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For The Love of Labrets

upon a time in Tempe, Arizona, an 18-year-old, somewhat naive, but adventurous college student walked into HTC, handed a complete stranger 50 bucks and embarked on a painful and very personal journey of self-discovery. That was me. Now, almost 3 years and 5 piercings later, I don't know if I'm at all closer to my self, but I'm having a hell of a time experimenting with self-expression. My very first facial piercing was a standard labret, small guage, small bead. Sitting in the studio, with Glen studying my lower lip, I hardly had time to give in to the nervousness. I was in a spacey, shocked mood, having just seen my girlfriend's nipple stretched to twice its length and skewered with a long sharp needle. Glen allowed me sufficient time to decide the perfect placement, with the help of a surgical skin marker. Trying to find the absolute center, he made me look in the mirror a lot, and democratically asked my friends for their opinions. The forceps hurt more than the needle. The needle itself felt strange but not unpleasant. Afterward, admiring my little steel friend in the mirror, I thought "That didn't hurt too bad." Mostly, it just ached and throbbed faintly. More of an irritation than plain pain. In the weeks following, I carried a small bottle of Listerine, rinsed religiously after every cigarette, pampered my gums and abused my tastebuds with Glyoxide, and followed aftercare instructions exactly. It paid off. The labret healed in about 3 weeks, and has given me no trouble since. Later, I had the jewelry adjusted after the swelling went down, (what little swelling there was). It did take a little getting used to. I spent the first evening struggling for an excessively long time to eat a sub sandwich. (A small freedom I used to take for granted). Kissing my boyfriend took careful planning and caution. Other such oral activities required different techniques, and in one case, caused me to lose my jewelry. Anyway, back to the subject at hand... Pleased with my body-piercing experience at HTC, I decided those stretched lobes looked pretty neato, and stretched my 18 guage earhole all the way to 4 guage in one sitting, with the help of a tapered ivory horn pendant. Not very smart, and it hurt like the devil, but healed nicely and now has matured to 0 guage. Following that, I got another hole in my lobe, a cartilage piercing that got infected and was ultimately rejected, and a ring in my eyebrow that I was later forced to take out due to safety standards at work. So...back to the oral piercings. Having found a job that, so far, has tolerated my non-conservative jewelry, I decided to try what I have most often heard referred to as a "medusa". My second facial piercing was done at Sterling Rose Tattoos here in North Dakota. Previously, I had never seen one except in magazine pictures, and wanted something to match my upper labret. So on my birthday, my boyfriend paid a paltry $36 to give his girlfriend some pain. Angie, herself the owner of an especially cute monroe, had never done a medusa, and the procedure was supervised by one of the shop's owners, James. I laid on the chair and waited patiently while Angie marked and measured. James had me make faces at him to judge the center of my upper lip. Yes, I was very nervous this time. Again, the needle caused me not a lot of pain. As Angie inserted the jewelry, I began to feel a little discomfort. Actually, a LOT of discomfort.It hurt, period. I couldn't tell if I was truly crying from pain, because my eyes were watering so bad. Tears were running into my ears, since I was laying on my back, and even in pain, I found it amusing. I looked up at James and said, "Dude, look at my eyes!" crying and laughing and trying to hold still at the same time. Even with my red eyes, and decidedly puffy lip, I left the studio with a smile on my face. 3 weeks later, the medusa has almost healed completely. Initially, it gave me a lot less trouble in the getting-used-to process than the lower labret. Eating and drinking is relatively easy. Blowing my nose is a little awkward but not as bad as I anticipated. The overall asthetic of the pair of lip piercings is striking and quite beautiful, in my opinion. My piercings are a deeply personal part of me. I remember, my high school yearbook predicted that one day I would hold the world record for the most body piercings (a tough act to follow). I don't know how far I want to go with my body decorations but I do know that I'm having an awesome time getting there. It's good to have an end to journey toward, but it's the journey that counts in the end.

Reign Powell August 27, 1999

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 30 Aug. 1999
in Lip Piercing

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Artist: Glen%2Cand+Angie
Studio: HTC+of+Tempe%2C+and+Sterling+Rose+Tattoos
Location: Tempe%2C+AZ%2C+and+Fargo%2C+ND

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