Sunday, May 21, 2006

Inner happiness and Unavoidable discontent

In NYC today I had my first experience with a tattoo convention. And just two days ago I renewed my membership in the corsetry club (see photo at left). It goes without saying that my week has been spectacular. After I received my 8 14 gauge CBR piercings, I was checking them out in the full length mirror that's hung in my piercer's studio. He deciphered my expression upon examining them exactly in asking "Back to normal now?" Indeed :o)
The only problem is that my parents have recently gotten more serious than ever about their dislike for body modification. In a nutshell, if they see any new mods on my body, my college education will be put on hold for quite awhile. I'm 20 years old, absolutely in love with my school, and I have a new set of corset piercings that my parents don't know about. What to do?... I love my family incredibly, but they don't seem to see my body in the same way that I do. I think that I'm beautifying it with every mod, but they interpret my acquisitions as mutilations and desecrations. Even if so, I believe that I should have the right to change my body in any way I desire regardless of the opinions and attitudes of society or my family.
In addition to the frustration with my family, trying to find a job while possessing a facial piercing and stretched lobes is much harder than I had imagined. I thought I'd turn to Shannon Larratt for some advice as to what I should do to make my job search a little less frustrating. Unfortunately, after searching through a number of his past articles, I uncovered only this advice:

"If you are turned down for a job, or fired from a job for piercings or tattoos, the simplest way to remedy the situation is to use your voice. Fighting it in court is generally a losing battle, and will eat up your time and money. On the other hand, telling everyone you know what happened to you, and urging them to not support this business until they remedy the situation is free, ethical, very effective and most importantly sends a clear message.

I realize that I am about to ask you to accept some self imposed hardship, but unless it's utterly necessary, please do not tell them that you're willing to compromise and take out or hide your body modifications. When that happens, it lets them know that they can push us around, and that expressing who we are means less to us than $6.50 an hour.

Although I'd love to contribute to the fight against modder discrimination, I need a! I have almost no cash, and the bills never stop rolling in. My only option may be to remove my visible mods. On the bright side, even this compromise would allow me to retain my nape piercing, industrial piercing, tongue piercing, and even my corset. I sure will miss my vertical labret, though. And the act of removing one of my oldest and favorite mods before I actually want to will be incredibly distressing. Just the thought makes me feel helpless. I'm a good, loving, and intelligent person - am I wrong to think that this is all that matters?
I really don't mean to be ranting on and on here, but I don't know where else to voice my utter frustration. I don't think I'll ever give up on modification, and especially not because other people are telling me that it's not normal or acceptable. However, it makes me so sad to think that both people I love and people I have never met before look down upon me because of my appearance. It almost makes me sick. My friends and I have theorized that by the time we are in our 30s, visible mods will be quite common, and society will adapt accoridingly. If a woman with tattoo sleeves decides to go through medical school, is she really going to be denied a job in a field that is in desperate need of employees simply because of her mods? I certainly hope and think not.
I'm going to continue my search tomorrow for a job that allow employees to be modded, but if my quest fails, I may be forced into a summer of waiting tables in my partially unadorned form. Again, I apologize for the rant, but at least I know that posting it here assures that it well be read with understanding. Thanks for reading :o)


Kate said...

I understand how distressed you feel, after 3 years as a full time student I recently switched to part time studies and had to find a job quickly if I were going to be able to keep eating and paying rent: and I have stretched ears and a tattoo on my neck. I honestly think it's unlikely you'll have to remove your vertical labret. If you are looking for work in retail or foodservice it is often easy to find a job - they lose employees pretty quickly and can be desperate to replace them; in my experience even strict dress code's often go un-enforced.

It is pretty easy to scout out a location to apply. Before picking up an application check out the employees; do any have visible tattoos or facial piercings? If so it's probably already a non issue. If not it may just be that they are hiding visibly modified employees in the back where customers can't see them, which happens frequently.

You are also more likely to be hired if you fill out the application completely on the spot, and hand it directly the manager in charge. Not only does it allow them to interview you immediately if they want, it sends the message you are willing to put more effort into work than the average person. I would only caution you not to do this when the store is busy.

If you really worry the vertical labret will work against you it would be worthwhile to invest in a clear retainer, at least then you can argue you are willing to compromise.

Anonymous said...

I have no great advice about you pertaining to visible piercings..I've kept all mine to my ears, which are generally not visible, and under the clothes where the general public sure as hell isn't seeing anyway. Same with tattoos. But I do feel for you. My family, my boyfriend are the same way. It hurts when you have something that seems so wondrous, so joyous and exciting to you, and you can't share it with the people closest to you without automatically negative reactions.

I believe my modifications are a celebration and a testament to how much I love and appreciate my body. You've expressed a lot of my deepest feelings regarding mods, particularly in this entry, and I just wanted to let you know your writing is inspiring. Keep up the amazing work, I'll be back to check for more.

Michael said...

Move to Australia and work in a bar! Two of the most modded people (by my standard) I know work in a bar that I used to work in. even the owner's son has a stretched lobe.

I know how you feel with your family though, I have often thought about getting something pierced but never did due to the undue stress this would place upon me with my father's antipodean view of ANY mods. Then on Saturday I got a tattoo, which I haven't told my parents about due to the massive issues involved. I am slightly worried as to the reaction it will recieve.

All the best,

(sorry this isn't more help :P)

Anonymous said...

Hi! Just want to say what a nice site. Bye, see you soon.

vida said...

good luck on the job search.. im rooting for you