I didn’t get my first piercing until I was 13 years old. Neither of my parents have any tattoos or piercings (not even ears!) so they didn’t let me get my ears pierced until I was old enough to care for them myself. I remember the time in my life pretty well…
In the span of a few years I had 3 different friends get their ears pierced at a popular chain jewelry and accessories store in the mall, at two different store locations. All three of them became infected (two of these friends to this day have not gotten their ears re-pierced). This temporarily deterred my desire to get holes punched in my head. When I turned 13, however, I revisited the idea. I looked into different options and talked to local folks who did piercings and settled on Wal-mart. The lady at the jewelry counter was an older woman, very sweet and grandmotherly with plenty of experience; she reassured me that it wouldn’t hurt and she’d done this tons of times on kids and even babies.
I remember I didn’t get my ears pierced that day, but within a few weeks I went back with my mom, selected simple diamond studs ($10 with free piercing, a steal!) and nervously sat behind the jewelry counter while the piercing lady got the gun ready. She marked my ears and asked me if they looked even. I said yes. I closed my eyes, and felt a slight pinch in my right ear, then my left. I let out a breath opened my eyes and looked in the mirror at my freshly pierced ears! She gave me cleaning solution and told me to clean them 2-3 times a day and don’t touch them too much. Of course I wanted to play with my new accessories constantly, but was reminded that touching them introduces unwanted bacteria and can lead to infection.
Waiting 6 weeks to change the earrings was agony at 13, but I waited and finally, after 6 weeks I took out the diamond studs and checked out the holes in my ears. I went to sleep and woke up the next morning, ready to try out some cute little pearl studs. But they wouldn’t. Go. in. The holes had closed up somewhat overnight! With some work and a little pain I was able to punch the original studs through the tiny film of skin that regrew overnight*. I didn’t leave my earrings out overnight again for a long time after that.
My next piercing was a second set of ear lobe piercings. I was 17 when I decided to go for the double pierced look, and luckily my parents were on board. My grandmother offered to pay for the piercing as a birthday gift. We went to walmart one afternoon, ready for round 2. I browsed the jewelry, including various studs and even a do-it-yourself piercing kit. Once the lady at the jewelry counter (I do believe it was the same sales clerk from 4 years before) was free my grandmother told her we were there to get my ears pierced. “Is she 18?” the lady asked. “No,” I answered. “You have to have a parent’s permission if you’re under 18.” “I’m her grandmother,” my Nana told her. “I’m sorry, Ma’am, but it has to be a parent. If it was up to me that would be fine, but it’s a law.”
So we left, exasperated with the system for their rules. “Mom, they sold piercing kits there!” I said in frustration when I got home and told my mother what happened. “We could’ve bought one, brought it home, and *you* could’ve pierced my ears, but to have a professional do it, I have to have you there.” She agreed that it was ridiculous.
We went back the next week, my mom and I, to finally get my second set of holes. It was much the same as the time before, but I was less nervous.
My 3rd and final piercing experience was when I was 21 (again, four years later). I decided to get a cartilage piercing. I did a little googling, and found many people recommend against the piercing gun in favor of a needle. So I looked into tattoo parlors nearby and settled on one about an hour and a half from me, but down the street from a friend of mine. This friend had gotten a tattoo from the parlor and recommended them.
I went to visit that friend one Friday night. We may have had a few drinks. Saturday morning we rose, not necessarily feeling 100%. We carried on with the plan, and I went to the tattoo parlor. The artist and I discussed placement (she complimented my ear shape) and the earring she’d be putting in, a hoop.
I sat nervously in the chair, with my friend nearby for moral support. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and felt a pinch, then she said “we’re done!” She handed me a mirror and I checked out my new piercing. It looked badass. I was very pleased.
We discussed payment and cleaning. I stood up to get my wallet and the world swooped around me. I felt like I was going to fall down face first on the tattoo parlor floor. “Are you okay?” One of the patrons asked. “Yeah, yeah, just…Dizzy” “It’s totally normal,” the artist said calmly “I just opened a red bull do you want some?” I nodded, embarrassed. She gave me a small cup with red bull and said, “just sit down back here as long as you need to.” The concerned patron even gave me a Capri Sun juice pouch.
After a few minutes, I felt better, paid, thanked everyone, and my friend drove us back to her place.
For the next 6 months I cleaned my new piercing regularly. Twice a day, every day. I didn’t have any issues with it. After 6 months, according to the person who pierced my ear and multiple online sources, my piercing was all healed up. I decided not to take out the earring though, as I was satisfied with it. I continued to clean the piercing irregularly, just in case.
About 3-4 months after the healing process was over I fell ill. Most notably, I had a low-grade fever. My piercing was very tender, so I asked my husband to look at the back of my ear. “Oh my god! It’s really red and swollen…we need to take this earring out.” Never having removed it before this wasn’t the easiest task. We finally got the earring out (with quite a bit of pain for me and quite a bit of swearing from my husband) and it was so gross. I won’t go into detail but there was a lot of pus and ickiness**
Luckily, removing the earring did the trick. My fever went down, I started feeling better, and the piercing eventually stopped leaking pus. I still haven’t gotten it re-pierced, although I’d like to. And my husband and I have plans to get tattoos, but that hasn’t happened yet either. I know for future body modifications I’ll be more careful, and take out the earring once in awhile.
Did you enjoy my story? What piercings/tattoos do you have? Share your stories and pictures in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you! Share this post on Facebook or Twitter and, as always, follow me here on WordPress for more GREAT content like this!
*I don’t recommend this method. Go to someone who knows what they’re doing if you piercing closes up.
**If you suspect you have an infection, please visit a medical professional for guidance.