I don't think it's appropriate. Why can't you go and buy a pair of boots or something."

"But I don't want a pair of boots, I want this piercing. You said I could get it."

"Yes, well I changed my mind."

And that was that. Bam, no warning, she just said no.

I was very unimpressed, let me tell you.

So, then because I wanted it so badly, most of my frees at school and spare time on the net, was spent looking through pictures, reading stories and finding out pretty much everything I possibly could about this piercing. It became my obsession to know as much as I could, and I so desperately wanted to have a piece of metal through my chest, it became like a constant ache, it was all I could think about. I was possessed.

The more I studied it, the more I realised that if I was to make it work, then I would have to be incredibly careful with it. The past year for me has been pretty messed up, and I was dong a lot of things I shouldn't have been doing. It wasn't so much that I wanted to do it, I just...felt like it was the only thing that was helping me to feel.

And so I decided that this piercing was what was going to turn it all around. It was going to symbolise a new beginning, and starting again.

So every day I would casually mention my sternum to my mother, push the idea a little bit more.

And finally she agreed. Thirteen weeks after she had said no, she finally agreed. I was so happy and about 2 days later I invited two of my friends along.

Long before I even knew what type of piercing I was going to get, I knew I was going to go to Jake at Sacred Art. Not only is he by far the best piercer in the area, he is also incredibly nice, and not at all intimidating.

So we drove into town and I was excited like I have never been. I got in there and he asked me to take a seat, and got through all the other piercings that were in there. Even though I had arrived before some of them, he wanted to get the smaller things out of the way, so that he could concentrate completely on me when the time came.

We talked about it a little bit, and then he rang my mother. I knew that she was quite unimpressed, but I also knew she would say yes. Which she did.

Jake asked me a few questions about what I wanted, which I suppose was a test. If it was, I failed, ha. But I don't know, maybe he had faith in me.

He asked me to come into his back room, and so I asked my two friends if they wanted to come in. Tegan, my best friend, agreed, and brought a camera into the room. Reece, who drove us, declined and instead chose to sit in the waiting room.

First he asked me what type of length I was thinking about and I showed him with my fingers, but Jake said he thought that that was probably too long, and he worried that it wouldn't drain properly, so he showed me the length he thought would be good, but would also be the longest he would pierce at.

I agreed that it looked good, and so he began to check that there was enough skin there, and started trying placements. He got it perfectly the second try.

Might I add there were about 6 glove changes and hand washes throughout this process.

I haven't talked much about the cleanliness or anything so far for the simple fact that I feel there is no need. Sacred Art is the cleanest place I have ever stepped inside. It's cleaner than a hospital room. I always go to visit because as soon as you walk in the door you can just smell the cleanliness, and it's great.

Anyway, I watched him set everything up and he talked to me some more about it, asked me if I knew what was involved in the punch and taper method (which I did, thank you BME!) then I lay down, and he warned me that it was going to hurt. Then he told me to take a big breath in and big breath out, and he began with the first punch. It was unlike any other type of pain I had experienced. It wasn't unbearable, but it was bad. It felt like he had gotten a big screwdriver, and was now driving it down all the way to my spine.

He checked that I was feeling ok, and then informed me that he was going to move straight onto the next one as soon as possible.

And then he did the other punch, which this time I was much more prepared for, but still hurt a lot.

Then he told me to expect a pulling feeling as he put through the taper.

Now, even though he had told me to only expect pulling, I was really dreading this part, because I was so sure that it was going to hurt so badly. I mean, a big piece of metal being pushed through your chest can't exactly be pleasant.

But no, there was absolutely no feeling. And I mean none. Although Jake was right and there was a pulling sensation. There was no pain, no dull pain, no sharp pain, none.

He spent awhile trying to get the discs on, and as I sat up he's like "Never, ever ask me to put discs on, ever ever again."

I stood up and inspected my beautiful piercing, and I couldn't help but smile.

It was already getting red, but it was still lovely.

For the first two months, I cleaned my piercing with a saline soak every day, sometimes twice for about 10 minutes. I kept it in really good condition, if I do say so myself.

Then, horror of horrors, the worst thing happened. I was down by the foreshore with 3 of my friends, and they were all messing around and play-fighting and I was just watching, because generally I don't do things like that. So one of my friends got it into his head to make me join in. So he ran and tackled me to the ground, and sat on my chest. I felt a dull pain, but I didn't think much about it, because I had felt the same kind of pain before, if I ever stretched or moved in the wrong way. But when I got up and checked it, blood was dribbling down from the bottom hole.

All I could do was say "Oh Shit oh shit oh shit oh shit"

So I had a little bit of a cry, and we walked back to my friends house, which was luckily only a 10 minute walk away, and I did a saline soak to try and help a little, while I set about getting in touch with Jake, on an out of hours number. He asked me just to check it in a good light to see if there were any tears (which I couldn't see) and then said to come and see him as soon as possible.

When I did finally get into to see him, he checked it, and said that other than a tiny tear on the bottom, it was still ok.

I'm afraid to say though, that that incident did really set back the healing I feel, and my sternum really hasn't looked as good, at least to me, since.

I don't mind though, because it's still my baby.

It's been 4 and a half months now, and it's still a kind of two steps, forward one step back, process, as some days it will be doing fine and others it is an absolute nightmare.

The reactions I get are always mixed, but I don't really mind what way people react, sometimes it's great to hear someone say "Ohhh, why the hell did you do that?" and that kind of thing.

My mum is getting used to it, even though she still doesn't like it very much, but that's ok too.

I am completely satisfied with my piercing, and I have to recommend Jake at Sacred Art in Newcastle if you are ever going to get a piercing.

A warning to others thinking about this piercing though, It does take a lot of effort to look after properly, and don't just randomly decide to get it done without thinking.

I learnt that it's actually good to wait for some things, as I believe if my mother hadn't made me wait, then I probably wouldn't be taking such good care of it as I am today.

Anyway, hope you liked hearing about my sternum and all, and hopefully it has shown you that if you're going to do something, to do it right.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 22 Feb. 2007
in Surface & Unusual Piercing

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Artist: Jake
Studio: Sacred+Art
Location: Newcastle%2C+Australia

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