Got my new tunnels last night, so now I look almost presentable. I was thinking about my ears and my body “modification” in general last night, trying to come up with a cognizant way to explain its meaning and “purpose” (does art really need a purpose?) to those who aren’t familiar with it. I got my first piercing on my 18th birthday in some questionable parlour just off Whyte Ave. in Edmonton. It was my septum and I still remember how good the pain felt as the needle pushed through and the look of the ring as it dangled from the centre of my nose. It felt like a small victory for me, like I’d looked pain in the face and smirked. I had always talked about getting piercings and tattoos growing up, even doodling designs on my arms during class. I’m pretty sure my parents knew that I would eventually follow through and I think they were just happy that I waited until I was on my own to start. I got my first tattoo not long after that; it was a nautical star between my shoulder blades. I have a thing for nautical stars; I think it’s the idea of direction that they portray. I don’t have a lot of tattoos and am far from an expert in the field; I just know that I love the way they look and the way it feels to get them done. Every one I have has some sort of meaning to me, which is why I will never regret a single one. I started stretching my ear lobes when I was 18 as well. Originally piercing them at a 6 gauge which is much larger than the usual size that people get pierced at. I am now 32 and my ear lobes are stretched to a size of 1-5/8″ which is relatively large, but it has been a long process and definitely not a spur of the moment type thing. I think it is amazing how your body can adapt to things and how you can manipulate it to do certain things. If I continued to stretch my ear lobes at the rate I have done it for years I could technically go as big as I wanted as the skin stretches and the body creates a new “normal” each time. It’s fascinating to me.
I do get many questions about my various modifications and most of them are sincere curiosity. I knew getting into it that it would be something that would garner a little more scrutiny from others, but I decided that my love for it would outweigh my dislike of human interaction. I really don’t mind explaining the process and dispelling a lot of the myths out there about piercings and tattoos and the people who get them. It’s a lot like mental illness in that aspect; a lot of people just don’t understand the facts about it and have based opinions and beliefs based on misinformation. In real life, ignorance is not truly bliss because your ignorance can cause far-reaching problems if you are unwilling to learn. Moral of the story? I like my tattoos and piercings and I won’t apologize for them anymore than I will apologize for having a mental illness or diabetes, and having them doesn’t make me a junkie and criminal.