Piercings and Body Positivity
Piercings have an amazing, magical ability to help improve your confidence and self image. And for many hundreds of yeas across many cultures piercings have been viewed as a status symbol, and a symbol of beauty and strength. Modern piercing is no different. That moment a client get hops up and looks in the mirror and the smile that blooms across their face says everything you could need to know about how powerful piercings can be for self confidence.
It’s safe to say virtually everyone struggles with body image. We all have things we dislike about our bodies, specific parts that we are more insecure about or we wish we could change. Some people dislike their noses, others are insecure about the size of their ears. And who is 100% happy with their stomach? But with you get a piercing, you now have this beautiful piece of jewelry, this little sparkle and shine you see when you look at that part of yourself. Suddenly you aren’t in the mirror lamenting the size of your nose, but admiring the glittering little diamond adorning it. You aren’t focused on the size of your ears, but planning how much extra jewelry you can fit! Piercings have a great way of transforming self loathing to self love, by giving you something else to focus on.
For many clients with mental health or trauma issues, this concept goes a step further. Navel piercings can be incredibly therapeutic for folks who struggle with Eating Disorders, who often have a negative focus on their stomach and waist. A piercing there gives them something to love and focus on when they see their stomach, rather than the negative thoughts of their disorder. For trauma survivors, it’s easy to disconnect with parts of your body related to the trauma. Piercings can help not only reconnect a survivor with the body, but can feel like a way to reclaim that body part or area and make it your own again. Rather than seeing your trauma when you see that part of your body, you can see your piercing, and see something worth loving and being gentle to.
With any piercing there is a small element of pain, and that often helps increase how powerful piercings can be. The fact that you must experience some discomfort or pain in order to have your piercings means there’s a level of mental strength, and emotional vulnerability that goes into getting a piercing done. Inherently, just by getting a piercing, you have to be strong enough even though the discomfort is so minor! Piercings absolutely remind us of just how strong we are and how much we are capable of doing when we set our minds to it.
Piercings also do take quite some time to heal, with care being needed daily for months as they heal. This means that for months, every day you ned to look at that part of your body. Gently care for it. Be kind to it. Memorize it and how it works. For clients with hangups on specific areas of their body, this process of healing their piercing often helps heal themselves. It’s almost like the concept of saying positive affirmations in the mirror every morning. Every day they check in with their piercing and care for it, and it helps normalize this part of their body. And teaches the client to love and be kind to that part of their body. Particularly for clients who struggle with mental health issues, body image issues, ED’s, dysphoria, or body related trauma, this healing is beyond powerful.
“Touch your body without shame or embarrassment or thoughts of it needing to be something else. Give yourself a hug before bed and tell yourself that it will be okay. Touch yourself with kindness every day—you’re in this relationship for the long haul.” -Megan, @bodyposipanda
Piercing not only encourage, but require, a shameless, guilt free, gentle, loving touch. A wholesome and supportive interaction with your body. Every. Single. Day. For months on end. This has such a powerful mental effect on how you feel abut your body and how you treat it. Even if you didn’t go into getting a piercing with this intention or this mentality, often the healing and the confidence will come whether you wanted it or sought it out or not.
“Being unkind to your body in any given moment won’t change your body in that moment. It will change the way you feel about being in your body. You can interact with your body differently. You can choose your body back. Regardless of how easy or difficult it is to live there. The relationship you have with your body is the longest relationship you’ll ever have. Lasting relationships are respectful.
No real relationship is always happy. It’s unrealistic to suggest that you’ll always love your body. You might not like it. You might want to take space from it. You might want to separate from it altogether. And still, it will be your body. If you feel at home in your body, please be kind. Treating your body disrespectfully will address nothing. It will make it harder to be in your body.
If you don’t, please be even more so. As impossible as that may seem. Gender dysphoria is real. Eurocentric beauty ideals are real. Please be gentle with yourself.
Body love is a prerequisite for nothing.” -Anna Sweeney
How we interact with out body, how we choose to treat it and think of it doesn’t change it. It just changes how we see it and how we think about it. In a society built on making a profit off of our hate of our bodies, our dissatisfaction of our bodies, one of the most radical things we can do is to love our bodies. To be kind to our bodies. To respect our bodies. Healing a piercing is an amazing way to help yourself do just that.
All bodies are beautiful, amazing, great bodies. All all bodies are worthy of respect, love, adoration, gentleness, and care. All bodies deserve happiness and satisfaction. All bodies deserve to be pierced, or tattooed, or dyed or tanned or trimmed or whatever it takes you to do to your body to make it home. To make it a safe space. Do me a favor, and after reading this, take a moment to sit with your body and thank it for all it does for you. And remind yourself you are beautiful, valuable, and loved. Exactly as you are right now.