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Mom & Daughter Navels; Empowerment; plus a CBR vs BB Rant

Soapbox Disclaimer] I don't believe that one should undertake any body modification lightly. It's not like an ugly dress or ill-fitting pair of jeans that you can toss aside. I've been through the pain and hassle of having a stupid tattoo removed (hey! it was a good idea at the time!?! smirk) I learned from that experience, and each new addition must have meaning…. Be it ink or metal, I have to live with it, or its residua, forever. It had better symbolise something that I'll recall fondly, forty years from now, in 'the home'. [End Soapbox Disclaimer] I've been accumulating body piercings (7 to-date) since my first in January 1998. My navel was the first, and I agonised about getting it done for nearly a year before I actually did it. At the time, I was a complete wuss about it. I think I was scared and squicked equally, about the pain of the procedure, and the imagined discomfort of having a piece of metal protruding from my body. Boy was I wrong. "Stick-OW!" and it was DONE before my brain registered the pain and told my hand to clamp down on the arm of the friend who accompanied me for moral support. I felt like an idiot for all my anxiety. J Healing was not uneventful, but then, I played with the jewelry constantly. Still do. (Though I don't recommend it to anyone.) Also, a plastic bead was used to secure the CBR, and I know now that it really should have been a stainless steel bead. I changed the jewelry to a curved barbell after fighting minor infection, off and on, for the first four months. The redness and irritation subsided within 24 hours of the change, and it's been 100% trouble-free ever since. [Begin Rant] I find it ridiculous that shops (all six of the ones in my area at least) wont start a navel piercing with a BB. (I can feel some of you launching your mailers to berate and further educate me on that topic, but I've heard it, and experience tells me, YOU should open YOUR mind instead… read further) I'm firmly convinced that some of the main reasons why it takes a navel longer to heal than anything else, is because its placement is so well-suited to irritation and harbouring infection. Yeah, you're not supposed to play with it. Virtually everyone does. And a bacteria-laden ring spinning back and forth in an open wound is just asking for trouble, dontcha think? Yeah, you're not supposed to wear clothes touching it. Welcome to the real world. We're not all employed at nudist camps. Yeah, you're not supposed to let that gargantuan ring flop over in the natural crease of your body when seated. Hello? Are navel piercings only for stick-figure chicks weighing 98 pounds and sporting 0-3% body fat? Granted, it is a tad more difficult to perform the aftercare ritual for a BB. On a first piercing, or a first experience with a BB, the piercee may require a bit more education. Everything I read says to choose a piercer who will spend time with you, answer your questions, Ieducate/I you about your new piercing. If a guy can get through healing a spear through his penis, it can be assumed that even the dullest knife in the drawer can manage to move a barbell back and forth in their navel. I fear the piercer that believes you can care for a ring, but not a barbell. Further, a curved barbell twice (or nearly twice) the length of the tunnel, is simple to clean. The length is not an issue and most of the extended bar rests inside the navel, but straight - not laying to one side. [Cha-Ching! That's my $0.25 worth. - End Rant] I'd have to say that my navel is still my favourite piercing. It's MINE and it was empowering; a purely visual adornment on that little, yet ever-present belly bulge I've always been self-conscious about. My daughter tends to be somewhat heavy-set, as I was as a teenager. Ok, she's a big grrl. And kids being as mean as they can be, she's very self-conscious about her appearance. She's been intrigued by my navel piercing since I got it. (Kids are endlessly fascinated by pretty, shiny things, aren't they?) I knew what getting the piercing did for my self-esteem. Even though I am quite happy at an athletic 140#, I still can't lose the belly-poof. For years, I refused to show my belly or wear low-cut jeans/shorts that I find so sexy… at least not until I reclaimed that part of my body, largely assisted by that pretty, shiny, little ring. So I agreed to let her get one too…. "someday". She was 12 at that time and I purposefully "forgot" about it for almost a year. She kept asking, and it became apparent that she was really quite serious about wanting it done. We waited for summer vacation to give her plenty of time to start healing before school started again. We found a shop that would pierce a minor on a "judgement call", and I took her there. There are reasons shops wont pierce minors, and in large part, I agree with them. In fact, the shop where I had a lot of my stuff done, (Outer Limits) wouldn't do it. No, I wont divulge this alternate shop's name, because they were cool to accommodate us, and they don't deserve to be berated for 'bending the rules' on a case-by-case basis, nor inundated with kids trying to get pierced with anything less than their parent's full consent. Anyway, I digress…. She's very tall for her age, 5'4" before she turned 13 in March '99, and I didn't mind using that to her advantage to fudge a year on her age as the shop cut off at 14 for minors. Ethics aside, and I wrestled with that a bit, she was completely on her own in the initial consultation with the piercer. He asked HER what needed to be done to care for the new piercing. She had the procedures down cold. Not just "memorised" for the meeting, but honest knowledge of the healing process and aftercare regimen. If she didn't fare well on the "test", or he wasn't convinced she was mature enough to deal with it, I was fully prepared to make her wait another year or more. This shop was another that refused flat-out, to start with a BB. We were already pushing our luck on her age, so I didn't press the issue. We got the 14ga CBR with a stainless bead and went home happy. Four weeks into the healing process, I saw the identical results I had eighteen months earlier. Redness that refused to dissipate, off and on return of bleeding and crusties, irritation every time she was sitting down… etc. She had been religiously following the aftercare cleaning/soaking instructions, and was much better than I was about not touching it too. She didn't let her pants press on it, and she gained remarkable posture skills overnight, but simply, the architecture of her stomach still forced it to lay over when she was seated, causing irritation. I hated the idea of changing the jewelry on a new piercing but felt that breaking that rule was preferable to abandoning the piercing entirely, which is where we were headed. I bought a curved stainless BB, swapped it out, and within 24 hours and three cleanings, the redness and irritation were gone. It's two weeks later now, and she hasn't felt any discomfort, no recurrence of crusties, no bleeding, and she can't wait to show it off at school. I found a big bag of her oversized tee-shirts in the Goodwill pile this morning. She's presently raiding my closet for shorter tees and sweaters so she can show her belly, and her eating habits have changed overnight. She was always beautiful… but now she Ifeels/ beautiful. Another perfect case of Empowerment, helped along by a tiny piece of shiny metal. J

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 18 Aug. 1999
in Navel Piercing

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