(On body modification and chronic illness)

When you’re sick, you don’t always get to make decisions about your own body. Because your body (or your illness) makes those decisions for you

Want to eat without getting nauseous? Too bad!

Want to be able to digest food properly, and have all your organs work the way they’re supposed to? Nope! Sucker.

Want to be able to think clearly, and not be in pain? Hahahahahaha No.

And then there’s the doctors. When you’re sick, you sort of wander around the doctor’s office in a haze, going wherever they tell you to go, because you’re too tired and confused to do much else. You sit in the lab chairs they tell you too, you offer your arm, and let some random person collapse your veins 5 times before they get a result.

And it’s freezing, and unfamiliar, and you really really, don’t want to be there, but you have to be if you want to get better. So you stay. It’s a strange sort of consensual non-consent.

And it’s a terrifying loss of control.

With body modifications, it’s exact opposite. It’s all about you, and exactly what you want to happen.

You can be picky. So picky. You could spend a year researching tattoo artists, until you find the exact right one. You can obsessively check sanitation credentials. You can find an environment that serves tea, and is warm, and has soothing sage green walls, where they tell you to breathe deeply and talk calmly to you before shoving needles through your ears.

There are options, and they are all yours.

So last week, after a year full of blood draws and IV’s in cold white rooms, I chose a piercer, did my research, and took control, in one small way, of what would happen to my body that day.


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