Monday, May 2, 2011

Check out my new hole

I knew I'd picked the right place when I walked in and saw this sign on the wall:

For nearly 20 years, I've contemplated piercing the upper part of my ear. I've had my lobes pierced since I was 10, but a cartilage piercing in the upper ear is a bit more complicated. It was one of those things I always figured I'd get around to doing when I had something special to commemorate – maybe an anniversary, or perhaps I'd have it done while traveling in some exotic locale.

OK, so divorce isn't exactly what I had in mind. It still seemed like a good excuse, so I marched into the nearest piercing studio on Saturday afternoon and handed my credit card to a woman with so many holes in her face she could double as a sieve.

Some of you are aware of my acute needle phobia. It's true that I'm terrified to the point of hysteria of IVs and blood draws, and I'm not overly fond of vaccinations, but there's something different about piercing. Don't ask me to explain the distinction, because then I'd have to think about it and I'll be forced to acknowledge that my phobia has more to do with some sort of weird vascular hangup than with an actual fear of sharp, pointy things, and then I will have typed the word "vascular" and I'll have thrown up a little in my mouth.

Regardless of the reason, I wasn't afraid of the piercing. Good thing, since it kinda hurt. Here's a look at the process and the end result:

I'm rather fond of it. It's still a bit tender and I'm a little terrified of catching it on my hairbrush. Overall though, I'm pleased with this small gesture to commemorate a major life event.

When it comes right down to it, most of my treasured possessions have some sort of tie like this. Nearly every painting or piece of artwork in my home is something I picked up while traveling.

Open my jewelry box and you won't find a lot of flashy, expensive stuff. What you will find is the inexpensive necklace I bought myself to commemorate my first big manuscript rejection. The delicate little pearl earrings I'm wearing in the photo above were a gift from two of my beta readers when I left the company we all worked for and took a job that would allow me more free time for writing.

Do you tend to collect sentimental objects or experiences to mark major life events? Please share!

I'll be busy shopping for sports cars. Isn't that the next step in the divorce process after body mutilation?


Anne Gallagher said...

That actually does look like it hurts. But the earring is way cute. Can you change it after a while or is that the only one you can wear there?

Shain Brown said...

I have done both anything from trading my car on impulse, I stopped smoking, and many other things that really do not need to be expanded on. I am currently at a point in my life where buying something usually doesn't have the longevity I am looking for especially when it is something sentimental that I want to last.

A few years ago I thought about a brow piercing, but so far I keep putting it off due to the impact it might have on my professional career. Right now I tend to stick with less obvious rewards.

Congrats on treating yourself.

Sarah W said...

I have...(I'm counting)... five piercings in each ear.

Each set has a story -- including the last set, which only happened because I'd already paid for the starter studs my eight-year old had chosen for her birthday before chickening out at the very last moment.

Prufrock had teaspoons, I have ear piercings . . .

Anonymous said...

I am totally into sentiment. Instead of piercing I like tattoos. :) I have three--so far :)

They all resemble my faith but also have to do with some of my books. Very often my characters have tattoos or get them during their journey. In the first book I ever wrote, which will probably never see the light of day, my character got a tattoo that I decided I also wanted to get. :) So I did. :)

What color sports car will you get??

Matthew MacNish said...

A couple of things:

- You do realize you still typed vascular, twice, right? Or was that on purpose?

- There is something about the expression and the angle in that third photo that makes you look absolutely gorgeous. I'm not saying you don't normally look lovely, but this is different.

- I had the cartilage of my upper ear pierced when I was an angry young lad. I actually had two lobe piercings in each ear, and then the one pierced higher up. I think it was the left, but I can't remember.

I try not to collect super important heirlooms, because I'm terrible at keeping track of them.

Jen J. Danna said...

I love that you did this to commemorate this particular life event. Looks great! *two thumbs up*

Heather M. Gardner said...

You will get it caught on your brush. Also, consider mentioning it to your hairdresser before they go to town on your head. Post earrings will push into your skull while you sleep. There are really pretty earrings out there with delicate chains to an ear cuff.
Best of luck!

Summer Frey said...

Looks great, but not the process...I got my left ear pierced about midway from the lobe to the top. Turned out to be the worst place ever for me--constantly infected, hurt like a bitch, etc, so I took out the earring and let it heal. Sad, because I loved how it looked. Now I have a sentimental lump of scar tissue to remind me not to pierce my ear there again.

C. said...

I'm a music person, so usually big moments are marked with making a mixed CD that reminds me of the experience. Its what keeps me from going completely digital; there's something about pulling out a CD that's hand- labeled that takes you back to the moment you created it and why.

Linda G. said...

Okay, gotta admit...that pic with the rod through your ear kind of squicks me out. *shudders* But the earring is cute, and all's well that ends well. :)

Teri Anne Stanley said...

I got piercing when I broke up with my high school sweetheart...just one extra hole in one lobe, but WAY back then it was TREZ edgy. So there, you ex-boyfriend, you!

Jason said...

Too funny...I actually have this exact piercing. Got it in college at UOregon, because I wanted to do...something...and I couldn't go through with the nose stud.

That was 14 years ago and I still have it.

Your brush will get caught on it and your hairdresser will yank on it, but there is good news: it won't hurt because there aren't many nerves there, and it really can't yank out through the cartilage. Mostly you feel the tug because your entire ear moves and you THINK it should hurt. But it doesn't. :)

I remember getting it done but I didn't have the visuals you posted here. Might have been a good thing since I'm a total wuss with needles. I do remember more blood than I expected, but also that it hurt way less. That's when my pierceist (is that a word?) told me about the nerves in that part of the ear.

The next year I did both my ear lobes (they made it to graduation) and while they bled less, they hurt a hell of a lot more.

So now I'm 33...and I don't want to take it out. Maybe it doesn't fit me anymore, but it's a little reminder of my youth I suppose. I've thought about it, to be professional I suppose, but then I think why bother? My work doesn't care, and if I become a writer definitely no one will care. Part of the mystique.

I do buy things to commemorate events, but haven't for awhile. No idea what I'll do if I get a manuscript sold...but it will be something. :)

Jeffe Kennedy said...

I had my belly button pierced, to celebrate losing an ugly amount of weight. I wanted that for a long time and still love it!

Harley May said...

Super-cute, Tawna!

The photos right after made me woozy, but lovely, all around.

I don't have any crazy piercings or tattoo's and don't plan on commemorating a huge mile stone with either of those things, but a motor cycle? Yes. It will be more expensive than a piercing or tattoo, but it will be a big reward when a book deal comes.

When I get an agent, I want a trip to New York. Those are my things: motor cycle and New York City.

Love you.

Allie Sanders said...

So far I haven't done much in my life I am ready to commemorate in a permenant way. When I got married I got a ring but that's pretty typical. This month I graduate from college and it is the five year anniversary of my first date with my husband. I am getting a new piercing. I have a few other things in the future I plan on celebrating with tattoos or piercings but those are a ways off yet.

Kathryn Rose said...

My sisters and I all got our rooks pierced when our dad passed. (That little ridge right under where you got your latest hole.) I love it, but it was sooo painful. Worst part was: I didn't even consider ahead of time that I was piercing my phone ear. Grr...

BarbN said...

My daughter wanted a tragus piercing for her 17th birthday. Trust me, it was better than some of her alternative birthday gift choices. and since she wasn't 18 I had to go with her. She was fine, I almost passed out. Just the picture of yours brought on a wave of dizziness. Somehow I think multiple piercings are not in my future, though my lobes have been done since I was 12.

but I do have a collection of fun little things, tchotchkes, that I've acquired for various trips and/or life events. They are my treasures. I have a special shelf for them, it's sort of an altar but don't tell dh because that would freak him out. :-)


Anne, I have to wait 6-8 weeks before changing it, but then I can try something different. It can't be a regular earring though -- has to be something specifically designed for a cartilage piercing like that.

Shain, in looking at the "menu" in the piercing shop, I was amazed at how many different spots there are to pierce. And they all have different names for the type of piercing. Go figure.

Sarah, do you keep earrings in all the piercings? That sounds kind of cool!

lynnrush, my brother is the same way with tattoos :)

Matthew, yeah, that was on purpose. I was being ironic. And THANK YOU for the kind words about the photo. It was just a random shot I grabbed standing in my front yard holding the camera in one hand, but I kinda like it.

Jen, thank you! Now seemed like as good a time as any.

Heather, I like the ring a lot, so I'll probably skip the posts. Thanks for the tip on the hairdresser and the chain idea.

Summer, I've had several friends warn me they had the same piercing and it ended up infected, so I plan to be cautious.

C, it's funny you say that, I've had the same thought about mix CDs being a lost art. I do occasionally make playlists on my iPod, but it's not the same thing.

Linda G, kinda gross, huh? I thought twice about posting it, but figured the folks here aren't too easily squicked out.

Teri Anne, what is it about lost love that causes us to poke holes in our bodies?

Jason, we'll have to compare ear holes when you guys come out here to do the Bend Ale Trail!

Jeffe, I've considered the belly button. Still might do it someday...

Harley May, yeah, I asked the piercer to take the pics, but I couldn't actually see what she was doing until I got out to my car and looked at the photos. I was like, "holy crap, that's a huge needle!"

Allie, well now you have to tell us WHERE you're getting the new piercing?!?!

Kathryn, was that a cartilage piercing, too, or did you do it in the fleshy part?

BarbN, what the @#$% is a tragus?

Thanks for reading, guys!


DrCarrieT said...

It looks great! (I want one.)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

My daughter and one of our sons have multiple piercings and tattoos. More power to them ... and to you. My plain ol' boring lobe piercings are plenty for me. Looks great on you, though.

And I'm a big fat sucker for the sentimental. Don't have any "bling" in my jewelry box, but I do have a "lucky rock" in there.

Helen Fenske said...

Actually, I memorialize the travels of strangers by rescuing the castoff mementos they collected while traveling; dish towels to be exact. It's amazing how many people seem unable to resist a linen dish towel with animals, maps, and flowers from their exotic vacation destinations. They never use them, then send them to Goodwill where their $15 purchase (or even more), slides into my pile for a buck. You have no idea how many cute animals live in Australia until you own a dozen "Animals of Australia" dish towels. Sports are also big, including golf towels from Scotland or towels from England explaining the truly weird terms used in cricket. My personal favorites are the ones with recipes, usually something like guacamole, margaritas, or scones. Next time you are in town come over and you can paw through the collection and pick one. Also, you may have one of the 200 huge ShamWows I have, don't even ask how I ended up with this obscene number of "as seen on TV" items, but they are really, really useful.

Noelle Pierce said...

Tawna, that looks awesome! I got mine pierced with a gun at one of those mall kiosks, and I have a post in it (with a little rubber backing, rather than the metal kind), but I occasionally put a hoop in. That never lasts long because it gets sore after a while. :D

I am inconsistently sentimental. It does not bode well for when my kids, if they want to see things like their first blankie or first tooth. But if they want first birthday cards, I'm all over it!

Ben Langhinrichs said...

I am always in awe (or something that might pass for awe if I didn't look so petrified) by people who will pierce anything at all. If anybody is ever going to poke any holes in me, I hope they'll do me the kindness of killing me first.

Nonetheless, they look cute on you.

Tim VanSant Writes said...

I have a hole in my head, but that's beside the point. And no one wants to talk about my pointy head.

jen said...

Yikes. It looks great (the result, not the process). I say anything commemorating a divorce is perfect (looking forward to sports car pictures!)

I buy lame-o practical stuff for major life events. Cameras, bean know, practical :)

Anonymous said...

When my sister passed away (almost four years ago) my daughters and I all got that exact peircing in her memory (she had it but none of us did, even though between my girls and I, we have had many different body parts poked, lol, oops).
My youngest went with the "orbital" and the elder went with the post. I had two hoops done, for the two baby girls my mother had on shared birthdays. Yours is lovely, a great way to mark your next life phase.

C Annison said...

the end result looks lovely but the process looks scary :0

Becky said...

I'm happy for you!

You are WAY tougher than I am.

Emilia_Quill said...

I almost always faint when my blood is drawn or I get vaccinated. Also I run like the wind if a wasp gets close to me.
I also have a fear of balloons popping and certain flowers. Compared to those two fobias the fear of needles is very rational.

I always buy a piece of jewellery after a test (I just finished High School), specially math and swedish tests since they're the hardest and I need a pick me up afterwards. So most of my jewellery reminds me that I got through school even thought I had to switch schools because of bullying and had to have a year off just to recover.

The earring looks great, makes me want to get one too, despite the process looking painfull.

I've seen pictures of the chains Heather talked about and I agree that they look really pretty.

Sarah W said...


I always keep earrings in the cartilage piercings, since they close so quickly -- I once took them out for an hour-long job interview and had to get one of them redone.

I mostly use breakaway hoops, so when my longsuffering stylist (or curious infant) yanks one out, no harm, no foul.

Oddly enough, only my, uh, lobe-holes are super sensitive. The others never get infected.

Crystal Posey said...

Nice! It looks great!