My Long Belly Piercing Nightmare
The time has passed and the memory wants to fade, however, the hole in my stomach still lives on keeping the story alive and well. It was my third year in college, my best friend and I had turned 21. I don't know where she got the idea from. "You want to do something daring?"
I knew I didn't really have the guts to get a tattoo, but more than that, I already had several piercings in my ears, so I thought I was familiar with the sting. Still, nervousness crept up in me as we walked into the dark lobby of that piercing shop. I filled out my info on the clipboard and I tried to get a little reassurance from the guy at the desk.
"Is this going to hurt?"
"Well if it did, nobody would be doing it."
Why didn't I turn back at that moment? I didn't want to bail on my friend. We never really had the discussion about doubts or anything, so I guess we both figured we were committed. I remember a bunch of people surrounding me on a table. Maybe it was two or three, it was very quick. First a wipe, then clamp, then a hook and then the closure of the ring. I'll go ahead and be slightly honest and say – painful. Little did I know getting the actual piercing was the easy part.
We were on our way in no time, supplied with medkits that explained how to care for the piercings and how to soak them every night in sea salt for what seemed to be forever, and advised not to snag them. We threw on our jackets and headed back to campus to finish the classes for the day.
Bumping a fresh piercing against a desk is quite irritating. I'm not sure why we didn't go home and tape them down first. Day one was awful. The good news is, we did our soaks together and we also had fun shopping for little sexy rings to swap them with when it was safe. I remember thinking as far ahead as a few months, only concerned with what new ring I was going to be wearing. I never considered the idea that my piercing experience would be so short lived.
I think I remember the instructions saying to do the soak for no more than a couple months at the longest, but for some reason, my piercing was not healing. Six months to the first year in, I would get this green itchy sticky crust around it and the pain was still there. I was very careful to clean it properly, but something just wasn't right.
Two years later I was still getting occasional infections. I was still doing my sea salt soaks and still cleaning the area as if it were a new piercing. When I spoke to my friend she said those days were long gone for her and it was like an ordinary piercing. Why was my body rejecting it? Thinking back, one thing I never tried was switching over to solid gold or back to the original steel barbell they installed it with. For my ears, costume jewelry makes them itchy and red, maybe that's all it was for my belly ring. That thought didn't cross my mind. I had what appeared to be a keloid on my navel, and it was extremely painful.
After about six months into the second year, I was tending to my ring one day when I noticed that my skin was literally stuck to the ring. I couldn't move it at all and the skin was inflamed. I soaked and jerked and twisted but the ring would not budge. After over an hour of soaking, it seemed that I was able to move the ring, and that’s when I finally decided to go to the nearest piercing shop and have them look at it but what did I do? I took the ring out.
When I finally arrived at the shop they took one look at my piercing and said, "It's too late, you took it out, there's nothing we can do." Years of pain and babysitting this belly ring that I could never show off due to constant infection and it was all over. Just as quick as it began, in a matter of 15 minutes flat. I was hurt for a while, I wanted to forget about the experience and move on. I've even considered getting it pierced again, but fear and other life experiences have stopped that plan. I'm not sure why my body had to be so difficult. I guess it's something I wasn't meant to have, and now all I'm left with is a pinhole over my navel and an awful story.
Consider these things before body piercing:
All piercings are NOT equal.
Educate yourself. Find an expert on the matter and try to read about all the what-ifs and potential dangers or the smart things you should know about before you pierce, so you can ask the right questions and know how to handle an urgent situation.
Do you want the remnants and the permanent hole? Even for ears, if/when your piercing closes, you will most likely still have the physical memory of the piercing.
Hear about good and bad experiences. You never quite know what side you'll land on until you do it. Maybe you can be better prepared for the worst that way. Just another thing to consider.