Don't be afraid of the pain
Even though I only have 4 piercings now, over the last 15 years i have actually gotten pierced ... 17 times. I am a bit surprised now that I had to think back and do a count - it's a lot of times considering I only have 3 visible rings. They are in my upper cartilage.
Some of them were repiercings and some of them are retired or I really only got them to experience getting them and the liberating feeling of doing something family, society but mostly my own inhibition had held me back from doing.
Anyway, I want to share my view of the best way of receiving the piercing (and how the piercer should act). I don't like the pain at all, but I am not afraid of it either any more, because I have realised that you can just breathe through it! It may sound simple and silly, but I guess many advice in life is actually quite simple.
My first two piercings was in my earlobe and I got them at a goldsmith with a piercing gun. That was definately not a contender of the best way, but even with a piercing needle and at a proper piercing shop there is subtle differences in how the piercers talk, act and do the piercing.
Of course you worry about the pain, but some piercers have the best way to go about it and my reason for telling you about it, is that once you know about it, you can ask the piercer how they usually do it. Then you can explain them what your "favorite" way is. It doesn't matter if this is your first time and I can't see any reason why a piercer wouldn't want to do it the way, that will be least stressful for both of you. Maybe some piercers will read this too and realize it makes a difference how you handle people and the speed and timing og doing the piercing itself.
Ok, so now on with the story...
When you sit in the chair, try to relax and talk to the piercer about whatever is up in the moment. It will help you get your mind on a normal "take things as they come" level, not building up a lot of focus on the piercing procedure itself coming in a little while. When the piercer has cleaned the area and marked up the placement and the next step is ... actually ... to do the piercing itself! - the piercer should say something like - Ok, now you take two good breaths of air... Don't rush yourself, just breath in relaxedly and breathe out with the natural speed the air would escape your lungs... When you breathe out the second time I will do the piercing nice and quietly and then you will have a nice new piercing.
When you start the two breaths it can be a bit of a unsettling realisation that there is no turning back now - oh oh - But!! - even though there is no turning back and you will get pierced in a few seconds, it is still you that controls when you will actually get pierced - namely when you breathe out the second time. Furthermore you also know, that the piercing will be finished when you are done breathing out the second time. There is only that one exhalation between you and your future self feeling good and brave about having the guts to get what you have just been aspiring to up until now.
The piercer should then start to put pressure on the needle. I think it is quite important that this does not happen immediately when you start breathing out the second time, but just a short moment into it. Then the piercer should build up the pressure on the needle in a steady fashion and force the needle through nice and steady.
Since this was not a sudden push of the needle giving a jolt of pain, you will instead experience it as a big feeling building up and coming down - not suddenly, but nice and steady, and you can breathe through it.
And then you have it - the new piercing that you have been worrying about getting :-)
I wonder how different our feelings of pain actually is, but I think a big part of why some people are scared or have big reactions to pain is that they have not experienced that a good amount of pain is actually manageable. When a person asks how much it hurts to get a tattoo, I have often heard the explanation something like: its like getting scratched by a cat. Often times I don't think the person asking is very convinced that this is actuall true. But the big difference is that when you stop imagining the pain as a big unnegotiable wall, but just breathes steadily through it, a tattoo will actually be like being continuously scratched by something quite point. If you want to "practice" breathing through pain - just try to drag e.g. a tweezers end or sowing needle along your skin. Put a little pressure on it, and when you feel some beginning pain - remember to breathe - and experience, that you are actually able to handle it :-) Then put a bit more pressure on again and again a few times. Having done that, you have already experienced pain quite like what you will feel when getting tattoed. There is a difference when the needle actually penetrates the skin, but not in a big way. Of course some areas hurt more getting tattoed, but when you are already able to handle the "irritating and annoying" pain throughout your tattoo session, you will also be able to handle those periods of time, when the pain is "really effing annoying" and you most of all want to "swap the big persistent annoying mosquito that is the tattoo machine" :-)
I really hope this will help you getting over the barrier of being afraid of the pain.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 18 Nov. 2010
in Misc. Ear Cartilage Piercing