Piercings and tattoos and stretchers, oh my.

These days, pretty much everyone you meet has (or has had) some form of piercing, tattoo, stretcher or all of the above about their person. It is a rare thing indeed to find someone whose skin is neither blemished with ink or perforated by a stainless steel or silver rod. This is no truer than with me as I have a current total of three tattoos and thirteen piercings (there will undoubtedly be more) but a friend of mine has never paid a visit to the local piercing/tattoo parlour. Outrageous I tell you! She prefers to stick to clip-on earrings, devilishly stylish in their own right, to sate her accessory appetite. What I don’t understand is why, if I’m so addicted, isn’t everyone else?

People often see my piercings and tattoos and predictably they ask “Didn’t that hurt?” to which my response is usually “Not really, no”. Sure there’s a measureable about of momentary discomfort when you get jabbed repeatedly with a needle but pain? That’s not what I’d call it. I prefer to think of it as more of an instant but fleeting reminder that I’m not dead yet. As well as that, it’s a way for me to express myself. Like with a new hair colour and cut (which I also do fairly regularly), I feel like a new and more exciting person when I get a new piercing or tattoo. They are simply a way in which I can change my appearance when I get bored or feel like I’m stuck in a rut but more than that, my tattoos, in particular, are a permanent road map of my life so far. They each have their own story, place of origin (I got each one in a different country), meaning and are as individual as I am. You won’t see any generic images inked on my skin.

All the accessories that I’ve added to body are representative of the person I am and when I’m asked “Why don’t’ you just take them out or cover them up?”, I rage a little (to myself of course) while also attempting to laugh it off. Removing a piercing or tattoo would like be trying to scrub clean a part of myself that is so ingrained within me that it would be next to impossible to remove all signs of it. In any case, it’s not going to happen any time soon so quit asking.

Like with everything, our society and perceptions are in a constant state of flux and so the way we see the world and those people in it, is constantly shifting. There used to be such a taboo regarding people with lots of tattoos and piercings but now, it’s a culturally acceptable thing. About fifteen years or so ago, it probably wouldn’t have been acceptable for me, a young 20-something-year-old woman to be working in an office environment with multiple, visible tattoos and piercings. More likely than not, I would have been asked to take them out or cover them up. Nowadays it’s perfectly acceptable which I think is excellent. Sure there’s still a small amount of taboo associated with people with lots of tattoos and piercings but it usually only comes from the older more conservative generations. I’ll never forget the time my Auntie’s husband said how inappropriate it is for a young woman of my age to have metal rods coming out of my face/ears and tattoos inked into my skin. He’s a bit of a fuddy-duddy.

Anyway, all I’m really trying to say is: Power to the pierced and inked. We will rule the world.

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