Guest post: A Flowering of Sorts

April 8, 2009

pdbsg-picture-198Cloud invited me to guest blog (a major compliment), so I’ll try to keep this interesting.  She was the grand dame of Tribalectic when I first tentatively described my first piercing years ago, and she remains an ornery, insightful broad whose thoughts amuse, inspire, and inform.

My experience in the piercing community is that its members tend to be thoughtful, sensitive, even cautious.  Many, if not most, shows signs of empathy, and welcome whatever happiness or grief is re-membered, as in put back together, by their fellow community members.

By no means are all piercers or piercees suffering souls.  There are some folks just intersted in a better way to get off.  Will my tongue stud make her jizz?  You know what I mean.

But, there is that segment of the population which has been wounded in mind, or heart or spirit.  Something private and personal has been taken away, stolen, defiled.  It could be a beaten spouse.  It could be a raped adult or child.  It could be the jackass boss who never lets you be what you want to be.

When your identity has been stolen away, you can either give in or you can reclaim yourself.  Your pain is your pain.  How you ornament yourself is your choice.  Who you share yourself with is your choice. Piercing, for some, allows you to reclaim your body.  It’s mine, not yours you assmunch! In my eyes, this is a beautiful project a flowering of sorts, where you reclaim your body and let it grow from there.

Never let bad memories hold you back.

Namaste.

-pdbsg

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Anti-Experience: Pt 2

December 23, 2008

Part one can be found here.

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Marking

I can’t begin to tell you how important it is to take your time about the marking.  This is the time to communicate lifestyle considerations such as plans for further piercing near to the new one, purpose of the piercing, or what style of jewelry you would like to ultimately wear.

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Communication is key! If you have doubts, always ask the piercer.  Often they have benefit of experience and will tell you why they want to place it a certain way.  Proper placement can mean a more stable and aesthetically pleasing piercing.

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Take the time with the marking and prep work until you are comfortable.  It can be hard to assess by yourself, so having a friend give a second opinion is valuable.

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Noah is doing cleaning and prep work on me, and we discuss placement.  I also asked for an unusually large starting gauge for my nipple, 8 gauge, and he had to carefully assess whether my anatomy was suited.  After looking at my other, long-healed 8 gauge nip, he agreed to do it.

Wonderful shop that had all the jewelry I needed! ‘tho the 8 g needle and jewelry had to be statim’d.

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The Piercings

BD#1 went first with her Monroe.  It was very quick.  She let out a subdued moan, but was very brave.

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Here’s BD#1 caught in that, “oh shit” moment, right before the piercing.  Noah is well into his aftercare speech, which he wants you to focus on instead of dwelling on the pain.

Right.

Noah asked me which piercing I wanted first.  I opted for the chest piercing–ouch with the needle + a hard painful push on my chest to get the anchor inserted. Then the nipple piercing.  That was pretty painful–it seemed to take forever, but he had to push that 8 gauge needle pretty hard to get it through.  It really only took a few seconds.

In my mind, piercing is a significant event, and should be treated as such.  Pain has been a part of human transformative rites forever. You walk out of a piercing experience a different person, transformed through ritual.

So, yeah, it hurts a bit, but it’s worth it.

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The Jewelry

Dazed and Confused. Again.  Immediately after piercing, you’re so high on endorphins and jazzed and relieved it’s hard to pin down the little details.  Like jewelry and aftercare.

Make sure you know what jewelry you just bought! This can become important if you need to replace part of it, plan to stretch, or just want to buy new jewelry.  Or maybe that piercing you just got is having problems and you suspect the jewelry.   Is it stainless steel? Titanium? Who is the manufacturer?

They gave me a receipt with all the jewelry spelled out, if in abbreviations.  So, uh . . . what are all these abbreviations again? “am-at-18”? “is-tbop4”? omgwtf?

The following pics are an experiment to document my jewelry purchases.

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the surface anchor

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the barbell

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BD#1’s labret jewelry

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Bye Bye, Evolution! We’re pierced, poorer, and pumped up! Why doesn’t my town have cool places like this? We’re so podunk! Next time I’d like to have a little more time to hang out in Albuquerque.

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About two hours down the road.  Badge of courage.

A great experience altogether, but I have to say that two intense piercings, plus an 8 hour drive makes for one tired Cloud and BD#1.  Now, I can concentrate on . . . the aftercare!

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See ya!

Thank you, of course, to Noah Babcock at Evolution Body Piercing who very graciously let me take the photos during the whole thing.

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Does it hurt?

November 12, 2008

Let me make something clear right now:

Yes, it hurts! You’re getting a needle shoved through your flesh, what do you think?

Everyone asks this question (often to the annoyance of modified people).  I understand your anxiety, really I do, but we have a saying, “Pain is part of the point.”    Contrary to popular opinion, we’re not all masochists who enjoy pain for its own sake. Body piercing can be a rite of passage, a badge of courage, a transition, and a profound experience; it’s a little sacrifice–without a little pain it would be far less meaningful.  So I say, if you’re so all-fired scared of a little needle stick, maybe piercing isn’t for you.

Now that’s out of the way, let me talk a bit about specifics.

How much does it hurt? The answer is . . . it depends.  Depends on the body part, depends on the person.  Some piercings have a reputation for hurting more, for example, nipples, or a triangle.  And yet not everyone has the same experience of pain, so one person’s most painful piercing will be another’s walk in the park. The sensations can range from excruciating to just a little pinch.  It hurts, but it’s quick, compared to, say, the pain of a tattoo, which is constant.  Everyone can withstand a few seconds of pain and discomfort.

Pain relievers. In the US, piercers are not allowed to use anesthetics (unless they are also medical doctors), but in Europe and other parts of the world, I think it’s common to use a topical application like Emla creme.  Most piercers feel topical anesthetics are not a good idea, because they “freeze” or distort the tissue, which could cause a crooked piercing.    And, sorry, don’t take ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin before getting pierced, as they may cause you to bleed more. (Taking ibuprofen afterward can help ease pain and swelling, though).

What to do: First, try not to dwell on the upcoming pain.  The anticipation of a piercing is often the worst part.  Try not to tense up; you can use breathing, distraction, or other relaxation techniques at the time of the piercing to lessen your discomfort. Also, make sure you are in good general health, are rested, and have eaten lightly an hour or so before getting pierced.  Establish a good rapport with your piercer and get all your concerns and questions addressed prior to your piercing to reduce your level of anxiety (as much as that’s possible!)

My biggest tip for reducing the pain is:  Find the best, most experienced piercer you can. A skilled, experienced, professional piercer will put you at ease and make you comfortable,  can make the piercing go so quick you won’t have time to experience pain, and will be deft and won’t fumble around getting the jewelry in.  That part can be very uncomfortable!

Finding a great piercer is, as in so many things related to piercing, the key to a great (and [relatively] painless) experience! But even if it hurts like a mof, remember: we all gotta suffer for beauty!