A Shaman's Industrial Piercing
To me, there is a spiritual aspect to piercing. There is a rush, an exhilaration to the process. I focus my mental energy at the point of piercing. So I have adopted body piercing as a part my Shamanism.
I had my industrial piercings done on both ears on March 1, 2002. This is the story of my journey, from the inception of the idea to present day.
I always get my piercings around my birthday. I consider piercings to be a celebration of life, and a celebration of my body. This year, I decided to have industrial piercings done on both ears. I did some research on aftercare, common problems associated with piercings in the upper ear, and types of jewelry.
The first thing I did was decide WHERE I wanted the piercings on my ears. I made small marks on my ears to see where I wanted them. After moving the dots around, I figured out where I wanted them. Then I measured the distance between the two dots. I have a severe allergy to everything except gold, so I had to have the 1-1/4" barbells custom made in 14K sold gold. Because my ears are so small, i decided to go with a 16g barbell. Anything smaller in gauge, and there would be potential for that long barbell to bend or break.
I made an appointment with Sky at Symbiotic Piercings to have the piercing done. While I waited for the custom barbells to arrive, I continued doing research on the internet. The most common complaint I read about regarding upper ear piercings was the "popping" noise associated with the needle going through the cartilage.
Soon, the barbells arrived, and so did the day of my appointment. I arrived early and talked to Sky about the procedure. Sky and Jared were wonderful, both on the day of my appointment and prior. I sent them a bunch of emails asking questions. They were always prompt and thorough in their responses.
Sky was very thorough in making sure her surroundings were clean. She was also particular to show me that she was cleaning, and opened the tools from a sterile bag right in front of me. I told her where I wanted the holes. She marked my ears and asked me if they looked okay. They looked perfect.
I became aware of my breathing, and starting thinking about all the tribal and spiritual people who had sat awaiting piercings long ago. I thought about my life, the simplicity of my drum and the balance that appears in all things.
Then she pushed the needle through and made the first hole. She used a needle and a receiving-cylinder instead of clamps because she had to perfectly line up the angle of the two holes. My ear started to burn. I took in a deep breath. Second hole. One ear was completely done. Getting the barbell in didn't hurt at all. It was weird to hear the popping, I must admit.
Then she did the same thing with the other ear, pierced the lower hole then the higher one. She put the barbell in. My ears were burning, and the right one was throbbing.
The hardest part about the whole process wasn't the pain, it was sitting still through four piercings in one sitting.
Sleeping that night was difficult. I alternated between sleeping on my back, and sleeping on my face. It ached for about three days, then subsided. I had a lot of oozing and crusting for about three months.
After about three months, the left one had completely healed. The barbell was exactly the right length. The right one, however, was still swollen and still throbbed whenever I laid down. I took the long barbell out and put in two rings. In a matter of three days, the swelling went down. Apparently, my right ear is a little larger than my left ear. The barbell wasn't quite long enough, and the pressure of the balls on the outside of the piercings wasn't allowing sufficient room to breathe and heal.
Recently, I ordered a longer barbell. It's only 1/8" longer, but it made all the difference.
If you are interested in getting an industrial piercing, make sure the barbell is the correct length. You might consider allowing a professional piercer to measure it for you.
Of all my piercings, this one was the highest maintenance. It took the longest to heal, and was the post prone to infection because the piercing is so close to my hair (and hair is naturally oily). But there is a light at the end of the tunnel - it did heal properly and I do have the perfect jewelry in it now.
I very much enjoy my industrial piercing. I hope to have my lip pierced for my birthday coming up in February 2002. If you have any questions about the industrial piercing experience, please do not hesitate to email me.
In Nature's Balance,
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 12 Jan. 2003
in Ear Piercing