As a piercer we spend a lot of time talking about what we do- about cool piercings and nifty jewelry, about safe practices and sterilization. We talk about the magic of piercing- the way we can hold space for clients and create empowering, healing, and encouraging experiences. We talk about how piercings can make you feel self confident, beautiful, valuable, and worthy. And I love having all of those conversations and sharing all those amazing sides of piercing with folks. But today, for my 100th blog post (one hundred. Like. Are you serious?) I want to talk about something different. I want to talk about what my clients do for me. CW- mental health discussion, suicide mention
I am very open about my mental health struggles- between CPTSD, BPD, and an Eating Disorder I am decidedly mentally unwell. And some days are easier than others. But my clients, and the experiences I have with them in my piercing room are some of the purest form of therapy and healing I could imagine. I can have the worst morning- woke up late, got bad news, traffic, spilled my drink, and be in a terrible mood at the start of the day. I get the paperwork for my first piercing and I relax my shoulders, and consign myself to my customer service self. A mask slides into place with a fake smile and kind words. And in most jobs, that mask would stay on all day. But in piercing I welcome that first client into my chair, and begin to talk with them, and magic happens. Their vulnerability. Their excitement. Their fear. Suddenly my own bad morning is so far away and I am caught up in their emotions. I am not an NPC or background character. We are both equal parts of this act. I am as integral to this moment as they are. My bad morning drifts away, replaced by my experience with this client. Their excitement is my excitement, I am bouncing around with joy for how cool this piercing will be. Their fear fills me with determination- to show them a positive experience. To hold their hand through to the other side. To help them see their own bravery and strength for being here. And to offer them an experience better than what they imagine. Their vulnerability is a mirror, and my own heart opens up in response, and under my bad morning or bad day is the core of who I am, laid bare next to them. The mask never stays on long in the piercing room.
I have a photo album on my phone titled ‘Affirmations’. It’s got some good quotes that remind me of who I am and what matters. But it’s mostly screenshots. Hundreds of screenshots of messages from clients and other piercers. “You repierced my ears just a bit ago and I’d like to say thank you! It’s already brought me so much joy and confidence.” “Your willingness to help out the industry I so desperately want to enter has given me more hope about my future, and your talk about your struggles on tiktok has given me more perspective about my own past.” “I feel like I don’t see representation of people with my chest very often and I saw several that were similar to mine (in your portfolio) and it made me feel beautiful!” “Not me crying on the way home because my body piercer said she’s happy I’m here.” In these words are self love, empowerment, healing, release, vulnerability. I talk all the time about creating these experiences for clients but it is another thing entirely to know that I did. Validation, in all forms, is lovely. I read these messages when I feel my worst. When I want to let go of this life that often times for me is more a curse then a blessing. I remind myself of the impact I can have on others. Of how much I can provide in just twenty minutes. I am hard pressed to find better reasons to remain on the earth than the look in a client’s eyes when they see their new piercing in the mirror. Does that sound insane? It possibly is, but when your brain is as tormented as mine is often, you find reasons to live in any small spark of light. And few things in this world bring me as much joy as my clients do.
I am forever honored and humbled every day that people trust me with their bodies. That they trust me with their fear and nervousness and excitement and anxiety. Their healing, their memorial, their celebration. I have had both good and bad piercings done on me. I know what it is to be terrified of the needle. I know how disheartening it is to have something fail or not heal, and how euphoric it is to see a new piercing you adore or have something finish healing. And to be trusted with all of that, is, for me, the ultimate. I don’t even know how to best put into words how much it means to me what each and every one of you trust me with your bodies. It overwhelms me often, and I regularly have a good cry in the back of the studio over a particular interaction or powerful moment. That trust is what pushes me to be the best piercer I possibly can be, to keep learning, growing, and consistently only offering the best and safest in jewelry, sanitization, and service. You all push me every day to do and be better for each and every one of you.
Clients, I say this with so much honesty- you empower me. You inspire me. And as someone who struggles to find reasons to stay alive, you are for sure one of the biggest reasons I keep going in this life and keep trying to find my happiness. Thank you eternally for your trust, your kindness, and your honesty. I hope each and every person who ever comes through my piercing room knows how truly special they are to me, and how loved and cherished they are in every interaction. I see you at your most honest- scared and nervous and in pain and excited. And you look beautiful through all of it. Every inch of skin, every freckle and mole, every roll, every scar and dimple, every birth mark and every bit of acne, and every wrinkle. Your bodies are engraved in my mind in all of their beauty and glory, and my breath is taken away every day that you trust me with them. I can, and do, cry at how overwhelming an honor it is to be trusted with this. Thank you all, today and every day, for all you do for me.
With so much love,