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helix

I have always felt very strongly about being my own person, and doing whatever that entails in my mind. Moving from a small town to Toronto in order to go to art school not only helped me grow as a person, but also feel more comfortable in my growths- until I could not imagine being anything else than what I am today. This is, in my mind, the biggest highlight for any serious person getting any sort of body modification: you just know, innately, that this is the right thing to do, and you can't imagine not doing it. For me, this meant getting my helix pierced (a quite tame piercing in comparison to those that abound, but the point isn't about comparison).

I got my lobes done in Claire's (as my helix piercer put it, "classy") in February 2008, only eight months before I got my helix done. I was (and considering, still am) rather new at the whole thing. I never got my lobes done when I was younger because I didn't follow the crowd, and didn't want it at that point in my life. I am still very, very happy that my parents never forced or pushed me to conform to that particular convention, and instead I got to do it on my own terms. When I got these done, the pain was less pain, and more searing heat; I nearly fainted about 10 minutes after getting them done; and cleaning them was a bitch (I chalk this up to inexperience).

Taking these three points into consideration, I still decided to get my helix done. I had seen it before, and I wanted something that really fit my personality and way of life, and this single captive bead ring seemed to be the perfect summation of my being in a piercing. It's amazing how all the little bits of an ear can mean so many things when pierced. Personally, I consider it less "mod" than many other ear piercings, and more bohemian, creative, and free (mostly because there is such a wide range of placements in that one section of ear). I decided to take the chance, and get it done- or else I would feel incomplete and stuck in my evolution as a person, now that I had it in my mind.

I went to New Tribe on Queen Street before one of my classes, and made an appointment. I made sure that one of my friends could come with me, so that I didn't faint on Queen Street all alone. All through class, I was excited but so incredibly nervous, just because of the fear of pain. I've done some unexpected and interesting things, such as shaving my head bald, and I never felt the pure fear before, which showed me it was all fear of pain, and not the actually body change. This just strengthened my resolve to get it- in my mind, my ear already had the ring on and looked amazing.

I met up with my friend, and went back to New Tribe. We waited for a bit, talking about anything but the piercing I was there for. Daryl called me in, and we both went to one of the small booths.

(I have to stop here to say that everyone at the store was amazingly nice, and the actual store was incredibly clean and shiny. When Daryl did his thing, everything was wrapped up, single use, and he went through about fifty pairs of gloves. I never thought to question the cleanliness of the place, but I clearly did not need to.)

Daryl introduced himself and his assistant (whom I completely forget, just because his name isn't written on my cleaning instructions). He asked me how I felt, we talked about my ears (and he said the aforementioned "classy" comment), and said that he didn't think I was going to pass out, but that I needn't worry if I did. He went through the cleaning instructions, marked it on my ear and had me check it out, and told me to hop up on the table, spread my legs, and turn my head. Daryl asked me if I wanted my friend to hold my hand, but when we looked at her, she was facing the corner and refused to watch. I heard the people tattooing beside us talk about long movies over the buzz of the machine.

It was at this point that the nerves started to bubble up, but with them came a sense of accomplishment, because I was actually doing this. I watched out of the corner of my eye as they opened all the tools and cleaned my ear. And then Daryl was telling me, "take a deep breath..."-

and as the needle started sliding through my ear, I felt absolutely nothing but pure excitement and happiness. There was no pain, and a bit of heat, but the adrenaline that was coursing through my body was like nothing I had ever experienced before. And as Daryl fiddled around my ear, the noise receded and I just felt flooded with amazing feelings combining the adrenaline, and accomplishment, and everything else amazing and right with what I was doing.

Daryl had finished getting the ring through, and he was cleaning my ear when I started to come down from my extreme adrenaline rush. It was now that he seemed to find something wrong with my ear, and now that he asked me, "are you on any medications?". As it turns out, Paxil is an insanely incredible blood-thinner, and my ear started bleeding with such intensity that Daryl had me lie down while he put pressure on it (this hurt more than the actually piercing did). I didn't pass out, but he said that he would have taken that over the bleeding, and that the microdermals he's done bled less. My only complaint about the whole thing was not being asked about medication beforehand- it never crossed my mind, being new to the piercing scene, and I felt awful about it after he told me he probably wouldn't have even done it if he knew about the medication. After a while of pressure (and finally giving up and just letting it bleed for a bit), Daryl felt I was okay to go. Throughout this all, the only thing that hurt was the pressure he put on it (for a good cause!), and both of us were incredibly surprised that I didn't faint, or feel close to it. He told me to get something to eat because I had lost so much blood, went over the cleaning instructions again, and then I walked out of New Tribe, helix newly pierced and adrenaline still coursing through me.

The rest of the day I was still so excited about my ear, I felt no pain, except when I accidentally hit it a few times. I did the sea salt soak, and managed to actually wiggle the ring around a bit. The last few days have been great, with a little bit of pain when I hit it by accident, and a bit of heat today, probably from playing with it too much. It has not bled once since the intense bleeding episode.

By getting my helix pierced, I feel more vocal without saying anything. I realize that some people do not appreciate piercings, but I have had incredibly good reactions only. As I said much earlier, comparison is not the point, and I still hold true to this: I have only ever done any of the physical changes I did for my own self, never for others. I do not advertise these changes, because for others, they do not mean what they mean for me, and that is the only reaction I need. I feel very strongly about this, and I hope that anybody who reads this gains some insight into how doing things for your own self is an incredibly enriching experience on its own, and that it really is the only reason to do almost anything. I feel more like the free spirit I am on the inside by changing my exterior, for myself.

My advice for anybody is to do what you love. But more on the topic, I do have some bits of advice, that I hope you do keep in mind:

  • please, do ask if any medication you are on will affect the piercing, even if they don't ask you about it;

  • even if I didn't pass out, it is still smart to bring somebody if you are at all unsure about how you may feel afterwards;

  • we can not say it enough- always always always follow cleaning instructions- always.

  • finally- please, enjoy: this is you, amazing and free and unique and completely and absolutely YOU.

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 13 Oct. 2008
in Ear Piercing

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Artist: Daryl
Studio: New+Tribe
Location: Toronto

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