I had my helix pierced around two months ago, and I guess it was almost predetermined by my previous tragus piercing. While in most cases the act, ritual, process, whatever you want to call it, of undergoing the piercing has been symbolic (the pain of change, control over my own physicality, expressing/releasing/manifesting a moment of or period of emotional pain, etc) the placement has always been purely asthetic and serves as nothing more or less than a function of how I want myself to look in the long run. Being a male I have never wanted symmetry of the piercings in my ears, and for whatever reason I favor the left to look, if only slightly, "more pierced." At the time I had two in my left lobe, one in my right, one just behind my right lobe, and one in my left tragus. Even though for a while there I didn't know when the urge to get pierced again would hit me, but when it did I was determined to have my left helix done. I felt that my left side had "two and a half" piercings because the tragus is small and subtle, and although I knew I'd want another piercing in my right ear at some point I knew I had to do something a little bit more eye catching to the left. I was also a lot less apprehensive about having more cartilage pierced after my seamless experience with my tragus.
I know the helix isn't the most original piercing; I remember seeing it back on girls in the 5th grade and thinking "how weird!" and although I was never really wild about it I thought it would really tighten up the look on my left side and leave me free to contemplate what I would later have done on my right.
So there I was, just sort of waiting for the urge to hit me, when one might I rather spontaneously cut off all my hair. Since about twelve or thirteen I'd kept my hair long enough to tuck behind my ears. Sometimes it was barely to my chin and other times a good four to six inches below my shoulders, but whenever I had it cut I made sure there was enough to tuck behind my ears. I was 27 the night I cut it off. Later that week I also won a small victory against my estranged wife regarding custody of our son, and sped off to have the piercing done to mark the two events.
I went to the usual place in my area, immaculate and fresh as always. Although I wasn't nearly as nervous as I was about my tragus, my fear was obvious. The piercer was friendly; he told me it wouldn't feel great but it wasn't that bad either. Whatever that means, hah. So we fiddled with the placement a little and I ended up settling on having it done just below the apex of my helix, in that same old area that everyone is familiar with. Initially he had planned to do a 16g piercing until I specifically thought to mention I wanted it done at 14g. Before I knew it, the whole thing was over and he was getting the ball of the CBR secured. It felt much like a lobe piercing but with more pressure. The pain was minimal and so far is the most painless of the three cartilage piercings I've had done to date. He gave me the usual talk of aftercare and healing times and I was in and out of there in no more than fifteen minutes.
I began to be more aware of it as I drove the twenty or thirty minutes home. The area got pretty hot, burned a little, and settled into a dull throb by nightfall. Sleeping on that side was out of the question. As the first week went by the area stayed red and warm but the swelling went down quickly. The soreness was more of an intense bruise than anything, and I seemed to bump it on everything, I suppose since its in an area that sort of sticks out more than other parts of the ear. Shirts, showers, sleeping, and evening turning my head too far and brushing it against furniture set it off. For the first couple of weeks there was a fair amount of visible discharge but this diminished with the heat and redness. The soreness has persisted even now about months later. I still can't full lay on that side without sort of positioning my hand or arm a certain way. Cleaning it is also a bit difficult. The exit hole is easily soaped up but the front, in that sort of curvature of the ear, is painful to fully cover. Salt soaks I achieved by soaking gauze pads in warm salt water and sort of draping it over the piercing, usually two or three times each session. In retrospect I should've just laid my head in a bowl of water as I am currently soaking my rook piercing.
The past week or two has seen a lot of improvement. It's still more sore than I'd like for it to be this long, but there's no redness, heat, or swelling, so I'm not concerned about an infectiong. Slowly the soreness is diminishing and I'm beginning to notice the CBR swinging about in the hole a bit instead of just being sort of stuck there. I don't think the healing itself has been the issue, I think it's just where it is on my body and how prone it is to making contact with other parts of myself or other things. While the piercing itself was little more than a minor inconvenience, it has by far been the most annoying during healing.
I can't say I'm particularly taken with the piercing itself, but I do like the part it plays in the look of my left ear. All I can say is that I can't imagine anyone having this done with a gun; the soreness has been so bruiselike even with the clean slice of the needle that I can only imagine the pain involved with the blunt force of a scarcely sharpened piercing stud.
submitted by: Funeral
on: 21 Aug. 2012
in Misc. Ear Cartilage Piercing