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My Lip-rings: A Momma's Girl Gets Fangs

r of fang-like lip-rings are two weeks old now, and so far it has been a much more interesting experience than I anticipated. I am twenty-three years old now, and I feel that I am just beginning to know who I am, and to honor it by being it. I have lived too much of my life in fear—fear of other peoples' reactions and feelings, fear of feeling guilty, fear of being judged, wanting to please everyone. I was always really attracted to 'freaks' and my friends were always wild, with tattoos, colored hair and mohawks, fucked-up clothes, etc. But I could only go part of the way. I always felt as if I was holding back for other peoples' benefit (like my parents). When I was 13, a friend of mine pierced my nose at a party. There were no such things as 'piercing parlors' in my town back then. Unfortunately I was drinking at the time so I can't say anything about the quality of the piercing experience. But three years later I went into my bathroom and put a safety pin through my nipple. I was high from it for days. Of course, it wasn't deep enough and the ring I put in was just a little earring and it grew out rather quickly. After wearing my nose-ring for years, it came out one night at a party while my body rejected a surplus of alcohol, and I didn't replace it. After high school I became increasingly more 'normal'. I started caring a lot more what people thought of me and I wanted everyone to like me. I learned to like nice, quiet music, and designer clothes and subtle make-up. I became shy and meek, when as I teenager I had been tough, strong and rebellious. So after spending a few years trying to be someone I wasn't, and feeling like a fucking idiot in my cargo pants, I found myself one night at the local Goth club in my hometown in Virginia last summer. I had been invited because I knew the guys in the band, Bella Morte (www.bellamorte.com). I was a little overwhelmed at first by all of the leather and metal and make-up and hair, but I was fascinated too! I became a regular. I loved the band's music and it got me back into Bauhaus and Nine Inch Nails and Sisters Of Mercy and Siouxsie (I'd never stopped listening to the Cure). I spent a lot of time with Gopal, the bass-player, and by far most pierced member of the small-town gothic scene. He has 18 gauge rings in his eyebrow, his nose, and his nipple, five in his lip, five in his tongue and a bunch lining his ear, all on left side, and two barbells crossings each other through his penis, just below the head. I think he is beautiful, more-so because of the piercings. They are a part of him and I couldn't imagine him without them. I know how important they are to him, each one an assertion of his true self, his individuality, his courage. I began to miss my nose-ring terribly. In February, I had it re-done (professionally this time) and loved the experience. Soon after that, I began travelling, and in my first week in London, went to Chioko in Camden and had the base of my right ear cartilage (or 'conch' I guess it's called) pierced with a 14 gauge bar (I wanted a ring but she said I'd have to wait). Around the same time, I dreaded my long, wavy brown hair, and dyed it black; something I wanted to do since I was 14. And a month later I had another conch done just above the first. They have taken forever to heal! But I have tried to be patient with them and lovingly clean them. And that brings us to the lip-rings. I thought about the piercing(s) for a long time, but I didn't think that I would actually do it. I just thought it was a really cool idea. The center ring/single-Labret is a little less extreme and I thought it would probably be my next piercing. I was also turned off by the idea of the double because I was pretty sure that I would have to get it done in stages: first a bar piercing on one side, then wait for it to heal, then get the other side done, then get rings months later once they were healed. But when I went into Cold Steel and asked them, they said that they would pierce them both with rings then and there if I wanted. That totally changed it for me... instant gratification! My friend and piercing mate, Nick (he got a Labret the same day) helped to talk me into it (although I didn't need much convincing!). Jessie was our piercer and he was great. He was really careful to get the marks in the right places, he answered all of my questions really patiently, and played Depeche Mode while he did me : ) The pain was much sharper than it had been in my ear or nose, the sensation very clear: metal passing through my flesh, no mistaking it. And then... Two 14 gauge rings. I kept looking in the mirror, mesmerized. I grinned maniacally. I loved them. But in the following few days, my lip was swollen, I was self-conscious, and eating and talking sucked. I continued staring in the mirror, "is this me?" I thought, and I wasn't sure. That first week, my mother came to visit me. When she first arrived, she acted really cool about it, and I was quite relieved! But the next morning she looked upset so I asked her what was wrong. Then it came out. She had been up all night crying. When she had seen me it had been 'like a stab in the heart'. She didn't want my five-year-old stepsister to see me. She thought they were evil. How could I disfigure my beautiful mouth like this? Wow! This was much worse even than what I had been preparing myself for! I told her the only thing I could: that I loved her and was sorry that she felt that way, but this is what I have to do for me, this is my idea of beauty, this is my assertion of my freedom to be myself. And I felt stronger. And she's slowly getting used to it : ) Over the next few days I had some more feedback. "It's a shame to fuck up such a beautiful face" and "You would be a beautiful girl without all of that stuff. Take my advice, be normal!" As well as being treated a bit differently; with a certain amount of hesitation and such. But each comment made me more sure, and each day that passed found me loving them more. They are a part of me now. They are teaching me a lesson. They are a reminder, and a statement, of freedom. They are a tool of provocation. And a conversation piece! And also, they are just a couple of pieces of metal I decided to stick through my lip one day cuz I think they're pretty! So fuck them if they don't like it!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 26 July 2000
in Lip Piercing

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Artist: Jessie
Studio: Cold+Steel
Location: London

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