Magical, Unexpected Freedom!
This little story is about my navel piercing experience and its totally unanticipated effects on my state of mind.
Just to give a little background information for perspective: I am a lady in my late thirties and, like so many people, always walked around with a negative self-image of my supposedly "inadequate" body. I guess we probably all understand how the media and society can perpetuate this. For me it also carried over into a sense of incomplete confidence in my own capabilities, and together the two really helped hold me back from many things in life.
I came of age well before the current explosion of body art and modification, and always viewed that as something for the younger generation. However, in 2005 I made the decision to get a tattoo, which I thought would be my one and only. It turned out to be just the beginning of my body art journey.
I had seen navel piercings, of course, but never considered one for myself because (a) that was something for the "younger generation" and (b) I didn't have that flat, shapely midsection that seemed to be the backdrop for every navel piercing I had seen. I wasn't really overweight or anything, just didn't have that type of physique.
Fast forward to the middle of 2006, when I experienced a major job transition, which ushered in an amazing period of self-discovery and liberation for me. For about a year I had been working extremely hard to get into better physical shape, for my own mental well-being and physical health, and that alone was having amazing positive effects on my psyche. Then the job transition, after working for many years in the same environment. In the midst of everything it occurred to me that, if I truly wanted my navel pierced, it didn't really matter if I had this completely flat stomach or not. Because, realistically, I would probably never ever get it to be flat. I'm a curvy girl, and I've never had a flat tummy in my whole life. It's just not part of me. But I was at the point where I was comfortable enough with my body to seriously entertain the idea of the piercing. So I began to research piercing on the internet, which is of course how I found BME. I also began investigating the shops in my area. Quite by accident I discovered Scarab Body Arts in downtown Syracuse, New York. I had been calling shops on the phone and asking questions, mostly to try to get a feel for them without traipsing all over the county. After checking out several places, I decided to pay a visit to Scarab. Upon walking in I was immediately impressed. The place was spotlessly clean, and decorated with carvings, artwork and photographs. There was no flash to be seen, as they prefer to do custom drawings. Definitely a good sign. There was a bookcase with magazines and books on tattoo, architecture, and art in general. If you wanted to sit in the inviting waiting area, and read and research, you were welcome to do so. Another good sign. The piercer wasn't in at that time, but I did speak to one of the tattoo artists, who answered all my questions and was very welcoming. The piercing and tattoo rooms were separate and private, which I liked a lot. Overall the studio had an excellent feeling to it, far above and beyond what I had seen in any other shop I'd ever been in.
As I mentioned, I had been doing research on BME as well, and in reading people's experiences I discovered that Scarab indeed had a very good reputation among its clients, especially for piercing. That combined with my "test visit" pretty much cemented my choice. Now I was simply waiting for what felt like the "right time."
One Friday after a particularly bad and grueling day at my job, I felt I needed to do something for myself. It didn't take much for me to decide to head on down to Scarab, after calling to see if the piercer was there. When I arrived he was doing another piercing, so I had a wait of about 15 minutes. Good. Long enough to get my bearings, sit there, look through the portfolios on the coffee table again, and stop being nervous. I am the person who's very apprehensive before doing something, but I become very calm just prior to actually going through with it.
The piercing part of the story is fairly standard: my turn comes, I fill out the paperwork, they copy my i.d., we go to the piercing room, which by the way is very tranquil and comfortable. All the supplies are laid out in their sterile packaging, on paper towels on a clean tray. John, the piercer and proprietor of the studio, goes over the aftercare instructions with me. Then he marks my navel while explaining the piercing procedure. He then checks the marks, I lie down, he lines everything up, goes through a breathing exercise with me, and I am soon sporting a very attractive navel barbell. And, as you are probably wondering, for me the pain was less than that of getting an injection or having an I.V. needle put into my arm. Next to no pain at all. I had been worried about it, but it was literally a non-issue in the end.
The really amazing part of my experience, for me, has been its aftereffects. After a lifetime of going about feeling that I was in many ways inadequate, I have undergone an intense liberation of my own self-perception. I am so much more confident in myself, and not just in a physical sense. I feel in many respects like I'm a different woman than I was before I walked into Scarab that day. I have gained a deeper respect for my individuality and abilities. I also feel much more in touch with my own inner creativity. The feeling has grown in the time that has passed. It is completely amazing to me that this one small piercing played such a huge part in freeing me from constraints I had experienced for so long that I wasn't even fully aware of their effects on my life! The most wonderful aspect of it all is that sense of having been freed, of having discovered a whole new level. That is one of the reasons that, within a few weeks, I was back at the studio having a new tattoo...but that's a tale for another day.
If you have stayed with my story all the way to this point, I will say in conclusion that I wanted to get pierced for aesthetic reasons, and never had a clue what was about to take place in my self-perception as a result. Now, the idea of body art has become very important to me, and many of the fears I held onto all my life have dropped away. This does not happen to everyone, I am certain. But if you are considering a modification or a piece of artwork and there is some sort of fear or self-doubt holding you back, you may be surprised what can happen if you find a little courage to go through with doing what you really want, for yourself, for your own "right reasons." I would only recommend taking the time and making the effort to do your research; finding a studio/shop/artist with whom you feel comfortable; and which has excellent standards for cleanliness, technique and equipment. Ask tons of questions! Your foremost concern should be your own safety and health. I know I would not have gone through with my piercing (or subsequent adventures) if I'd been at all uncomfortable with the establishment or the people there. Once your concerns are satisfied, don't be afraid to take a chance on yourself...who knows what you may find??
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 23 Jan. 2007
in Navel Piercing