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The Journey to an Inch

As I write this experience, I am sitting quite contently and comfortably with 1" tunnels in my earlobes. It's taken quite a while to get to this size, and the process included several ups and downs, ins and outs. However, now that I look in the mirror and see the result, I realize that everything was completely worth it.

About two years ago, following the advice of my sister, I got my left ear pierced (being careful, of course, to select the "correct" ear). I was very content with the large stud that I got from Claire's, and really didn't know that ear stretching existed. That all changed when one of my friends brought me to a local death metal show. I'm sure that 4 of every 5 people there had tunnels and plugs, and 75% of those were larger than 1/2". At first, the sight of those things scared the hell out of me, and I never even considered doing the same.

Things started changing, however, as I progressively went to more and more shows and saw a larger variety of jewelry. Within a few months, I was hooked on the idea of stretching and went to get my right ear pierced.

About three weeks later, I started the gauging process in a pretty average fashion. I went to my local Hot Topic (a place that was always considered taboo by my family) and got a set of 16g and 14g rings. I went through these in a matter of a few days, and my ears were a little sore (particularly the one I had only pierced about a month ago). Still, without hesitation, I bought new sets of larger sizes. I started buying the small taper and plug sets that Hot Topic offers, all the way up to 6g. Using the tiny tapers, I was up to 10g by the end of the same week. That's where things got messy.

While trying to go up to 8g, the taper slipped from my hand and went down the bathroom sink. So, I decided to skip a size. Here's a tip to anyone who's considering skipping a size: do Not do this! To make a long story short, I continued to force tapers through until I was at 00g. It became incredibly bloody, and extraordinarily painful while trying to force those small metal tunnels through. If I had known that I was forming inconvenient (and ugly) scar tissue, I would have just gone back and bought another 8g taper the next day.

I stayed at 00g for around four or five months. I bought little stone plugs and felt as though I had reached a good size to stay at. However, the longer the plugs were in, the smaller they looked in the mirror. Soon, I found myself dead stretching to 7/16", then tapering (quite painfully) to 1/2". About a month or so later, I made it all the way up to 5/8", which had been my original goal.

I felt very achieved having made it to my goal. However, my family very strongly disapproved of my new look. What's worse, the retail store at which I worked started taking notice. One day, I was called into my manager's office, at which point he informed me that I could either remove the tunnels or be fired by the end of the week. At that point, I decided that I was going to remove the tunnels and let my ears shrink up. For about two months or so, I watched as my holes shrunk into pathetic little cat-butts.

There's something very sad about watching your stretched ears shrink. It's like being a body builder, and watching all of your newly gained muscle turn into flab. It was somewhat depressing, but I guess I figured that nobody was ever going to fully accept me with gauges in my ears.

I'm not sure when my mind changed again, but it did. I guess my true friends had gotten so used to my ears being stretched that it seemed unnatural for them to be shrunken up. My gauges had become part of my identity-- within a week, I was re-stretching my ears. I was surprised at how quickly my ears stretched the second time. I went from 7/16" back to 5/8" within about a week.

This time around, I found myself getting very addicted to the stretching process, and went ahead and bought some 3/4" black plugs and a 3/4" taper. Trying to push the taper through was incredibly painful, and just didn't seem to work. I tried on three separate occasions to put the plugs in using the tapers, and failed every time. That's when I made a huge mistake.

I watched a video on YouTube in which some kid stretched his ear by 1/16" using silicone tunnels. He simply folded the tunnels up so that they fit in his hole, then let them snap out and stretch the ear. All of this was done "without pain" in his words. Naturally, I was quick to try this seemingly easy method--the result was horrible.

I forced the silicone in, and they were instantly painful. My ears were throbbing and felt horrible for the rest of the day. I barely slept with the nasty things in, and by the next evening, my ears were still quite red and very painful. I decided to try to take the silicone out and clean my ears. As soon as I slid a section of the tunnels out, blood and puss began flowing freely (no joke, it was similar to a water faucet), and I had to stand in my bathroom for about a half hour with a kleenex pressed against my lobes before they stopped bleeding. I had blown out my lobes very badly.

About two or three weeks later, I started stretching again (my ears had, again, closed up to less than 1/2"), which proved to be very painful. I reached 5/8" again, and stayed for a few weeks. I desperately wanted to get the 3/4" plugs in--they had become a nemesis of sorts. I remembered a method that a friend had described to me involving electrical tape. Reluctantly, I began applying a layer of tape to my tunnels once every couple of days. Within a week, I slid the 3/4" plugs in with ease. It was virtually pain-free and it worked very quickly. I was so satisfied with the method that I continued to use it until tonight, when I finally slid my 1" plugs into my lobes.

I love the way these things look, and I only wish I had been told of the taping method earlier.

For those new to the idea of stretching, here are some words of advice: never skip a size. It hurts, and it will likely create scar tissue. Scar tissue makes further stretching tougher, and it's unsightly. Also, try to never dead-stretch. It generally doesn't work very well, and it will likely cause more frustration than result. NEVER use silicone to stretch your ears. It's a sticky material and will probably only result in some very messy earlobes. Use the taping method as soon as you can for best results.

Also, if you are considering gauging your ears, but have yet to begin, let me say this: it is absolutely addicting. Definitely have a final size in mind before you begin, and try your best to stick with it. With that in mind, if you're wanting to stretch your ears, I say go for it! So long as you're doing it for yourself and doing it correctly, you're going to find the whole experience quite interesting and rewarding. Plugs and tunnels can really spice up your look, no matter what "social group" you're a part of.

I'm incredibly happy that I've stuck with the stretching process, and I couldn't be more satisfied with the look of my 1" tunnels. Several of my friends have begun to stretch their ears after seeing mine, and I can't wait to see how the process goes for them, and how their results look.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 28 Sept. 2008
in Ear Piercing

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