Deciding to get a tattoo or piercing in later life

I recently had an email from a blog reader asking about my decision to get my nose pierced in my 30s, she’d read this post I wrote about making the decision to get my nostril done. It is always lovely to hear from a reader! She had some questions for me and it’s taken me a while to get through them but this is my response which I thought I’d share here.

Deciding to get a tattoo or piercing in later life

The back story – deciding to get a tattoo or piercing in later life

My daughter’s birth was a real turning point in my life, but not necessarily for the obvious reasons. Yes, I felt I’d grown, I understood more of the meaning of life and I became part of that knowing circle of women who had brought life into the world, but more than that I had experienced a spiritual journey (largely reflected in the title of my blog!) Postnatal depression and in particular the subsequent therapies I engaged with made me question my core values, the things I held to be true and where they had come from.

Particularly I learned that I shy away from doing some things, things I might be really interested in, because of fear of what other people might think. I didn’t want to bring my child up to take on these same beliefs, but to push herself forward in the world. I had always liked tattoos and piercings but I wrote them off as not for me because I thought my parents, peers or employers might not approve. So I had a child, and I grew up!

Deciding to get a tattoo or piercing in later life1

I went from having no modifications to having three tattoos and a nose piercing in less than two years. If you’re at a similar point in your life and are debating whether or not to take the steps towards tattoos and piercings this is an extract from the list of questions I wrote to help me decide whether it was definitely the right thing for me:

· Have I researched safety and risk factors?
· Can I get a recommendation of a studio from a friend?
· Am I sure this tattoo design/piercing placement is right for me?
· How do I feel about people at work seeing them? And family?
· How will I feel about them as I get older?

My overriding response to these questions was that I knew in my heart it was the right thing for me, my first tattoo marked a special event, the miracle of birth, and it marked my decision to make my own way in the world, it brought a sense of “if they don’t like me because I have these modifications I genuinely don’t give a hoot” – and the three hours I sat in the tattoo artist’s chair gave me a strange sense of peace, it wasn’t painful, it was actually very therapeutic!

So on to the practicalities of the nose piercing; and things to think about when deciding to get a piercing. Here are my responses to the Q & A my reader sent me*

What’s your top tip for someone thinking about getting a nostril piercing?

My first tip would be to try to find a piercer who is well known in your locality by asking friends for recommendations, and pay them a visit too. I was still humming and haa-ing about it when I went in to visit the studio and so the piercer and I had a ten minute chat about it and it really helped to talk it through with someone who knew about placement, what would suit me, healing times etc. The piercer really put my mind at rest and talked me through why using a needle is better for the sensitive membranes of the nose than a piercing gun, recommended a type of stud, and tried a few different placements until we both agreed on the best look.

How did you decide left or right nostril?

Good question! I read an article on the web that said something like “the left side is the most common to be pierced in India, because that is the spot associated in Ayuvedic medicine with the female reproductive organs, the piercing is supposed to make childbirth easier and lessen period pain.” I thought this was really interesting and read that many women choose a left side placement for these reasons; I spoke to a friend who is interested in alternative medicine and she told me the exact same so I went with the left nostril.

How did you find a piercer?

I asked for recommendations, I am part of a huge North East Sling Library network so I asked my Facebook friends, the one I went with was mentioned a lot of times and when we met the piercer really put me at ease!

Did they numb your nose?

Nope, but it genuinely didn’t hurt, it was a sharp pinch and a bit of eye watering but nothing more, I would say it’s similar to the eye watering you get from an eyebrow wax!

How did you choose the size of your nose stud?

I asked for recommendations from the piercer and she thought a smaller stud would give a subtle sparkle, which I agree it does!

Was your husband and family supportive of your decision?

Absolutely, my husband and daughter came with me when I had it done. I didn’t tell my parents til after the event; they didn’t like that I’d had it done, but they do like the look of it and they’ve just accepted it

How did you feel and are you still happy with the decision? Was it worth it? Would you do it again?

I’ve had it in for about two years now and I don’t regret it, I love it, I like the diversity of changing the studs or popping in a ring for an edgier look. I was slightly nervous about job interviews but have never tried to hide my tattoos or piercings and have never had a negative reaction.

Am I crazy at 30 wanting to get my nose pierced?

Not at all, it’s a personal decision and one I came to later in life, I got mine as a way of demonstrating my self-confidence and it was something I’d always wanted but was too ‘conventional’ to try, having my daughter changed that, I wanted to be myself and so I started to project my own confidence back to the world

Did you get a tattoo or piercing in later life? What advice would you give to something thinking of taking the plunge?

Deciding to get a tattoo or piercing in later life

*Clearly I’m not an expert, but this is my personal experience

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