Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pins and needles, nice to know you

A plan 10 years in the making finally materialized this day. Instead of ink, it's a purdy little sparkly gem implanted right smack dab in the middle of my midsection. I'm in love.

#NovemberPAIN #ShitJustGotReal 

I reckoned an observation period would make perfect sense before publishing an entry about my belly button piercing. Trust me honey, I've turned the worldwideweb inside out, upside down for any information I could extract about getting a belly button piercing in Manila. Statistic turnout isn't exactly helpful -- whether it's about where to get it done, or the type of jewellery you can wear immediately after. Consider this an honest, unadulterated opinion on this subject matter and I won't give you a statement I have not personally experienced.

Pre piercing points to ponder. 

1. Listen to yourself. Don't go about asking your friends if you should get a belly button piercing, it's your body, not theirs. Chances are, you can never solicit a collective, favorable advice. It took me roughly 10 years to make up my mind and quite frankly you can't grow balls over night! Having overly conservative parents is another issue I don't want to touch.

2. Are you in in a good state both mentally and physically? If it took you more than 5 seconds to answer that, then maybe you shouldn't. If you just hit a rough patch or simply preparing for one-time beach getaway, maybe it's too sudden a decision to be making. You may want to reconsider, it's not your head doing the talking, it's spontaneity. Remember, the jewellery you can take out but not for the first 6 MONTHS at least and risk of scar formation is relatively high even after the piercing closes.

3. Piercing prejudice. So what's it gonna be, slut or saint? They say everything comes with a price, I say piercing comes with bad prejudice, and so do tattoos! I know I know, we couldn't care less, but expect to hear some side comments about your piercing (should you decide to have one). You should be mentally and emotionally ready to deflect such nonsense. (i.e. bellybutton piercing is the tramp stamp of tattoos. I know, right?)

4. It's a long term commitment with petty sacrifices here and there-- and I'm not talkin' about your boyfriend since high school. The belly button area is sensitive (and I mean life and death-kinda sensitive) and the piercing takes forever to heal. If you have the patience follow the precise aftercare procedure, then by all means! I'm warning you, it ain't for the lazy daisy!

Still convinced you should get one? Read along then!

Piercing Pandemonium 

This is my first real piercing experience (Thanks mom, for getting my ears pierced at age 0!) so there is no other way than to have it professionally done. I went to P&P in Makati, which is a well-know establishment for tattoo and body art; and is allegedly the go-to place for celebrities. My first concern was the design of the jewellery because I don't want to get the typical silver stud and was aiming for one with a gem stone. P&P has a really good selection and I was able to get a gem encrusted one!

The piercing process

Stop saying you want it and set a damn date! Setting a deadline or appointment is the first step.

1. It is normal for your stomach to meet more butterflies once you get to THE place. Your palms will get sweaty.. knees weak arms are heavy there's v--- okay I'm getting ahead of myself. My anxiety momentarily faded when I finally had to choose the jewellery. So many cute jewels to choose from BUT your piercer will only allow you to get a simple curved barbell type with stud because it is the safest to put on while the piercing heals. (Those dangly bellybutton rings can wait.)

2. 60% of your conscience will tell you to walk away, but the remaining 40% should overpower. I'm telling you, I was standing outside P&P for about 10mins, demanding my best friend for a pep talk. I just did it anyway. (not so save face, mind you)

3. You will be in an uncomfortable spot for a good 10 minutes. I was expecting a contraption similar to that of an electronic dental chair which should recline me to a sleeping position, instead, there was only a black office chair and a makeshift divider separating me from the other clients. Lying on your back would have been the ideal for the client --  but definitely not for the piercer. I felt uneasy seated down and was advised to just stand up to hasten the piercing process, which I gladly obliged to. The piercer started disinfecting the disposable needle, clamp and the jewellery. Ready for what's coming? Okay!

4. I finally lifted the hem of my top and the piercer started marking my midsection. A clamp was used to gather the skin and hold it in place which felt like a tight pinch. I finally felt the needle puncturing the entry point then I felt the needle going out the same direction. My skin did not break the first puncture so it went in again then BAM! It was over.

Pain meter? It felt a lot less painful than my overall pain expectation and it was over before I even knew it!


The piercer told me it will be more painful after. True to his words, my piercing started feeling tingly shortly after. Expect sporadic surges of sharp pains every time the piercing rubs against the shirt. I wore a pair of denim shorts which made sitting down really painful even if my shorts fall below my hips.

First 6 hours - I felt sharp pains (in and around my piercing) with movement and felt most comfortable standing up.

First night - I tend to sleep on my stomach a lot so I barely slept the first night because I was very conscious of my sleeping position. The weight of the duvet/comforter caused pain so I had to use a light blanket instead. There is no other sleeping position but sleeping on your back.

The next day - Nothing. It felt perfectly normal as if I never had one (piercing).

First 48 hours - On the 2nd night I accidentally rubbed my duvet against my stomach so it stung for a few seconds.

The next day - My entire midsection felt sore -- as in post ab-workout sore which lasted for the entire day.

First week - The piercing only hurt whenever it would rub against clothing or my company ID, in my case.

First 2 weeks - Expect the formation of "crusts" around the upper barbel. This is perfectly normal and indicates that the piercing is healing.


I cannot further emphasise how critical after care procedure is for bellybutton piercings (or for any other piercing). I immediately showered after I got home but refrained from using soap because the piercing is still fresh. The next day I started cleaning my piercing with warm salt solution every 12 hours by inverting the cup of salt solution on to my piercing (done by lying on your back, of course). Also, avoid any contact by all means - and this includes touching! NEVER touch your piercing, especially near the entry/exit hole.

And if you like it then you shoulda put a riiing on it!

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