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A Change In Perception

Growing up, I wouldn't have ever thought that I would one of these types of people that would have any form of body piercings. I grew up "under a rock" - overprotective parents with limited interactions with the outside world. This was further instilled when I moved to an upper middle class neighborhood where it seemed to me that nobody wanted anything to do with something that deviated from the norm.

A few years later, full of rebellion and a desire to see past the boundaries that were built for me, I started working at a Wendy's. Wendy's did more than just taught me responsibility and supply me money. It introduced me to people I could never see myself associating with - a very close-minded statement indeed. They weren't all from the same middle class neighborhood that I had grown accustomed to. But their significance is why I am writing this - they introduced me to body piercings.

Several of these individuals had tongue rings. These fascinated me to no extent. They were "a metal bar going through your tongue." How could that be sanitary or comfortable? As much as I wanted to demean them for being ridiculous, I couldn't help but inquire more about these masterpieces.

My best friend had a tongue ring, and she would rave about how much she enjoyed having one and she would play with it whenever we hung out. Sheer curiosity led me to research more about these rings. The more I researched, the more I wanted one.

When I finally turned 18, I was completely hooked. I must have one. My parents had verbally expressed their disdain about any form of body modification other than the polite earlobe piercings, but it finally began to fall upon deaf ears. With my devious plot to get one without their immediate consent concocted, I was psyched.

However, I had nobody to go with nor anywhere to go. Another one of my friends had expressed his interest to get a lip ring, so we waited until his birthday (two months later) to be pierced.

The day had finally arrived. Through the recommendation of a friend, my buddy and I headed down to the piercer. I was frightened. I knew about the risks of keyloids and sterilization. The piercer had explained that the development of keyloids on the tongue was a rare occurrence and assured me that all utensils were properly sterilized - he sterilizes and opens everything in front of you.

So my adrenaline was pumping, and my excitement could have not been any higher. I sat down in his dental chair (he likes using them) and he marked where the tongue would be pierced. We both agreed on a good location and so he patted down my tongue and clamped it. I was squeezing my cell phone with all the strength I could muster. The moment in which I had looked forward too was here. This is it.

I closed my eyes. A whirlwind of fear, excitement, nervousness, anticipation and jitters were rushing within me. The clamp hurt, but it was necessary - prevents your tongue from swashing around.

Now a tongue ring, just like any other form of body modification can have potential hazards. If it is pierced on a slant or hits a nerve, it can permanently distort your taste. It is susceptible to infection because of its location. But your tongue is the fastest healing organ in your body.

These thoughts barely had a chance to pass through my head when the needle went through. It felt like a pinch, but my nerves made me shake. The bar went through and was screwed on, and the process was complete. After washing away the excess saliva, the chair was lowered and I was free to stand up. Now, the piercer had told me not to talk for fifteen minutes, as this was the "critical time" - it sets up how the piercing will heal. I paced back and forth to calm down my shock, but my tongue stood still and I did not talk.

Fifteen minutes passed by but my nerves could not be calmed. All I can say was, "Wow." My friend had gotten his lip pierced, and I had my tongue pierced. We were told to get Crest Pro Health mouthwash and rinse our mouths whenever foreign objects (food, etc.) went into it and use ibuprofen to relinquish the swelling.

My tongue didn't immediately swell, but it was sore. My friend and I bought our mouthwash and Excedrin and then headed to the diner to get some victory food. It was the last time I would eat solid food for a week.

The next day my tongue was swollen, and I found myself having some difficulty speaking. I took the ibuprofen and it did help, but not much. I made instant mashed potatoes and headed out for the day.

I got a multitude of responses from "awesome!" to "what were you thinking?" Though I respected everybody's opinions, nothing could extinguish my pride. I had finally gotten my tongue ring and with Crest Pro Health in hand I was ready to tackle anything that came towards me.

My parents weren't especially thrilled but were supportive of my decision, buying me more instant mashed, yogurt, and jello. It was difficult at first to take care of both the piercing and my hunger and I did lose 5 pounds from lack of eating, but the sacrifice was well worth it. I was able to eat more solid food within a week, and was able to talk comprehensibly a bit after. It was fun having my friends make fun of my speech impediment, asking me stupid questions such as "Which actor played Rambo?" and having me respond in horrible fashion "Sylvester Stallone" but it was an experience I would never forget or regret.

And it sparked my newfound love for body modifications. Six months later, I have my nose pierced and just got an industrial bar. What does the future hold? I'm not sure. But I've come a long way from that sheltered girl I used to be.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 07 April 2008
in Tongue Piercing

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Artist: Paul
Studio: Now+Or+Never
Location: Staten+Island%2C+NY

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