I have just realized that, should I want a new piercing, I can get it at any time.
ANY TIME. 😉 Not just that, but any gauge. Not ONLY that, but I can actually go up to 10g in my main piercings, if I decide that this is what I want to do. If I plan on that, though, I’ll need to tell the piercer. I’m not up to date on how far away the new piercing should be, from the old one; but if I go to the tattoo parlor I’m thinking of, they have very good reputations, and should know where to place it.
Several years ago, I made the provisional settlement with myself that I would not go above 10g until I had figured myself out more and was more stable…which, I am, now. But I’d still like to hold myself to that gauge limit until I can reassess the situation. Particularly, it won’t matter until I get to 10g and get comfortable at it. Why 10g? It’s pretty much a no-going-back girth, at which the ring diameter and thickness of shank (or wire gauge) appear close-enough-to-optimal, to me.
I am currently wearing 14g surgical steel rings, which never come out, and are treated as part of my body. I’m actually still wearing the rings I was pierced with, though I’ve gone up and down in gauge several times (it’s a fairly time-consuming process to stretch [stretching can tear the flesh if done too hastily, and that has permanent consequences where it comes to any additional stretching], but it’s easy to take the rings out and let the piercings tighten or close). This has been going on long enough that I’ve realized that I may not be able to wear conventional earrings anymore, without my piercings expanding from the weight and turning into slits…which can turn into migration, which can turn into a split lobe. I don’t have this issue yet, and hope not to have it — but that means that I need to reassess my situation as regards my jewelry.
So while I really did enter into this with the opportunity to move one way or the other (as regards having expanded piercings or conventional ones); it looks as though the window of opportunity to have conventional piercings has passed (about…ten years down the line?). My scars seem just permanently too loose, now.
Most of my conventional earwires are about 22g — it’s a fairly common size. (I judge this from my experience in working with wire for jewelry; 24g is much too light, thin and weak for most earwires. 20g is nearly alternative-size.) My piercings, though, are four sizes larger than that, at this point.
Generally, the sizes graduate in increments of two, so starting at 22, we have 20 (which is the largest mainstream wire I have, on a pair of gold-fill department-store rings), 18, 16, and 14. The smaller the number, the larger the diameter of the wire itself (independent of whatever is made from it). 10g is two sizes up, and marks the beginning of the really beautiful carved and sculptural pieces, along with the beginning of the use of plugs instead of rings or barbells.
The major (psychological) factor restricting my entry into this is the availability of quality, safe, large-gauge jewelry…for the rest of my life. It’s fairly apparent now that the “Modern Primitive” trend was, in fact, a trend. There are still a lot of people around now, though — particularly young men — with expanded lobe piercings. I’m not entirely sure what’s motivating people 15 years my junior to do it (who kind of missed the first wave with Gen X…and even I’m a Millenial), but that’s the trend.
There is also the possibility of making my own rings, but I can’t work surgical steel at this point (blacksmithing is an entirely different beast than silversmithing), and nor can I make a spring-loaded ring. I can make 14g silver and copper earwires…which would seem the last-ditch effort to really wear elaborate decorative stuff rather than everyday stuff…or that which I can’t make myself. This impacts me because I make jewelry. Sometimes I want to wear it; but my jewelry suppliers do not stock quality large-gauge earwires. Find a different supplier? Find a different reputable supplier, more like…
The other thing I wanted to write about was going out of the house today with a little bit of stubble. I was minorly concerned about it when I checked myself in the mirror before leaving (I had maybe 1mm of obvious hair growth), but I had left no time for myself to shave. It was vastly more comfortable than I had imagined it would be — I actually had very little self-consciousness about it. This, though, also implies that I really should avoid anything that will permanently eliminate this hair, in case one day I do want to live as overtly gender-nonbinary. It’s not unheard of at all for transmasculine people to wear facial hair, even if they aren’t “passing” as male. The biggest risk I have is from people looking at me and thinking I actually am male…
As regards the hair on my actual scalp, I’m coming to realize that it may actually look cute, loosely pulled back with the section which would have been bangs, cascading forward. I’ve been avoiding it because I know it looks messy — but maybe there’s a place for “messy.” “Messy,” may be better than, “I don’t know what I’m doing, let’s just do anything and get on with it.” I’m considering, now, actually clipping the hair which does fall forward in a more organized manner, with the intent of wearing it loose.
Pretty much the only up-side to having long hair is being able to pull it back, and being able to braid it. That’s…really, about it, for me. I suppose I could try wearing it down again, and it might be cute that way, too — but then I have to deal with dust getting into it, and then washing it, and then trying to figure out how to dry it. The point worth mentioning about pulling my hair back is that I’ve realized that I don’t have to pull it back tightly; a loose band will hold it, and not strain my follicles.
As far as clothing goes…? I have been wearing femininely-gendered clothing to work, mostly out of habit. I actually have been getting a little self-conscious over being assumed to be a man with a feminine chest, there (I suspect one particular observation to have been about the, “is it a boy or a girl,” question…talk about colonizing perspectives); but it’s generally been okay. I’m not sure to what extent I want to wear masculine clothing, or to be seen as male. I have pretty much no control over the latter, anyway; so maybe it’s a question better off not answered. And as for the former…I just want to be comfortably clothed, and not put on display. At least, not until I get my body back into shape. 😉
And like I’ve said before, having a female chest along with big muscles and a good amount of strength…is something I really want to get back to. A lot of guys find it hot, too, which I have been a bit surprised at. But I think to myself: big muscles, female chest, long hair, multiple piercings, may or may not wear “cross-gendered” clothing, may or may not wear makeup.
And yes, I am still intrigued about the possibility of a legal gender-nonbinary designation. What I’m concerned about is government tracking. It isn’t a big deal in a sane and well-checked democracy, but if things go south, I would not trust the government not to take advantage of my marking myself in any way to be a member of a hidden (vulnerable) minority. I’m having a hard enough time reconciling my psychological status with the level of potential threat I’ve perceived recently, let alone someone designating “Third Gender” bathrooms which aren’t kept up to the safety or standards of the other two.
This is also a reason, by the way, I have not opted for testosterone. I would no longer be able to hide as an invisible minority; and there are a good number of studies out on how marking oneself brings with it, stigma. Not necessarily as much to trans* men, but I’m not a trans* man, as I’ve mentioned before (nor am I a trans* woman). And not as much to White people, but I’m not White.
What I have found interesting is that in taking on the title “gender-fluid,” my gender has actually seemed to settle someplace within those giant bounds, more or less. It’s still not anything that would be really free from stigma if it were to come to light…in 2016. This is largely because of misogyny (as it affects men, women, and everyone else). 20 years down the line, if I haven’t been exterminated in the meantime, maybe it would be OK. Of course, though, I can’t guarantee I’ll live that long. Do I want to make it about what life I want to live now? Or hold out for things to get better?
Maybe the question is whether I’m ready, now. There are a number of things I am ready for; testosterone is not one of them. It’s just too big of a shift, too soon. And hey — I have held out for about 15 years, already. If the time is right, I’m sure I’ll know it — and I can proceed with it, then.
Right now, I’m just getting ready for a needle through my ear…