How To Mend A Broken Heart

By Calli, from Canada.

I was 15 and a crazy looking punk kid with orange, spiked hair and chains on my ripped jeans… But I still have the same piercings as I did eight years ago. No more, no less. I’d mentioned a couple times that I’d been thinking about a navel ring, but had never done anything about it.

One day I got a call from my boyfriend calling it quits. Losing a first love is never pleasant. My mom and I went downtown for ice cream and as we were walking down the street with our cones we passed a little tattoo parlour that’s been there forever. She turned to me and said “How about that belly button ring?” and we walked inside.

The piercer’s name was Julie, she had long black hair and was COVERED in tattoos. My mom and I showed our IDs and she (nervously) paid and signed a consent form. Julie took us to the back room and I sat in a comfy black chair while she explained the procedure.

She showed us how the needles were individually packaged and the sharps box where they were disposed of. She swabbed the are clean, applied the clamps and made a small ink dot where my vein was. She said I didn’t have to look while the needle went in, but I was almost entranced by it.

I watched her press the needle through my flesh and feed the ring through. It was a small, surgical steel ring with a hematite captive bead. I felt pain, but it wasn’t bad pain. It was like the pinch from the needle erased a little of the hurt I was feeling from my breakup. I felt a little lightheaded so I sat back while she handed me a sheet of care instructions and went through the steps with me.

It only took about four weeks to heal completely, although the sheet said six. I washed it 3 times a day with saline and put polysporin on it afterwards. That navel ring helped me heal.

Today I have 8 piercings and 4 tattoos, each one to mark milestone or tell a story. They help me heal and they help me remember. I will continue to modify my body until a ripe old age and encourage my kids and grandkids to do the same.

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