12 Realizations I Had While Getting a Conch Piercing

12 Realizations I Had While Getting a Conch Piercing

Or: 12 Thoughts I Had to Hide the Fact that I Was Terrified
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Piercings have always looked cool to me in the way that balls are cool to every dog out there. They’re sometimes big, sometimes small, sometimes shiny, sometimes matte. Either way, it’s always been a dream of mine to get a conch piercing.

Why a conch? I honestly don’t know. There was something about having a ring near by ear that just made it seem ~that~ much cooler.

So this summer, I mustered up the courage to go BY MYSELF to a professional piercing shop. Normally, I’d take a friend, but those I’d invited were busy that day, and I knew that I shouldn’t let that stop me from getting a piercing. I didn’t, and walked into the shop without fear.

Okay, that’s a lie. There was some fear there.

But, as I waited in line, certain thoughts came through my head.

1. OH GOSH I’M ACTUALLY DOING THIS??!!!

Yeah, you and me both, dearie. I’m not a wuss when it comes to pain, but I’m not usually the type of person who gets piercings. I have my doubles and singles pierced, but that’s the extent.

It took some deep breathing exercises for me to actually step up to the counter. I’m sure that the woman in front of me thought I was going to faint. (I didn’t.) But if you’re serious about getting a conch piercing (or any type, really), you should know how it will change your life for a few months.

2. The better the shop, the better your piercing will be.

I hadn’t even made it to the front of the line after twenty minutes of waiting, and that was actually a good sign, because I could see what everyone was doing. Each piercer available was going through their client’s waiver and treatment BEFORE the actual piercing commenced. They explained the pressure, the needle, the aftercare, everything. I have never been less afraid in my entire life to change something on my body.

When looking into piercings, make sure you’re looking into respectable shops as well. I had to drive an hour from where I was just to get the five-star rating I so desired.

It was SO worth it.

3. If you have questions, you had better ask now.

I went into the shop and practically interrogated (mostly due to anxiety) the attendant at the front desk when it was my turn. Thankfully, she smiled at me, answering my barrage of semi-pointless questions with a patience and confidence that I can only hope to have one day.

I wasn’t sure about the healing process, or how long it would take, or what my actual piercing would be like, or anything like that. But after asking, I felt so much better. It lessened the feeling in my stomach that said I was about to make a spontaneous mistake.

4. You NEED to make sure it’s sanitary!

The place I went to was the CLEANEST piercing shop I’ve ever been to. It could probably rival Emma Pillsbury’s house on Glee. They had me wash my hands twice, pull my hair back, cleaned my ear twice, AND put my cell phone in this tiny little tanning-like bed, which apparently gets rid of all the bacteria on it. They wanted to make sure that I got the healthiest piercing possible, so that it would heal to be the best piercing possible.

5. The waiting is the worst.

I’m an impatient person. I’ll be the first to admit it. However, it’s mostly just because my anxiety runs rampant until something actually happens, so sitting on the sofa whilst waiting for a piercer to call my name was the LITERAL worst. Like, ever.

But if you know you’re gonna have to wait, the best thing to do is to bring your favorite thing that distracts you. My brother has a tendency to watch YouTube videos or Netflix while we’re waiting to sit down at a restaurant, as it’s comfortable for him. I never go anywhere without a book or a journal. My parents always have their phones to play Candy Crush or Blackjack. We each do our own thing, and then we’re completely relaxed during our time waiting.

6. There might be a split-second where you regret your decision and/or want to throw up.

I’m not kidding. There was at least a minute where I thought, “Oh my gosh, I can’t do this. I’m by myself. It’s going to be the worst.”

No, it’s not.

If you’re getting your piercing at a clean and respectable place, chances are that it’s going to be done professionally—as in, by a trained piercer. That’s what you want. If you go and get your ear pierced by someone a la Lindsey Lohan in The Parent Trap, it probably won’t be as safe. And unless you want your ear to fall off due to infection, you need a professional.

(That’s usually a good rule of thumb to follow when doing anything to your body, just FYI.)

7. Any good piercer will talk you through the process before they do it.

And if they don’t, ASK. Better to be safe than sorry.

8. Any good piercer will also talk to you just before they poke you.

I’m the Queen of Hating Small Talk, and my piercer, Kate, was talking to me about Columbus (my hometown) right as she stabbed me through my ear. As thoughts of hating small talk ran through my head, I focused on answering her Cbus questions and I didn’t even really register the pain until it was already done.

And honestly? It was great. I didn’t have to worry about panicking beforehand, letting the anxiety build up until it swallowed me whole. It made my entire process easier.

9. DO. EVERY. STEP. OF. AFTERCARE. (ESPECIALLY IF IT SEEMS DUMB!)

If you’re like me, and hate going to the doctor unless you’re literally dying, then you usually think that, “Eh, I can live with this,” while taking care of a fresh piercing.

No, no. You cannot do that.

I think I mentioned something before about an ear falling off? Yeah, that’s possible.

(Well, not your entire ear. That would take some serious infection.)

But don’t doubt that if you’re not careful, it will get infected. And believe me, there’s NOTHING worse than an infected ear.

10. The soreness is the worst part.

During those first few days, your piercing will be incredibly tender, as your body learns to adjust to this weird, new, invasive thing. The spot might be red, a little bloody or covered in pus. It will hurt at random intervals, and you’ll find that you quickly learn to adapt to NOT hitting the pierced area. Either way, just make sure you’re hydrated and eating well. It’ll help the healing process.

Anything you can do that’s normal for you, keep doing it. Live your regular life, and the healing will happen.

11. Picking out quality jewelry is CRITICAL.

The shop I went to has high quality jewelry, so I knew that no matter what I chose, my piercing would still be healthy. But I’ve heard and read horror stories about bad jewelry infecting piercings. If you want actual pictures, Google it.

You will want quality jewelry for the rest of your life.

Even if it’s on the pricier side, it’s worth it. Think of it this way—you’re probably going to have this piercing for a while, and it’s probably better to invest now than have to buy multiple crappy rings or studs just to keep the hole filled. And, with low quality jewelry, you have a greater chance of getting infected, too, so you might want to add in the cost of a doctor’s visit.

Seriously—just get the good jewelry. You’ll thank yourself later.

12. Your piercing will look DAMN GOOD.

As of now, I’ve had my conch piercing for just over two weeks, and I’m in love. While I don’t think I’ll be getting many more piercings (I only want a double helix on my other ear), I’m more than delighted with my conch. It looks clean, classy, and healthy, and I have to thank Piercology in Columbus for their great work.

--

Piercings are wonderful things, a great show of who you are, and I couldn’t love mine more.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.
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It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semi-colon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.


2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."


3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.


4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."


5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."


6.Greek symbol of Inguz: where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."


8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya)


9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty and artistic creativity.


10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love and creativity or to put yourself in to whatever you do.


11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from the Hobbit. It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.


13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength & stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.


16. A glyphs means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."


18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe & the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can reminds us of the inconsistency of life. It is also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.


SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos


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6 Orgs You Can Donate Your Hair To After Your Next Hair Cut

Donate your hair to make a difference.

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I have recently been doing a lot of research on hair donation leading up to my next haircut. Donating my hair is something I have always wanted to do, but when I was talking to a lot of my friends no one seemed to know a whole lot about it. It seems that most people know you can donate your hair but simply choose not to because it seems inconvenient to find somewhere willing to accept it. For that reason, I wanted to share some of the information I've found.

1. The Clean Wave Program

When most people hear hair donation, the first thing that comes to mind is wigs. The Clean Wave program is a little different from typical hair donation. Instead of your hair being turned into a wig for someone suffering from hair loss, the collected hair gets turned into mats and other items used in oil spills. Your hair naturally picks up oil, so the hair can easily be used to filter water after oil disasters.

Where to send your hair: Instead of providing an address, the Clean Wave program asks that you sign up to donate at ExcessAccess.org. This allows them to better control the sheer amount of donations they receive while also allowing them to keep your name in a database in case of future oil disasters.

Requirements: At the moment they are asking for ponytails that are 3 inches or longer, but this may change as the needs change. The Clean Wave program has one of the shortest length requirements I have found and is great if you aren't looking to drastically change your looks.

2. 360 Hair

360 Hair is a company devoted to creating wigs for cancer patients 19 and under. It is located in British Columbia and is affiliated with the Canadian Cancer Society. One thing that is unique about the company is that they allow the girls to pick their own desired length, color and texture when it comes time to pick out their wigs.

Where to send your hair:

360 Hair (Hair Donations)
5952 200th St
Langley B.C V3A 1N3

Requirements: Hair 360 asks that hair is clean and dry, bundled into a ponytail or braid secured at both ends, and hair must be a minimum of 8 inches of length.

3. Chai Lifeline

Chai Lifeline is another company that provides wigs to children with cancer. Chai Lifeline gifts wigs because they feel that it helps improve the children's self-esteem. While they do the same thing a lot of other hair donation places do, they ask for longer lengths of hair, so they are a good choice if you recently just cut off a large portion of your hair.

Where to send your hair:

Chai Lifeline
Attention: Hair Donations
151 West 30th Street, Floor 3
New York, NY 10001



Requirements: Asks that hair is clean and dry, bundled into a ponytail or braid secured at both ends, placed in a ziplock bag and then an outer envelope, and hair must be a minimum of 14 inches of length.

4. Wigs For Kids

Wigs For Kids provides wigs to children in need at no cost to the recipient. The company ensures that no hair goes unused, and even shorter lengths get turned into things like layers and bangs. Wigs For Kids states that they do not sell any of the hair collected through their donation program. Wigs For Kids also allows you to write a letter to the recipient of your hair if that is something that you are interested in doing.

Where to send your hair:

Wigs for Kids — Hair Donations
24231 Center Ridge Road
Westlake, Ohio 44145

Requirements: Wigs For Kids has stricter guidelines that need to be followed than most other hair donation companies, but their website gives a clear list of directions. They ask that you follow the cutting procedure to ensure the maximum amount of hair is able to be donated. They also ask that hair be at least 12 inches in length.

5. Locks of Love 

This is probably one of the most popular hair donation places out there. However, LOL has faced some harsh criticism over the years for their habit of selling hair. While it is true that Locks of Love sells a portion of the hair received, the company claims this is done to help raise funds for the wigs they do donate. You should donate at your own discretion and choose a company you feel meets your hair criteria and values the best.

Where to send your hair: Locks of Love has a downloadable form they ask you to fill out when you donate that includes the address for hair donations.

Requirements: They ask that clean, dry, and 10-inch long hair be placed in ponytails before mailing. Locks of Love also accepts color-treated hair.

6. Pantene Beautiful Lengths 

Pantene Beautiful Lengths is partnered with both the American and Canadian Cancer Societies to provide free wigs to women living with cancer-related hair loss. This donation company is only accepting donations through December 31st of 2018, however, so you need to act fast if you want to donate your hair to them.

Where to send your hair:

Pantene Beautiful Lengths

Attn: 192-123
806 SE 18th Ave.
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Requirements: Pantene asks for donations of at least 8 inches. The hair must be clean and dry, secured at both ends of the ponytail and placed in both a ziplock bag and padded envelope.

Whether you are planning to make a big or small change to your hairstyle, consider hair donation as an alternative to help others struggling with their own hair journeys.

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