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My Quarter-Life Piercing

My 25th birthday is fast-approaching, and I really wanted to mark my "quarter-life" birthday with something meaningful. I've been through a few difficult experiences in my lifetime, and had some eye-opening experiences lately. I've made a decision to be optimistic and become a better person from here on out, and I felt that this birthday would be a big milestone for me. What better way to celebrate all of this than with a little body mod?

I already have two lobe piercings, and I had a cartilage piercing that was rejected a few years back, which was a negative piercing experience overall (it was done at a mall with a piercing gun – now that I'm older and more informed, I realize what a horrible decision this was!)... But I was ready to take the plunge again!

One of my friends has numerous ear piercings, so I studied her ear to decide which ones I liked the most. (I'm surprised she put up with my constant demands to see her ear...) I became an instant fan of the rook piercing. She told me that it was probably the most temperamental piercing she has, and how it continues to get irritated and sometimes still hurts. This information turned me off for a short while. I turned to BME for other stories about the piercing, and even searched online for horror stories and worst-case scenarios so that I would be fully aware of all of the benefits and risks of this type of piercing. (I briefly entertained the thought of a genital piercing – a VCH to be exact – but was reminded by friends that if I were fearful of complications in my ear, how could I possibly pierce my nether regions?) However, my desire for the rook grew, and I turned to YouTube for piercing videos. I watched tons of different videos. Some made the piercing look simple and painless and others reminded me of torture scenes out of horror movies – the blood!

After watching a particularly good piercing over and over on YouTube, I finally decided that it was something I could handle and that would be a good personal reward for myself. I told my friend that I was ready for the piercing, and that I wanted to go to a shop that I'd seen in a YouTube video (oh, technology!). She suggested another shop that was much closer that we'd been to before where they'd put in jewelry for her. The times that I'd been there, they were very professional and friendly, and also very sanitary. I said that the shop would be fine but that I'd rather she get something done before I did so that I could see the piercer's "bedside manner." I felt like the more talkative and friendly the piercer was, the more at ease I would be, and I wanted to get a sense of this before I committed to this particular piercer.

We went in a few evenings ago to get my friend some jewelry, and I asked about pricing for the rook piercing and looked at the jewelry they had available for it. I wasn't completely ready to take the plunge so I just thanked him for the information and grabbed my friend and headed out the door once her purchase was made. We decided to grab a bite to eat, and while we were there, I asked her AGAIN to see her piercings. I whined to her about my concerns with scarring and the pain and not being able to sleep on my right side or talk on the phone on the right side for a long time. (Hey, it was a big decision for me!) But even through all of my whining, my desire for the piercing remained. I decided that once we were finished eating we'd go back to the shop. My friend convinced me that I should just go for it by myself – she didn't necessarily want a new piercing yet, and she thought it might make my personal piercing more meaningful – just because it would prove that I didn't always have to be dependent on someone else for my decisions (a good point, in my opinion). We got there and she decided to stretch her lobes with some new jewelry so that I wouldn't be going through pain completely solo. I took a deep breath and said that I was ready for my rook! I picked out the type of jewelry and showed John (the piercer) the ear I wanted done. I filled out some paperwork and discussed how to care for my new piercing with Justin, the man working at the front, while John went in the back to start sterilizing everything. I was getting nervous and my hands were sweating while we waited for John to finish. He finally came back out and told us that everything was ready.

We went into the room and he sterilized my ear and made a mark where he said the piercing would be best. I decided that I wanted it moved a little closer to my head (now I wish that I hadn't – I can hardly see the piercing when I look in the mirror). I jumped up on the table and lay down, turning my head to the left. My friend was not able to move around the room so that I could see her, nor was she allowed to hold my hand. Not a big deal to me. I just started the deep-breathing process as soon as my head hit the cushion. I stuck my hands under my butt and stared at an iPod dock sitting on the shelf, trying to concentrate on breathing. He said, "Okay, on your next inhale, I want you to take a very deep breath and let it out very slowly." He waited for me to inhale and then voila! In went the needle. There was pressure, and it felt a bit warm. It was mostly the squeak of gloves in my ear that I heard (or maybe the needle and my cartilage? I don't know...), and then he pulled away saying that he needed to put the jewelry in. He came back with the jewelry and there was more pressure and more squeaking, and then he was putting the bearing on the jewelry, and I was done! He cleaned it up and I said that I'd just lie down for a minute or so to regroup. I got up to look at it and it looked great. I was feeling all excited and full of that rush I'm sure that everyone gets after some sort of body mod. I stared at it in the mirror as my friend finished purchasing more jewelry.

I've had it for three days now, and it hasn't been giving me any problems. I do a sea-salt soak twice a day and I have not touched it and I've tried to avoid bumping it on things. It feels fine, and it looks great. I'm very happy that I had the courage to go through with this. My 25th birthday is in four days, and I'm glad that I got to celebrate it in my own way.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 29 May 2008
in Ear Piercing

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Artist: John+Durante
Studio: Laughing+Buddha
Location: Upland%2C+CA

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