I got my first piercing at the age of about 5 or 6. We'd been on holiday to Spain and all the little Spanish girls had their ears pierced. I asked if I could have mine done and my parents foolishly said yes. They assumed I would have forgotten all about it by the time we came home. Nope, not so much. I didn't have anything else done til I was around 14 when I got a 2nd set of earrings in my lobes. Next up was a cartilage piercing in my right ear at about 15ish. Over the next few years I would get an industrial, my left tregus, my belly button and my tongue done.
At 17 and a half I got my first tattoo (with my mother's permission). It was an Ankh and roses on my left hip. By 18 I had a Kanji on my left ankle. Now I will be the first to admit that it does not say what it was supposed to. It was meant to be Immortal but instead it means Hermit. I kinda like it.
Between 18 and 21 I went on to get my left rook pierced and my belly button 3 times more, 1 of which I had to remove. I also had my lip done which I had to remove as well. Between 21 and 31 I have had my lip pierced twice more, once was rejected. My right nipple twice which rejected both times. My right conch twice and my lobes done again. I also had 4 surface piercings over my collarbones which grew out. They were done in 2 sets of 2 and in both cases I let them grow out to the point where hardly anything covered them and then cut them out. I wanted complete scars rather than lines that did not meet you see. One day I would like to get microdermals at the top and bottom of each of them. Currently I have 18 piercings. I also added 5 more tattoos. A symbol on the back of my neck which I have doodled on almost everything since I was 16. A tribalish one at the base of my spine. This one is special in that my best friend at the time bought me it for my 21st birthday after I had bought her the same one for hers. I have an OM symbol on my right wrist and matching pretty patterns on my feet.
I love body modification. I love it on myself and I love it on other people. I hate the hostility people are still met with for having body modifications. I particularly despise it when people disapprove of piercings when they have their own ears pierced. I just don't see how you can be for some and against others. I find it very frustrating in this day and age that people are still asked to cover up tattoos and remove piercing for jobs. The metal in my body and the ink on my skin do not affect my ability to do a job. I get that it is not for everyone. But that is the beauty of being able to modify ourselves like this, or not. We can dye out hair any colour we like, paint our faces and nails. We can decorate ourselves in so many ways and surely we should be encouraged to explore who we are as much as possible.
I hate it when people ask me of my tattoos "But won't they look awful when you are old?". The answer is yes, maybe they will. But I will be able to look at each one and, all things willing, remember where I was and what I felt like at the time. I will remember who I was then and how that relates to who I am now. It doesn't matter that the ink has bled or the skin has sagged. If we did everything now thinking only of when we are old I don't think we would do anything.