Thursday, May 4, 2017

head like a hole

sooooooooo this happened:

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

see, there was a good block of time in my life when i would get either a piercing or tattoo every single year without fail. my love of body mods started when i was probably around 15 and just getting into alternative culture & goth-y fashion (thank you, jeff hardy). i absolutely couldn't wait to get some work done of my own. i remember getting a temporary henna "tattoo" done and just falling in love with the mark on my skin. you know what it's like when you have the perfect article of clothing or a great hair/makeup day and it just boosts your entire being? that's what it felt like for young caitlin.

of course, my parents clearly weren't hot on the idea of me getting anything done, but once i moved out i had the freedom to do whatever i want (as a bonus, in toronto, a city with no lack of tattoo parlours). within a month, i was in the chair at yonge street tattoos, getting my first ink done on my 19th birthday (the moist kanji logo on my right shoulder, the perfect spot since it barely hurt at all). and man oh man, i was hooked.

over the years, i ended up getting ten tattoos (so far), plus my labret pierced in 2004 and my tongue pierced in 2005. sadly, my mouth was not at all into oral piercings, and i ended up having to remove the labret stud first (then fork over a shit ton of money for a graft to fix where it fucked up my gums), and eventually took out the tongue stud around 2009 (it was starting to mess with my gums as well, plus my boyfriend at the time found it, uh, more distracting than pleasurable).

miss youuuuuuuuuuuuu

but hilariously, getting my nipples pierced is something i've talked about doing all the way back to 2009 (that wish list is complete now, btw - i got the tiger that year but not the piercings). then i considered doing it in 2012 (got a tattoo instead), and again in 2013 for my 30th birthday, but i chickened out. sure, i'd had holes punched in my face and tongue before, but i never, ever enjoyed the process. my pain threshold isn't all that high. i don't consider tattoos to "hurt" per se - it's more an annoying prickly sensation for me - but i've never relished the feeling of getting a sharp needle pushed through my flesh. it always feels like it lasts forever when it's only, like, 2-3 seconds.

yet i've been craving a new piece of metal in my body since, well, 2009 i guess. the only problem is that i could never decide where. i'm weird about symmetry on my body, so i wouldn't do just one eyebrow or one nostril, and i wanted to stay away from nose piercings altogether (piercings draw the eye to whatever area they occupy, and i've always been a tad self-conscious of my slightly large nose). i promised my dentist i wouldn't get any more oral piercings, and my dental insurance wouldn't hold out for more repair surgeries regardless.

so that left my tits, and as the above attests, i'd always been tempted to go that route. i liked the way nipple piercings looked aesthetically, and i'd been curious about it ever since my high school buddy ben got his done when we were still teenagers. but like i said, i was kind of a chicken about the pain - clearly it's a very sensitive area - and i'd heard horror stories from dude friends about theirs (one passed out the first time he took a shower after getting pierced; one found the pain so intense that he only got a single nipple done and refused the other).

fortunately for me, i was reassured when the apprentice at black line studio told me that it's not that bad - "our nipples go through a lot" - and that if i'd gotten my tongue pierced, it would be no big deal by comparison. (unsurprisingly, men tend to suffer more with nipple piercings because it's a different zone for them, plus there's not as much tissue to punch through there) so when i was offered a spot the following night, i said sure, let's do it. it's better to do it now before it's summer and i'm all sweaty, plus i was afraid if i wait any longer it would start looking like a mid-thirties crisis. (also, come on - for sure it would look awesome under t-shirts and tank tops this summer. i typically wear padded bras, but the bonus of being small-chested - like, i'm a 36A, if that - is that i can go braless if i want)

okay, so: if you've never had anything pierced, basically the piercer takes a metal vice, clamps it over your skin, tugs the flesh a bit to get some purchase, then pushes a needle through. the needle threads in a long post, and then once it's in, the piercer screws the ends of the barbell on, and it's done. as i said, the entire process doesn't take all that long, but it can feel like goddamn forever. you don't get any topical anesthetic, and it's not recommended that you get fucked up first (alcohol thins the blood and makes it more difficult to clot). you just have to bite down and face it.

and yeah, it...hurt. for sure it did. the pain was sharp and the aftermath stung, and i swore a lot, and i had to ask for a couple minutes' break before we did the other one. but then, you know, it was over, and i never have to have it done again (hopefully). now the only thing i have to concern myself with is proper aftercare; for the next few weeks, i have to clean around the studs with antibacterial gel a few times a day, and spray 'em down with saltwater spray to keep them disinfected. apparently it takes up to a year for the holes to fully heal (not that surprising - it took that long for my tongue, too), but i'm gonna likely change out the barbell studs for bigger ones as soon as i can. i'm flashy.

and there will be no photos, you pervs.

obviously i won't tell my dad, and i'm likely only going to tell my mom if i have to; i'm staying at her house in kingston for the long weekend in a couple of weeks, and it might be unavoidable if i still have to do sprays and soaks. i'm not entirely sure how she'd take the news, but probably not all that well, considering how much she's categorically despised all my other piercings ("i just don't see why you have to mutilate your body like that, honey"). she's always hated me getting pierced more than me getting tattooed, which i find strange considering that the former isn't as permanent as the latter, but i think she just finds piercing studs more ugly than anything. maybe it won't be so bad to her this time because they're not on my face? dunno.

but here's the thing, to close out - i've always loved body mods, right down to the very concept: we're all born into these same human bodies, so why not customize yours a bit? you can be as much of an individual as you want. and i love, love seeing other peoples' tattoos and hearing about their stories. i'm forever encouraging people to get their first ink. sure, the big fear is commitment and not wanting to put something in your skin that will be there for the rest of your life (piercings are the lesser end, but it still does leave empty holes in your body), but fuck it - you only live once. do the thing. customize your body however you want. (just like, don't get hate symbols tattooed. those are bad and gross and always will be bad and gross.)

okay byeeeeeeeeeeee

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Anonymous said...

I had a labret and eyebrow dumbbell, the labret messed my gums up big time too so I had to take it out , I miss it as well! God luck and enjoy!