Something's missing…a conch piercing!
Growing up, I wasn't into piercings. Until Junior High when I saw girls with cartilage piercings, wearing cheaply made studs with the crappy butterfly backs. I had two holes in each ear done with the awful gun back before I find out how disgusting they are.
But my heart was set on the cartilage piercing. My parents, of course, said no.
I did get one about ten years later. It was done with a needle by a reputable studio in my city. I got pierced with a ring. After care was simple, holding a cotton ball saturated in saline to the area twice a day. There were some hiccups along the way and irritation. It took a long time to heal as folks who have this piercing said it would, but I don't regret getting it. It was my first real piercing. I'd just turned 21.
A couple years passed before the itch to get pierced resurfaced. I liked nose piercings with the small stones but I knew with my parents that was out of the question. I lived with them in my early 20's because I have a disability so while I was under their roof it was their rules. I couldn't get an industrial-my ear wasn't the right shape-and I didn't like the look of them. I didn't think my tragus was prominent enough and I didn't like the way they looked and thought they were too common.
I thought about getting my rook but read about how they can reject and didn't want to spend a lot of money if it might reject. And that it was really painful to get done, but that didn't dissuade me entirely. I might do my rook on my left ear to even things out.
Then I found the inner conch piercing. It was love at first sight! Uncommon, exotic, but still classy. All the things I wanted in a piercing. I scoured the internet for pictures of conch piercings. I liked hoops and studs/barbells, but didn't want to get pierced with a hoop. A hoop had an easier chance of getting knocked around. I might get a hoop once the piercing heals. The stud reminded me of a pearl in a oyster. When I looked at that part of my ear I imagined that gem nestled in my ear. It seemed like something was missing.
To see if I liked it, I put a magnet on my conch in different areas. But I couldn't just walk out and get it. I live with my Mom (because of my disability.) long story, and I didn't want to go behind her back and get it. So one day I asked my Mom if I could get my conch pierced.
Her answer surprised me. She said that she didn't want me to but, since I am an adult, it was my decision. But, I would have to get it done while visiting my Dad and stepmom in Texas. I asked my Dad and he didn't care either. So I started researching piercing places in Houston. I was hesitant about getting pierced on vacation for fear of infection, etc although I hadn't had a problem with any of my other piercings except my lobes. But it was either get it done during my trip or not at all, so I decided to bite the bullet.
The day after I got into town, my Dad, stepmom and I drove into Houston. The piercing place was in a funky area of town. It didn't open until noon, so we killed the time browsing the local shops. Then we had Thai food for lunch. Throughout all this I contemplated backing out, but I knew I'd regret it.
The place I originally wanted to get pierced at was closed, while 713 was open and, conveniently located across the street. We entered a large downstairs room with teal walls cluttered with tattoo art. A guy behind the counter asked what we wanted. I told him I wanted my conch pierced, and he directed us up to the second floor.
We were the only customers in the piercing area that day. We had to wait for a few minutes before anyone came out, but we weren't bored. There was a great jewelry selection of different colored gems, even opals. And there were glass cases containing plugs. And pictures of weird body modifications from all over the world.
The certificate of APP membership on the wall eased my nerves. A little.
A few minutes later, one of the piercers, Harley appeared, and asked what I wanted. I said I wanted my conch pierced. After examining both ears, we decided it would look best in my right ear. I filled out the paperwork, showed my ID, etc. Then it was time to pick out jewelry. There was so much to choose from! Glittery studs, beautiful opals! I was a kid in a candy store It was difficult to choose because I'd wear my choice for the next 6 months and didn't want to get sick of it. Harley suggested an aquamarine gem because it would look good in contrast with my dark hair, so I chose that one.
After the tools and jewelry were sterilized, it was time to rock and roll. The piercing room was painted teal with a couple tribal masks as decoration. I sat down on a table covered in paper like you'd see in a doctor's office. Harley marked two spots on my ear, one higher and one lower. Harley said the higher placement would look better. I trusted his judgement. I laid down on the table and took my Dad's hand while my stepmom sat down in a chair in the corner.
I told Harley I was nervous but he did a great job of making me feel at ease. He also explained each step of the process to me from the cleaning of my ear to the actual piercing. While Harley made the final preparations I wondered what I was getting myself into. I thought about the research I'd done on conch piercings, and all the videos I watched on Youtube of people getting it done. Some said the conch was the most painful piercing they'd ever gotten, cleaning it hurt like hell, and it was sore and swollen for weeks. Then there was the worry about infections which can be very dangerous in cartilage. I'd read my share of horror stories.
But it was too late to back out now.
My chest was tight. My stomach was queasy. It felt like I was breathing through a straw.
Dad tried to calm me down. "This is nothing compared to the other needles you've had."
He wasn't talking about piercings.
"Ready?" Harley asked.
"Ready as I'll ever be." I said, squeezing my Dad's hand. Harley told me to breath in and out then the needle went through. There was no weird popping noise. That wasn't that bad! I couldn't believe I'd gotten all worked up over that. Haha. My helix hurt much worse. It was painful, however, when Harley put the jewelry in.
The placement was spot on! I felt like crying upon seeing that aqua gem in the mirror. Something I'd been wanting for so long was finally a reality! For aftercare Harley recommended pouring saline solution over the area twice a day. That's what I've been doing after rinsing my ear under warm water in the shower. So far the healing process hasn't been a breeze There's been soreness but nothing bad, minimal redness and swelling.My ear didn't throb and I haven't gotten that headache that some people have spoken of following a piercing.
I had a scare last night when I woke up to find my ear red but it wasn't sore. I put some saline on it and it calmed right now. Chances are it was irritated when I rolled over onto it in my sleep.
Healing continues to go great. Whenever I move my head I catch the gem glinting in my ear. I may get a double conch in my left ear next! For anyone who wants a conch piercing, go for it! It hurts in the beginning, but it's worth it.
submitted by: Celticroots
on: 05 Nov. 2016
in Misc. Ear Piercing
Studio: 713 Tattoo and Piercing Parlour
Location: Houston, TX