A few years ago, I wrote a zine which included an article I wrote about piercings. I said something along the lines of how I like piercings and how I am not doing it for attention and how it’s become a way of life. I was 25 when I wrote that piece and though it still rings true today, I think it would ring truer if the word “piercings” would be substituted with “tattoos”.
Back in the day, I preferred piercings over tattoos because I said that if I ever get tired of one or more, I can simply remove it and all that would be left is a little hole. But with tattoos, removing them could be tricky.
Today, however, I have come to see tattoos as my preferred method of body modification. I form a closer connection to my tattoos because they become a new birthmark or I feel as if they’re a part of my genetic makeup. Even if their meaning for me has changed or if I feel their message doesn’t represent me anymore (which hasn’t happened yet) they’re still part of who I am and will remain with me until the day I die.
Piercings don’t. As pretty as some of them are (I especially love oral piercings. Fucking stunning!) they’re temporary and can be removed at any time.
At the hight of my piercing stage, I’ve had a total of eight piercings. Not much, but enough for my surgeons to gawk at the plastic cup they gave me for keeping my metal before whatever surgery I had to undergo.
My grandfather pierced my ears when I was a year old. I pierced my septum when I was 20, then my right nipple four months later. I got a belly ring at 21, a labret at 23, my left nipple at 26 and a rook at 27.
I had already started getting tattoos by the time I got my labret, and now have four of them. A small one of my logo on my right wrist, a slightly bigger one of my guitar on my left hip, and a half-sleeve on both arms.
Events took place at different stages of my life which forced me to remove almost all of my piercings one by one.
After losing my favorite pair of earrings (Star of David earrings I got for my 14th birthday from my aunt in LA), I failed to find a pair that I loved as much. My right one also kept getting infected. I keep trying to find a pair that I like and that doesn’t hurt too much, but to no avail.
As any gorgeous oral piercing tends to do, my labret did a number on my oral health. It started to destroy my lower front teeth. The gums were receding and I got scared of any further damage. Off it went to never go back.
My left nipple:
This one came off after my efforts to fight the reoccurring infections proved futile. I had it for about four years, and the infection kept coming back every one or two months. Finally, I found myself unable to touch it and didn’t even let my husband (who was my boyfriend back then) anywhere near it. Off it went. Fuck that painful shit.
After my wedding, I had to remove my rings once a month to go to the mikveh (the ritual bath). It was a pain in the ass to remove them and an even bigger pain in the ass to put them back in. The most difficult one was the rook. My ring was with a pressure ball which I could never snap back in, so I just left it as is without the pressure ball. But it was still difficult to remove and put back. Recently, I tried changing the ring itself to a curved barbell, but it didn’t help. So last week, after coming back from the mikveh, I decided to not put it back. Pretty as it was, it’s not worth my rage every time I try putting it back in and fail about a dozen times before I succeed.
The belly ring and my right nipple:
These two came off after I got pregnant. The belly ring started to hurt even during my first trimester when I was barely showing. And the nipple simply got pushed out when my breasts started to swell. I suspect that the hole was still there even after I gave birth to my daughter because I found that it was much easier for me to pump and easier for her to nurse on my right one. But I never tried to put my rings back in even after I stopped breastfeeding.
This is the first voluntary piercing I got, and the only one I still have. I even have the same ring since I was 20. I changed it a couple of times over the years but always came back to it because it was the most comfortable one. Curved barbell, 14 gauge, spread slightly wider at the curve so that I could easily flip it upside down into my nose whenever I need to hide it. I can also easily remove it and put it back in, no problem at all. My daughter also likes my septum. She points at it and says “Agil!” [Ring] and then points at her own nose and says “Gam ani rotza!” [I want one too!]
So now, every time I think I ought to get another piercing, I think about how painful it will be to eventually have to remove it because all my other piercings met the same fate and got relegated to my jewelry box, where they will slowly become oxidized. And then I think, fuck that, I’ll get a tattoo instead.
When my daughter grows up and decides to get a piercing, I will take her to the tattoo shop, she’ll get her piercing wherever she wants, and I’ll get a tattoo of one of her drawings as I’m planning to do. Maybe on one of my shoulderblades.
Peace, love and bodmod is for the freaks. Popular kids should steer clear and fuck off.