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Prayer Piercings

I've always had an attraction to more unusual piercings, and ever since I got hit with the piercing bug 6 years ago I've been always on the lookout for something new, the next foolish, impulse decision...

Prayer piercings were something I decided on very suddenly one day while shopping. I was reminiscing with a friend about my old hand web piercing, which had lasted around 2 months and had been loved dearly, but was lost in a terrible accident involving an art folder (RIP Web). I joke, but it was actually pretty horrific, the piercing took a heavy smack to the bar and the result was a big bloody nasty mess, it looked like flesh was pouring out of my thumb, and I had no choice but to take it out, clean it meticulously and hope for the best. Anyway, on this day I was discussing how I'd like to try again with the web but didn't want to upset the scar tissue in the area, and didn't want to opt for my right hand because I do a lot of writing in my course at uni. Then I started thinking about alternative hand piercings, ones I had seen on BMEzine while browsing galleries for no reason besides my own fascination. The thought of finger piercings crossed my mind, but I knew I'd be too clumsy with them and they'd rip within days. Prayer piercings occurred to me, I'd always thought they were beautiful, but never imagined I'd ever have them myself.

So off I trot, no further thought required, straight to Holier Than Thou to ask Lu what she could do for me. Ever the angel she is, I had my forms signed in no time, and she was asking me to put my hands together and drawing lines all over them to make sure they were perfectly aligned. Being a "larger lady" (ahem) I do have quite a substantial amount of flesh on the outsides of my hands, but Lu explained that this isn't always an advantage in surface piercings, and that I couldn't get the piercings very far down my hands (towards the wrists) because the area was too flat for the curved barbells to be properly anchored, so we agreed on a point about 2cm down from the knuckles of my little fingers. After being cleaned up and marked, she asked me if I wanted to sit in a particular position to be pierced, as I'm sure she could tell how nervous I was. Surface piercings on the outside of my hands are going to be agonising - the thought was going over and over, and getting two piercings at once was always terrifying. I decide to place my hands flat on the bed with the edges slightly off so they could be clamped, and Lu crouched down to perform the piercings in the way I wanted them done. It was lovely of her to be so accommodating about this, most piercers have a particular way they like to work, but she was more concerned with me feeling comfortable than having to adjust to the strange position.

Clamp, deep breath in... and ARGHHHH it was horrible! Not a pleasant experience whatsoever. The awkward angle made getting the jewellery in more difficult than it otherwise might have been, but once the initial sharpness was gone I sat trembling and cursing, trying to collect myself in preparation for the second one. Lu asked me if I'd like a few minutes in between to calm down, but by that point the adrenaline had just kicked in and I said no, do the next one quickly before I chicken out. Bless her for putting up with my melodrama. She pierced the second one, slightly less painful but I'm sure that was more to do with the rush I was on from the first than the procedure itself, and when all the jewellery was on tight she let me stay where I was silently until I'd stopped shaking (it really was very, very painful). There was quite a bit of blood from these, I remember it dripping onto the floor and Lu super swiftly getting the steriliser out and cleaning it up the second it hit the ground. My hands started swelling almost immediately, and by the time Lu had bandaged me up with gauze and micropore to pad them against knocks, I could barely move my hands.

Luckily I had the foresight to bring a friend, who helped me take the money from my purse and filled my bag with spare dressings, tape and rubber gloves to wear at night to prevent the piercings getting caught in bedding and whatnot - which Lu threw in free, much to my appreciation.

Aftercare was quite tricky for these darlings, as trying to put dressings on my right hand using only my left (which is honestly useless, I can barely even hold a fork in my left hand) was a slow and laborious process. But I was so instantly in love with the way my prayers looked that I went through the torturous process day after day with no real complaints.

Prayer piercings should never be thought of as permanent, since the hands are always moving and they can never fully heal. This meant that the dull aching pain you feel hours after the piercing was performed never really went away, but I learned to live with it, because they were gorgeous and I loved them. The bigger problem, however, was how unbelievably inconvenient they were. Half the time I forgot they were there, and the thoughtless actions of putting your hands in your pockets became unimaginably painful. The piercings would catch on the bottom of coat sleeves when I walked, on the strap to my handbag, I had to give up loose bracelets and even necklaces because they would catch on anything and everything. So, with much pain along the way, it was fully expected that there was going to be an infection. My left prayer became infected after around 5 weeks. The whole area swelled and became very sore, I got some anti-biotics from my GP hoping that the lump would settle, but though it did go down, the burning sensation in my hand didn't go away, so I decided it was time to say goodbye. I thoroughly cleaned the wound left by the piercing as often as I could and kept it in clean dressings until it went away. Bizarrely, my right prayer was also to be lost only days later, when one of the balls got caught on the handle of a mug, and the resulting rip was too agonising to bear.

All in all, an incredibly painful experience that lasted around 6 weeks in total, with constant discomfort and some very unusual scars left behind. Despite this, I don't regret them at all, I thought they were absolutely beautiful piercings and they certainly got noticed. I won't be trying again with my prayers, one attempt is enough for me, and I certainly don't recommend them for anyone but the die-hard attention seekers such as myself :P


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 07 April 2008
in Surface & Unusual Piercing

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Artist: Lu
Studio: Holier+Than+Thou
Location: Manchester

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