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2023 Recap

I can’t believe we are here- the first few months of another year. I don’t usually do a year-end or year-beginning post or recap, but this past year has been so different, and I have so much to reflect on. Usually, this is something I journal about or review with my coworkers. But once I had my data (and time to reflect after my January travels) I decided to do something a little differently and share some of my year-end review and recap with you all.

This year is unique as I spent the first half of the year guesting and traveling, and midway through summer, I relocated to Seattle to work full-time at Laughing Buddha. Guest spotting for the last year and a half was such an incredible, magical gift. I fell in love with it so much more than I ever expected to. I recall being a baby piercer and seeing traveling piercers and thinking- that’s so stressful! Always traveling around, being away from home so often, from pets and partners and family. Constantly living out of suitcases, having overhead expenses from traveling, uncertain pay every month, and having to adjust to new studios, new workflows, and new tools. It seemed too much, too difficult. But once I started doing it….it was all of those things. But it was also the magic of working with so many different piercers, getting to see how they work, what tools they use, and how they work with clients. It’s learning new things and new skills from every studio you work at, and finding ways of working that you never could have imagined. And the clients! To get to meet so many different people, from so many walks of life, and share in these magical experiences in the piercing room. And there is different magic in each state, in each studio, a different energy and type of clientele that is so amazing. I went from being nervous and skeptical about guesting to being convinced it’s something that every piercer should do at least once in their life. Truly, I will cherish the years I spent traveling like this and every studio that opened their doors to me and every client who trusted me with their bodies.

But as much as guesting and traveling had my heart, I kept coming back to Seattle. With 5 guest spots in the last year at Laughing Buddha, I found myself slowly falling in love- with the Pacific Northwest, with the culture and community of the city, and with the studio and its clients. I feel beyond fortunate to have landed here and to call this my home now. As someone born and raised on the East Coast, the West Coast couldn’t be more different, and while I’ll always be from Philly in my heart, the West Coast has truly won me over. I’ve never been picky about where I live- with 6 moves most quite far, I’ve always followed wherever this industry has taken me. Moving for jobs, for studios, and this move was no different. Yes, I’ve fallen in love with Seattle and Washington, but more than that I’ve fallen in love with laughing buddha. I’ve worked at a lot of different studios and enjoyed many things about most of them, but I don’t exaggerate when I say there is something truly special here, about this place and this team of people. I don’t know that anything less special could have pulled me away from traveling full-time.

Since starting here full-time in August I’ve done almost 2,000 piercings at Laughing Buddha, everything from first lobes to ear curations to genital projects. So much joy and celebration has passed through my piercing room, from birthdays to weddings to graduations to just having a good day. I’ve held space for folks getting pierced after a breakup, to remember a lost loved one, to process the stressful and overwhelming world we live in, and as a way to reclaim their body. I’ve cried together with clients, sharing experiences of grief and loss and strength and hope. And of course, my room has come alive with laughter, bad dad jokes, and the incredible human ability to smile even in the face of something painful or scary.

The new year is traditionally a time to reflect on the year that has passed, often celebrated with rites and ceremonies that symbolize casting off the old year, and rejoicing in the new. The days will slowly begin to get brighter, the weather will warm, and spring is closer than we expect, bringing new life once more. This year I am closing out what was an incredible, whirlwind year of adventure, of new experiences, and of finding new homes. And I am welcoming in a year that I hope to spend still traveling and sharing this life and passion of mine with others, but also settling in, putting down roots in this new place, and creating a home for myself. 2024 will be the first year of my 30’s, and also my 13th year as a piercer. I have devoted nearly a third of my life to this career, and I have no regrets about this choice.

I encourage other piercers out there to reflect on their journeys, how many amazing experiences they were able to make happen, how many clients they helped, what they learned, and how much joy and healing they brought to their communities. And I encourage clients to reflect on the piercings or modifications they got this year, what it meant to them, to their bodies, how it feels to be present to heal, and thank your body for carrying them through this year, and for all of the amazing things it allows you to do.

We go into 2024 ready for a better year, one where we are focused on healthy growth, and how we can do the most good every day. How we can honor our bodies, celebrate our lives, and enjoy our journeys with our bodies. But also how we can grow and improve as piercers, how we can continue to offer the best work possible to clients, and how we can better serve our communities.

Happy 2024 Y’all, lets make it a great one.

<3, Lynn

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