All about my septum piercing


PLEASE NOTE: Piercings are not for everyone. I know this. I am fully aware and respectful of this. I am simply sharing my experience for those of you who are interested. If you’re not into tattoos and piercings, that’s cool. I’m not here to try and persuade you otherwise. But I personally am into them. You do you, Imma do me. A big part of everything I do with The Body Confidence Revolution is freedom of self-expression. For everyone. If this post isn’t for you, then please leave now. Respect and consideration are free.


So, now that that’s out of the way! You may have noticed something different about me in the last few days.


 

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During a fitting for a Source Vintage photo shoot


Getting my septum done hasn’t always been something that I thought I would do or even want to do. In my early teenage years, suffice to say I despised it. It was definitely too ‘out there’ for me at the time. As were many things.


However, it’s a piercing that has grown and grown on me for nearly five years now. But I’ve always been too afraid to do it. I’ve had a few piercings in my time, a lot of which have had to eventually come out due to knocks which made my body refuse to allow them to heal. Since the age of 18, I’ve had both of my tragus’ done, a scaffolding otherwise known as an industrial, my earlobes done twice (one set of which I stretched to a 6mm tunnel), my upper lip which is known as a Medusa, my belly button, tongue, nose and of course septum. Of these, I currently still have my tummy, tongue, ear lobes and septum piercings in tact. I’ve got a pretty high pain threshold but for some reason, I always let the experiences of other people affect my own decision when it comes to piercings. I have absolutely no idea why! Everyone’s pain tolerance is very different and people react in different ways. Prior to getting my septum pierced, everyone I knew who had it done had put the fear of death into me, telling me that it was excruciating. Doing more research online and watching countless YouTube videos of others getting it done didn’t exactly help. Four out of five people said that it really hurt. Which ultimately is why it’s taken me so long to do it. Even the recent trend for septum jewellery couldn’t convince me to get it done. But finally doing it has reminded me to trust my own gut instinct and not allow the experiences of others to cloud my own judgement.


Out of everything I’ve had pierced, I would honestly say that getting my earlobes stretched was the most painful. Way worse than my septum! I have no idea what I was so worried about.


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During a fitting for a Source Vintage photo shoot


On the day that I finally got it done, I was very nervous. A combination of what other people had told me and what I had seen online was playing over and over in my head. Fortunately, my piercer was very experienced and made me feel very relaxed. It’s important when you’re getting a piercing to be as calm and relaxed as possible as tension can result in more pain and can alter the final result of your piercing. The actual process of getting it done was so quick. I was in and out of the shop in 20 minutes. My piercer had a feel at the inside of my nose to make sure I didn’t have a deviated septum which can make the piercing sit slightly squint and can end up going through cartilage if not noticed. He then marked it with pen to keep himself right, clamped it to make it go through quicker and easier and pierced it with a needle. DO NOT EVER GET PIERCED WITH A GUN! When I say that I felt virtually no pain, I’m being completely honest. If it hurt, I would tell you. But it really didn’t. It felt like the needle went through butter. It was the smoothest and fastest piercing I’ve ever had done. My eyes watered for a good five minutes, but that’s very normal. After I left the shop and went about my day, I was aware that I had just had it pierced. Not because it was painful, but because the bar is very tickly. As the day progressed, it began to feel like my nose was being pinched but this was more of a sensation than a pain.


As I’m writing this, I’ve had my septum pierced for five days. I was expecting to be painfully aware of the fact that it was pierced. I expected intense throbbing pain, swelling and the unavoidable crustiness. But none of that’s really the case at the moment. It’s also not a hindrance while sleeping either. Taking care of it can be a little frustrating. I’ve found that when cleaning it (I use saline solution on a cotton bud twice a day and give it a good rinsing in the shower) it’s best to hold the side that you’re not currently cleaning so that it doesn’t move around. If you don’t do this, stuff can get trapped inside the piercing and possibly cause an infection. Other than that, it’s pretty low maintenance.


The biggest thing with any piercing whilst it’s healing is to NOT TOUCH IT! Unless you’re giving it some TLC (tender loving cleaning) do not touch/play/fiddle with it. That’s a golden ticket to an infection!


I’d just like to reiterate that pain tolerances are different for everyone. What one person finds intolerable another will find absolutely fine. The bottom line is, piercings break the skin and go through tissue in your body. You’re going to feel at least some sensation. It just differs from person to person how painful that sensation is. Please don’t allow what other people say about it to put you off. If you want something, do it! Pain is temporary. As long as you look after your piercing and DON’T FIDDLE WITH IT! it will be fine.


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About Leyah Shanks

Positive body image activist and advocate for mental health.

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