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My Navel

I have always wanted a navel ring, for one reason: navel jewelry is so just so darn pretty! For years in high school I eyed racks of dangling rhinestones and thought "one day, when my belly is flat enough, I will wear one of those!" Yes, I am a self conscious girl. But a few months ago, after months of hitting the gym (not to mention getting over my teenage awkwardness) I finally felt ready.

Having only had a couple of basic piercings done before (ears, nose, eyebrow), and I had trusted a friend of mine to refer me to a good piercer in the area. He told me he hadn't had work done nearby, but someone he knew had gone to Visual Expressions and it had gone well. So on that recommendation, I went there.

The piercer, Alicia, seemed nice, but not very talkative. I tried to make small talk, but she didn't really respond. I told her I wanted to wear belly jewels, and expected her to pierce me with a curved barbell, but she told me she would only do it with a captive bead ring because it couldn't heal any other way. I was a little uncertain about this, but decided she was the expert. I lay down, breathed in, breathed out, and it was through. It hurt for just a moment, then the sharp pain was replaced by a mild, dull aching. She put in the ring, and I felt a sharp pinching sensation; then she clicked it in and it started to feel sore. I say up, took look at it, and mentioned that it looked a little crooked. She said that was just from the ring settling to one side and it would be fine. Again, I trusted her.

It hurt like crazy for a few weeks, and even with constant sea salt soaks it kept oozing pus and was bright red. But I waited it out, kept cleaning it, and hoped for the best. She had told me after two months it would be safe to switch the jewelry, so after two months had passed I bought a curved barbell.

The site was still oozy and red, but she had assured me two months was plenty - I pulled out the ring, and very painfully slid the barbell in. It felt like I was ripping my way through, making new holes as I went. It was horrible; and there was a problem. The barbell wasn't nearly long enough. Once the ring was off, it immediately became apparent why it had hurt so badly all this time: the piercing went in unusually high above my navel, and the bottom was unusually deep in my belly button. The little captive bead ring had been compressing and pinching the flesh this whole time, and the constant pressure was probably slowing the healing. I couldn't even get the barbell all the way through it, so I rather painfully put the ring back and admitted defeat.

The next day, I went on a hunt for a longer barbell, anything to get that painful pinching ring out. After visiting three piercings salons I finally found Precise in East Hartford. The piercer there, Tom, produced a 9/16" (14mm) curved barbell (internally threaded I might add, which made putting it in far less painful than my previous barbell attempt), and it fit perfectly! At last the pinching ended, and for the first time my navel didn't feel sore and raw! But with a properly fitting barbell now in place, I could see I had been right; it was noticeably crooked. Darn. The alignment of the holes wasn't all that off, but the piercing seems to be curved, so that it is impossible to have the barbell sit straight without twisting to the side. I can only guess it has something to do with the ring sitting to one side while it was healing. Either way, it was pretty frustrating to discover all of these problems after three hopeful months of pain and cleaning.

So now I have my extra long curved barbell (for comparison, it is at least two sizes longer than the average navel barbell), the bottom ball of which is lost hopelessly deep in my bellybutton, and that tilts slightly to the left. My options now are to heal it and re-do it, or make do. No way I am redoing this after all the pain and effort! So I'll adapt. I can't wear the dangling ornaments I dreamed of - but I've been instructed to try either top-down jewelry (ornaments hanging from the upper ball) or a J-Curve instead of a curved barbell, to compensate for the depth of the lower ball. The crookedness; well, at least there's a story to go with it. Ice breaker? I think yes. Will I go back to Visual Expressions for the rest of my piercing in future? Probably not.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 21 Dec. 2009
in Navel Piercing

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Artist: Alicia
Studio: Visual+Expressions
Location: East+Hartford%2C+CT

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