The piercing story: experiences from piercing enthusiasts

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I got together with my girls (virtually, we’re not breakers of laws and we love our lives plus distance) to chat about our piercing journeys and experiences.

We thought that maybe, just maybe our experiences might help the next person who is contemplating on getting a piercing or is struggling with their new piercing. 

Without wasting too much time, check out how the conversation went:

What type of piercing(s) do you have?

Nwabisa: My ears, nose and tongue are pierced. I’m toying with the thought of getting another piercing on my nose (septum). 

Lianda: I currently have two helix piercings or cartilage as some may call it. In the past, I had three helix piercings and a nose ring. But because I didn’t know how to take care of them they wouldn’t heal so I removed the studs and let them close up and heal. I later re-pierced a new batch of the helix.

Simamkele: Transverse lobe piercing (the common one everybody has) and two helix piercings (upper cartilage). 

When did you do the piercing(s)? 

Nwabs: The ear piercings have always been there. I presume my mother got my ears pierced when I was still a baby. Which is quite ironic because more than half of my life she forbade me from wearing makeup or earrings.

Lia: I had my first helix piercing done in high school in grade 10. It took forever to heal because I was hiding it from my mom and school as it was prohibited. Lol, funny story: I would wear a beanie every day at home and I would have my relaxed hair loose for school. My mom thought I was going through an awkward phase. It got infected because of the hair oils and because it didn’t breathe. When it got really bad, I had to treat my wound. I then did it again a year later when my ear had healed and got my nose ring, a nostril stud, the same year. 

Sim: The lobe piercing, I did in 2007 and the helix piercings I did them on January 3rd this year.

How long did you think about the piercing(s) before getting it(them)?

Nwabs: Both the nose and tongue piercings were impulsive decisions. I got the tongue piercing in East London, after I got my allowance. The nose ring in Cape Town after payday. 

Lia: I have always loved piercings and tattoos, but having a Black mother who believed it to be satanic was a problem. It was only in Grade 11 she let me do it (I was surprised).

Sim: Lmao, speaking of Black mothers, at my BIG age, I was a little worried. But when my mother saw the helix piercing, she only just shook her head and didn’t say anything. I have always been an explorer, so, she’s kind of not really surprised anytime I do something she considers nonsensical or as you said Lianda, satanic. I didn’t think much about the lobe piercing, I was chilling with friends and I jokingly said let’s go to the mall and pierce and we did exactly that. I can be impulsive at times and that’s how I bag my many firsts, like when I went waxing for the first time

What was your experience like? 

Nwabs: They were both so painful. When I got my tongue pierced, I couldn’t eat anything solid for a week, almost. When I got my nose pierced, I had to think twice about wearing t-shirts and I had to scrub my face with an angle when taking a shower. 

Lia: My experience was also touch and go as yours Nwabs. I was a teenager who didn’t know or care about taking care of piercings. I only took it seriously after it got infected. When I finally knew how to take care of it I loved it. 

Sim: Lobe piercing wasn’t painful at all. Lianda did I ask you about the helix piercing pain before or after I had gotten it? 

Lia: Lol. I think before. 

Sim: Yes, so I was worried about the pain and the journey but after I was done with my first tatt (I’ll do another post on this soon) I was like “fuck it, let me go pierce I have nothing to lose.” Did it hurt? You bet it did but the pain ended as quickly as it was inflicted. 

What challenges did you face with the piercing(s) during the recovery stage? 

Nwabs: The tongue piercing healed quicker than expected. The nose ring on the other hand, it took an eternity and a few days to heal. I constantly had to disinfect it with alcohol to prevent infections. 

Lia: Besides the infection, there was the constant pain if I mistakenly touched it, or slept on it for long periods of time. With my nose ring, it kept coming out which is one of the reasons why I took it out. 

Sim: I honestly don’t remember much about the lobe piercing. I think the recovery was smooth. The helix ones are a bitch though let’s be honest. 6-months later, there are days where they hurt like hell. Typically, when I had a beanie or a doek on during the day or if I mistakenly poke them with my glasses or if my bonnet presses hard on the ear at night. HURTS.

How long was the recovery? 

Nwabs: Both nearly a year. But by the end of the first month the tongue piercing didn’t hurt that much anymore.

Lia: I think my recovery took 6 to 12 months to fully heal. You kind of realise when it no longer hurts that it’s healed. 

Sim: I’m still in the recovery stage, with the helix piercings. I’m 6 months in, so hopefully I’ll have a different story to tell in December. 

What do you wish you would have known before getting the piercing(s)? 

Nwabs: All the information I needed I was given on the day of my piercing. It will be interesting getting a septum piercing here, seeing that I don’t speak the language and they don’t speak mine. Haha!

Penned Pieces:  For context, Nwabs is in South Korea, she is more than capable of doing this. She is a warrior, if you want to know what I mean, read my interview with her about her Giving Back To The Community journey

Lia: Goodluck with that! I wish I knew that I should gently clean it with salt and warm water often. However, most importantly I wish I knew to let it breathe and leave it alone. The constant touching also prolonged the healing process. 

Sim: Yes! I still battle with the leave it alone bit. I constantly obsess over cleaning it. I was given a saline spray to use but I wasn’t told what to do if it gets infected. But me being me, I did all the research when I got home. But nothing I would’ve known before would’ve kept me from getting it, I was on a pain high that day. 

What do you enjoy about your piercing(s)?

Nwabs: They give me an edge. 

Lia: I think piercings are cool but they are also an extension of my personality. I am a loud and bubbly person and I think my piercings show that too. 

Sim: Have you seen me in pictures with my piercings?! 

Would you recommend piercing to anyone? And, what advice do you have to offer? 

Nwabs: I’m a pro-choice person. I believe people should be able to do whatever they see fit with their bodies and lives, as long as it does not put anyone in harm’s way. So, do you beau, do you! But make sure the equipment is sterilised.  

Lia: I would recommend it if the person is not afraid of pain because it is painful, far more painful than a tattoo. My advice would be to keep it clean but more importantly, let it breathe and let your body heal itself. 

Sim: I’m with both Nwabs and Lia on this one. Piercing anywhere, besides lobe, depends on how much you want it, your pain threshold and your patience. If you really want the piercing and can handle the pain, go for it.