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Successful Stretching, Patience is Key

First of all, I'm 24 and have never really had an interest in body modification until recently. I've found piercings to be attractive at various points in my life, but my own low threshold for pain combined with work limits some of my options. To get my feet wet a little bit, I decided to start with something I already have, my ear piercing.

I got my ear pierced when I was about 9 at a mall with a gun. I wore standard jewelry for a couple of years but was never quite happy with how the wiry "lady's hoop" looked and I quickly grew bored of a simple stud. Sometime around age 11 I took it out one last time and never again gave it a thought all through high school or college. A few weeks ago I was brushing my teeth, and looking at a pair of my wife's earrings. I have no clue what came over me, but I stuck one in after more than 10 years of having nothing in my hole and it went right in! Now I was convinced to get myself an earring.

I started looking around for non-traditional jewelry, but at the time I had no clue what I was looking for. I also knew nothing of gauge sizes, so my first trip to Hot Topic was intimidating to say the least. I landed on some 20g CBRs. I was able to get the ring in without any problem whatsoever and with some help from the wife the ball popped in place, although it always looked a little strange because the ring wasn't large enough in diameter to hang from my ear.

I started reading a lot on the internet about this subject, and it seemed like the best way to get a larger diameter CBR or circular barbell was to get a larger gauge CBR or circular barbell. Most sources said that gun piercings were usually 20g. After keeping the 20g CBR in for about a week with no problems (after all, I wanted to make sure nothing flared up), I wanted to see what it would be like with an 18g. I went to a local tattoo shop and got an 18g CBR 1/2 inch in diameter and was quite pleased with how this looked in my ear. Of course, the more I looked at pictures, the more I actually wanted to stretch the fistula.

Two weeks later, sufficiently convinced that my ear was still fine, I set out to get a 16g circular barbell. I got it, stuck it in my ear with minimal resistance, but long story short the threads were stripped and it took me a few days to replace it. I left the 16 in for about 2 weeks, and wondered if I was doing any actual "stretching" yet since there had been no pain or pressure to speak of. Off I went for a 14g circular barbell. When I got home and tried to put it in, nothing happened. I took a shower but still nothing. My ear was getting pretty irritated from the threads (which were about the only part going in) so I stopped after about half an hour. I'd resolved to order some tapers at some point and sort of forgot about it until a friend of mine got his ear pierced at 14g. I was looking at it and realized it seemed a bit smaller than the "14" that I had. I headed to the mall with my "14" comparing it to some other jewelry and quickly discovered that either I'd
made a mistake or something was mislabeled and what I'd actually purchased was a 12g. I bought some 14g jewelry, went home, and tried to put it in. I was met with some resistance though it went in without much pain. It was sore for about 3 days, but I couldn't tell if the pain was from the stretch or where I'd irritated my ear trying to shove the 12 in.

Since there was some pain, I was using salt soaks at least once a day with the 14. About a week and a half after getting the 14 through, I decided to give my 12 another try. The first couple of tries were rough and it wasn't going in; I was actually beginning to get the same pain from before. I took some clear, antibacterial soap and lubed everything up really well. For the first time I could feel the threads coming through the back, but everything was so slick I couldn't put enough force on the ring. Finally I began pushing forward on the back of my lobe and it went in with a slight pinch feeling. This all happened last night and it was moderately sore all evening. Today it's less sore (much less so than when I had tried to force it in thinking it was a 14) and everything seems to be doing fine.

I may eventually go up to a 10, but right now I'm pretty happy with the 12 and will definitely wait the reccommended month before I even think of going bigger since there was noticeable pain and difficulty putting this one in.

I've read a lot of stories about people going from 16's to 4's in the space of a few days or even hours, and while my experience isn't anything that epic, it has been quite rewarding to go from having a piercing without any jewelry worn in it for over 10 years up to a 12 in about a month. I would advise any and everyone to simply take it slow. Part of the reward is the discipline necessary to be patient and safe.

I don't know how far into the body mod culture I'll ever be, though the photos and stories are always fascinating. Taking the time and doing the research for my own small mod has given me a sense of accomplishment and I've gained more appreciation for people's pride in their own mods.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 20 Sept. 2009
in Ear Piercing

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