The year is 2009; my hair is long and black and my jeans are uncomfortably tight. My desperate attempt to establish my individuality consists of band tees, red lipstick and Converse shoes. I was dating someone during this time that lived the life of hardcore bands, which made me come to idolize the alternative look that he had: piercings, tattoos and a bad ass attitude to match.

That’s when I decided to ‘stretch’ my ears. During this time, I was not thinking of the pain this may cause or most importantly, the effect it would have on my future career. I should also mention that I was majoring in Elementary Education. I began to research the history of ear stretching and how to start doing it.  As it turned out, this trend had been around for thousands of years.  Otzi the Iceman, the world’s oldest mummified body was wearing an ear-stretcher somewhere between 7-11mm.

I purchased a “taper kit” online and impatiently waited for it to arrive. Within the next few days, my package arrived. One night, I slowly pushed the plastic taper through my left lobe, until I was at a 14mm. My ear was red and throbbing with pain but as far as I was concerned it looked really cool. I then pushed the taper through my right ear. Throughout the course of the next few weeks and months, I began moving up in sizes, 2mm at a time. I wore the taper for one week and then replaced it with the appropriate sized gauge.

My mother was not pleased, but I did not care. People would often ask: ‘Why would you do that to yourself?’ ‘Did it hurt? ‘Won’t you have difficulty finding a job?’ and other questions that I eventually began to ignore altogether or responded with ‘I don’t know’, ‘Yes’ or ‘Not sure’ . Now, however, stretched ears are a common sight almost anywhere. I wanted to achieve individuality, but now everyone seemed to have “huge holes” in their ears.

To this day, I still believe that my stretched ears are a defining part of my individuality and have never had any negative effects on my career. I would never want to work for a corporation that wouldn’t accept me for who I truly was. People often ask me if I have ever regretted stretching my ears. I briefly went through a time period of regret. I even considered getting a reversal procedure, which entails cutting and stitching the holes back together. I finally decided to be happy overall with the choice to stretch my earlobes. If my body is a temple, why not decorate the walls?

Love,

meghan signature