A Sparkled Body Modification Journey

My name is Sydney Oliver. I am a journalist, and I have 18 piercings. Here is my piercing journey.

The buzz of adrenaline hangs in the air as you lay down on the leather-bound chair. You may have to take some deep breathes and or hold a friend’s hand as the needle meets your skin.

The Day and Moment of Hurt

It’s the day, the moment. This feeling of excitement tickles your stomach and the slight pinch of pain passes in an instant. This moment of hurt, whether it be minuscule or intense, is the true payment for the aesthetic that comes with a new modification.

And I wear every single one of them proudly. Even in a field that relies so heavily on public image and appearance, I have yet to be hindered by my metal attributes on both my face and ears. With the rising popularity of facial and cartilage piercings, many individuals have begun dipping their toes in the piercing scene.

Body modification or more specifically piercings have become an outlet for me and many others as a facet of personal self-expression. Every piece of metal that sits within my skin holds a story, a place in time, or a split decision. Each as special as the last.

Earrings on sale can tempt someone to also get new piercings.

Starting An Obsession Young

I was in the fourth grade when I first discovered my craze for body modifications. It all began with a slight pinch in a tacky pink chair, as I was gifted with my first set of earrings. I showed up to school the next morning and thought I was the coolest kid on the playground. Even with my still tender ear lobes, I soon craved more of these beautiful ear pieces.

Soon after my first set of ear lobe piercings, came my begging pleas to my mother in sixth grade to get my ‘second holes’ done as well. With a few bribes of doing chores and a little financial assistance from my uncle, I walked out of a Claire’s yet again with a new set of gems. Little did my mother know, this was only the beginning.

Even with her displeasure of most piercings, my mother eventually grew into my extra attachments and decided fretting about them would prove pointless.

I think that it’s sad that piercings, and even tattoos, are still viewed negatively by many in the 21st century. I think that it’s tragic that people are put down purely due to their self-expression. Unlike some of the smaller communities, this subculture holds so many expressive and artistic individuals that have no boundaries.

One of the most amazing parts of the body modification crowd is that there are so many people that have also decorated themselves with the same passion. No matter what kind of hate or ridicule you may face, you always know that there are other individuals who share the same love as yourself.

I feel complete with my piercings and naked without them. Each addition to my body is an extension of my personality and creativity, displayed in an aesthetic form.

Even with a whopping total of 18 piercings, I do not ever plan on halting my body modification journey. Soon, tattoos will adorn my skin as well, and continue my route of self-expression.

As someone who hopes to someday join the world of visual-based journalism, I hope to see more members of the journalism circle with visible tattoos and facial piercings. As of right now, society has deemed most body modifications, excluding minor ear piercings, as unprofessional. As I grow as a journalist, and also continue my journey into the realm of piercings and tattoos, I hope to one day represent the body modification subculture in front of a camera.

1st Person Reporting by Sydney Oliver shared with the Reynolds Sandbox



The Reynolds Sandbox showcases innovative and engaging storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab.

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Reynolds Sandbox

Showcasing innovative and engaging multimedia storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab in Reno.