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Earscaping my midlife life crisis

Earscaping my midlife life crisis
Carly Jacobs
earscaping

I put together a free Very Excellent Habits Earscaping Planner. You can get it here. 

Here’s a little sneak peek of what’s in it.

On my 8th birthday*, my mother took me to Woden Plaza to get my ears pierced. I climbed up on the bench stool, feeling extraordinarily cool and weirdly confident. A young girl barely older than me hastily scribbled two poorly spaced dots on my ears and blunt forced trauma-ed sparkly purple studs through my tender lobes.

It really fucking hurt.

I wanted to cry but I knew Sarah V hadn’t cried when she got hers done and Sarah E ‘didn’t even feel it’. Peer pressure bravery forced me to plaster a faux smile on my face and pretend I was fine. I was not fine. Armed with my little (now iconic) pink and green spray bottle of antiseptic I went home and slept poorly for months on ears that were very displeased with me.ear antiseptic spray

And so began my tumultuous journey with ear piercing or ‘earscaping’ as we now call it. When I was in year 7, I got a second hole in my left lobe. I pretended it wasn’t because of Claudia Kishi, but it absolutely was. I wanted to create tiny art scenes in my ears just like her.

“She had a pink flamingo in one ear and a palm tree in the other, and then put a tiny gold monkey on top of the palm tree.”

So dibble.

When I was in late high school, I got my helix pierced. It was painful and annoying. I was a musical theatre kid and every time I got my mic put on it would get knocked or caught in the tape so I gave up and took it out. Sometime in my 20s I stopped using my Claudia Kishi hole and it closed up.

Which brings me to my midlife crises. I’m done having babies and that stereotypical urge to reclaim my body has been nagging at me all year. Tattoos aren’t for me (commitment-phobe), and my curly hair doesn’t really allow for drastic transformations. I have a light penchant for putting holes in my body whenever I feel an inner shift. Eight years old is when you go from being a little kid to a big kid (first lobe holes). Year 7 needs no explanation (second single hole). College caused the helix and in between it all I got my belly button pierced when I was 16. Piercing seems to be my thing but it’s kind of everyone’s thing and it’s certainly nothing new.

Ancient civilizations have used piercings in tribal rituals, as a class communication device and as a way to show how scary they are. Regina George may think that hoop earrings are ‘her thing’ but pirates wore them centuries before she did as a way to safely carry their wealth with them. If their ships sank and their bodies washed up on the shore it was customary for the locals to use the gold from their earrings to pay their funerals.

Piercings have and always will indicate a hierarchy of coolness, rebellion, and artistic expression but no one gets to assume what your body modification means. That’s for you to decide. For me, earscaping is a body reclamation. Doing something I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to do when I was pregnant or breastfeeding my babies for years. It’s also for me. There’s little point in me even doing this because I have a lot of hair and people rarely see my ears anyway but I want to and that’s reason enough.

By the way, the term ‘earscaping’ is what the cool kids call having lots of piercings in your ears, but it’s more thoughtful and planned than just being bored on a Saturday afternoon and deciding to get another ear hole. My muse is Scarlett Johansson for reference. I love her spacing and I want the same-ish vibe just less bling.

Scarlett Johansson earscaping

My Earscaping Journey

Once I decided on my preferred midlife crisis vehicle, I started planning my earscaping with the following points in mind.

  • I’m very lazy so I must be able to sleep/exercise/exist comfortably in the world without changing my earrings all the time.
  • Nothing too flowery, feminine or sparkly. A tableau of silver and white gold hoops/studs is more my vibe.
  • I need to be able to take out my first hole earrings to put fancy earrings in and the rest need to be able to play nicely without too much supervision.

I didn’t know where I was going with my journey, but I started with ‘seconds’, which are literally second lobe holes. I attempted to get pierced at a proper, scary-looking tattoo studio, and they kept cancelling my appointment while simultaneously bullying me into not getting it done anywhere else. After researching some more I discovered Blomdahl piercing. It’s a branded method where they use medical-grade plastic studs and guns. I was imagining neat little silver orbs but when I got there they had run out of the plain ones and I had to get rainbow sparkle. I was too flustered to say no. The piercer also pointed out that my first holes were uneven and suggested I re-pierce one of them to match or it would throw my whole earscaping off. I had three relatively large and tacky sparkly studs in my ears for 6 weeks. It looked like a twelve-year-old had done it in their bedroom with a needle and an ice cube.

Eventually I could put my lovely hoops in and all was well in the world. Next up was helix. Sparkly disco studs aside I was really pleased with my Blomdahl piercings so I booked in again on the proviso that they had more subtle studs available. They’re not open weekends so I had to look elsewhere. I ended up booking into Hairhouse as a second choice. I deeply believed I was too cool to get my ears pierced at a Hairhouse (it’s like a chain of hairdressers in Australia), but my experience was extraordinary.

earscaping

These are only photos I’ll share ATM because as you can see I’m in healing mode and there’s not a lot happening.

 

Here’s a rundown of getting my helix pierced there.

  • My piercer Eddie has lots of experience and was calm, professional and hilarious.
  • There’s a full-on sterile room with a bed and everything.
  • Three levels of stainless steel earrings were available, including 316, the medical-grade they use for hip replacements. I’m definitely on the allergic side so I paid extra for that.
  • They only used needles. I didn’t know there was a bit of beef in the industry but apparently guns are frowned upon. Needles give less tissue damage, heel faster and are more hygienic. They also require more skill. This explains why a bored 13-year-old was allowed to do my first holes.
  • The earrings have flat backs that screw on. I don’t know how long flat back earrings have existed but whoever invented them – I want to kiss you on the mouth. Butterfly backs can get in the bin.
  • It really fucking hurt. But only for a second.

I got my upper and mid helix done and they’re healing beautifully. I almost can’t notice them. I was told not to sleep on them for at least three months but sorry Eddie, no dice. They’re still a little tender but I can gently rest my head on them and get an okay hour or two on that side of my head.

If, like me, you haven’t had your ears pierced since the Spice Girls broke up, after piercing care has changed.

  • No twisting. You’re just transferring germs. No wonder my first piecings were so gross I was twisting them all day with my dank kid fingers.
  • No alcohol on them.
  • Give them a spray with saline morning and night and that’s it.

I’ve had five piercings in the last 6 months and they’ve been totally fine. This is a shock because every other piercing has been fairly dreadful so either the above industry changes have made a big difference or my body is simply less of a snowflake.

At the moment I wear Mejuri White Gold hoops in my first holes and Mejuri Silver Huggies in my second holes. I plan to get some tiny silver or white gold flat-back studs for my helix and constellation.

earscaping

I chatted with Eddie, and my next step is a constellation on my left ear, where I’ll get 3 more piercings and put tiny studs in them to make a little milky-way on my lobe. Which will look very cool and sleek until I turn 70 when I plan to enter my witch era and I’ll do an art nouveau web of chains and rough-cut diamond studs. I’ll wear nothing but floor-length velvet gowns, swim naked in rivers and have a shot of whisky for breakfast every morning. I can’t wait.

I might stop there with my earscaping but who knows? The earscaping journey is different for everyone. Some people meticulously plan their scapes from the beginning but I’m enjoying my slow, organic experience. I’m sold on Eddie. No one else will put holes in my ears thank you very much.

Earscaping should remain a moving target, especially if you unwittingly started your journey with lop-sided purple sparkles you got done in a mall.

Anyone else planning earscaping? What’s your next piercing?

*As an adult with my own children now, eight years old seems very young to give permission for someone to stab holes in your child’s ears. No shade to my mum, everyone did it and I assume people are still doing it and I may well do it but as a societal norm it seems… early?

P.S I send out a newsletter every Wednesday at 10 am – you can sign up for it here.

P.P.S Don’t forget your free Very Excellent Habits Earscaping planner! 

11 Comments

  1. Christina @HairRomance 7 months ago

    I’m excited for your new earscape! And still laughing at those sparkly studs hahaha! My body struggles with piercings and wants them to close immediately – I wear huggies non-stop so I can keep them open for fancy earrings

    • Author
      Carly 6 months ago

      Yeah one of my piercings was a little gummy but I washed it in soap and water every day and it’s sorting itself out! My belly button was not great.

  2. Christina @HairRomance 7 months ago

    I’m excited for your new earscape! And still laughing at those sparkly studs hahaha! My body struggles with piercings and wants them to close immediately – I wear huggies non-stop so I can keep them open for fancy earrings

  3. Sandra Kelly 7 months ago

    Given my years on you I’m thinking I’m totally going to miss your witch era and I’m extremely upset about that! Would you consider bringing it forward say… a decade or three! ? witch era sounds all kinds of cool. ?

    • Author
      Carly 6 months ago

      Ha! Look that’s very much on the cards – I might bring it forward a few decades. I’m currently in my Angelica Houston era (maxi jumpsuits and bangles) and it’s slippery slope from there.

  4. Mardi 7 months ago

    Your requirements are exactly like mine. I had three holes pierced at 10, 20 and 30 years old but let them close up between 40 and 50, when I got them done again with the needle. That was 5 years ago now and I have to wear earrings constantly because it’s too hard to get earrings back in. I wear tiny silver huggies in hole 3, slightly bigger ones with Swarovski crystals in hole 2 and a pair of white gold and diamond studs in hole 1. I used to wear big dangly earrings but I just hate the way they look on me now.

    • Author
      Carly 6 months ago

      Yes same! I have to have earrings in my ears at all times or they close over. I’ll check out Swarovski actually – that’s a great idea.

  5. Anonymous 7 months ago

    I love this. My hair is getting shorter so I’m thinking it’s time to reinstate the earscape. I had three in my left helix and one in my right conch that I let heal up cos i thought I’d outgrown them >facepalm< Would love them all back now. Wonder how things go piercing through scar tissue/ existing holes…

    • Author
      Carly 6 months ago

      Yeah I’m not sure about that actually – when I got my Claudia Kishi hole re-done the main concern was not scarring but weakness in the area near that might cause a tear through. But honestly go to a decent piercer and ask. They’ve all been so helpful.

  6. Anonymous 7 months ago

    I love this! I wasn’t allowed to get my ears pierced til i was 16 and its a bit of a trauma for me still, I wanted them so badly and felt so deprived and the weird kid out! I now have 5 holes in one ear, 2 in the other, had my nose done a couple times and my belly button. I think its my weird rebellion. I still wasnt brave enough to be my nose (fear of family ridicule lol) til my late 20s! I just took my 6.5 year old to get hers done yesterday, It was so fun and they look so cute on her. I took her to a shopping centre piercing shop and booked tandem piercers so they do them at the same time. I think around 6 is a good age (which the piercer actually said haha)

    • Author
      Carly 6 months ago

      Wow 16? That’s hardcore of your parents good on them. That’s absolutely a rebellion! so funny like it’s my body, I’ll do what I want. My eldest has no interest in getting her ears pierced and she’s five. She also doesn’t want drawings on her arms (tattoos) and doesn’t want to get married. She’s so straight edge.

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