Last Friday was my ten year piercer-versery. Ten years is quite a long time to spend doing any one thing, and of all the things I could be doing I’m so eternally grateful piercing is where I’ve found myself. Last year for my 9 years I wrote this beautiful blog post about my personal experiences in body piercing. Today, I have another very personal blog to write, and a very large announcement to make.
As of April, 2022, I will be leaving Icon Tattoo and Body Piercing. I have loved this studio and my coworkers with my whole heart, and leaving is perhaps one of the hardest choices I have made in my career. I adore Nashville, all my clients, and everything about Icon. As far as where I’m going, well that’s the exciting part.
Beginning in April I will be taking a hiatus from piercing. I am tentatively planning for a 3 month hiatus, but I may extend or reduce it as I see fit. I will be relocating to Philadelphia, where my partner lives, and enjoying my hiatus surrounded by friends and family. Once my hiatus is over I plan on doing lots of guest spots and traveling around the country! So if you’ve been wanting to be pierced by me but didn’t live near Nashville, fear not! Next year it’s very likely I may be visiting your city to pierce. I have a couple places lined up and will be announcing more as it gets closer to the start of my travels. Nashville clients, do not worry, Icon will absolutely be seeing me again as a guest later next year.
This means if you are looking to be pierced with me before my hiatus starts I suggest scheduling sooner rather then later. I anticipate my remaining appointments will fill quickly. This also means beginning in January I will not be offering advanced services. Cheeks, dahlias, high nostrils, etc. I will no longer be offering these. I do not feel it is ethical to do such complicated, long healing piercings so close to me taking a break from piercing, and potentially leaving clients with more limited access to me during healing.
Now to the reason for my hiatus, which is two fold. The first is that age old adage “You can’t heal in the same environment that made you sick.” If you follow me or are familiar with my history in the industry, you know my story. It’s a common story across this industry, one of abuse and violence in my apprenticeship. Like many others I experienced severe abuse during my time as an apprentice, including SA, physical abuse, and emotional and financial abuse. I have CPTD, and much of it is related to the abuse I’ve experienced in this industry. While I adore this industry, I do think there is a rampant issue with the abuse and exploitation of apprentices and front of house workers that is unacceptably common.
It is the opinion of myself and my medical professionals that some time away from piercing will be very beneficial to my mental health and healing and recovering from the abuse. I am very excited to take this time to focus on myself and my healing and recovery. I think this break will be immensely helpful for my mental well being and as hard as it is to be away from piercing for a while, I think the Lynn that returns will be much happier and healthier. We as a society do not prioritize mental health the way we need to. Time off to recover from physical injuries or ailments is normal and acceptable, but when it comes to mental health issues, it’s considered lazy or bad to take time away to work on them. You are branded “crazy” or “weak”. I personally hate the stigma that exists surrounding mental health which is why I want to be honest about taking this time for myself in the hopes it can inspire others to realize that needing time is ok. It’s ok to need to take a break, to work on yourself. Mental illness is a real illness, and should be treated as such.
The second portion of this reason is a much sadder one. I knew getting into piercing it was a customer service job. It has always been a customer service job. And there have always been good and bad clients, for all of the years I have been doing this. But since the start of Covid 19 something has changed. It’s no longer just a few bad clients. It’s become a regular occurrence for me to be screamed at, cursed at, or even have things thrown at me or my staff. I have had clients call me slurs and horrible names. I have had clients admit they ignored my scheduling policies and booking policies and demanded they be given an exception anyway. I’ve had someone’s drink thrown at me. I had someone threaten they knew where I lived and would find me- over them forgetting their ID at home. And it’s not just me. I wrote about this almost a year ago in this blog, and I’ve been hearing much the same from many, many other piercers. It has not gotten any better as covid has continues on. Every few weeks I see posts with piercers talking about being exceptionally burnt out on rude and downright abusive client behavior. And its not just us, this is happening to health care workers, hair stylists, flight attendants, nail techs, servers, and bartenders.
Clients believe that because we provide a service we somehow are no longer deserving of respect or humanity. Covid has brought out the worst in many people, and customer service workers and healthcare workers are facing the brunt of it. In industries across the world there is a mass exodus of workers who will no longer be treated poorly by clients and customers, no matter how good the place they work treats them or how happy they are there. You can add my name to that list.
I hope those reading take this as a warning- if you continue to be abusive and disrespectful to customer service workers, you will no longer have them. The behavior of people during covid is absolutely causing people to burn out and even quit careers and fields they love. So if you want to be able to get piercings, tattoos, hair cuts, nails done, eat out at great cafes and go to bars. Treat the people serving you and working on you with respect. Read their websites, emails, and policies- and respect them. Do not demand to be the exception to the rule. And if something goes wrong or you are unhappy with something- there is never, never a reason to thrown things or become physically violent over a service.
To the good clients, the kind clients, the wonderful clients. You know who you are and I adore each and every one of you. You are why this is only a hiatus, and not a goodbye forever. You will all be dearly missed and while I am off please feel free to reach out. I may not want to discuss piercing, but I’ll love to hear about work, school, and your life. <3
While I know this news may be disappointing, or even sad to some of you, I announce this with great happiness in my heart. It is not good bye forever, simply for now. I look forward to spending some time away from piercing, healing myself, recovering from burnout, and growing into a new, better version of myself. And I am beyond excited to begin traveling and see and meet so many more of you in the summer and fall of next year!
And to the piercers and front of house and customer service workers out there reading this- prioritize yourself. You are more important then the client, then the job. You can not pour from an empty cup. There is no shame in needing to take a break, take a step back, and take time for yourself. I hope you treat yourself with kindness, gentleness, and a willingness to slow down when you need it.