For some of us, it takes a lot of lot of work in order to feel comfortable in our own bodies. Clearly I am such a person. By the time high school was done, I had both my ears pierced and the cartilage in my left ear pierced. Shortly after college started, I got this bad ass eyebrow piercing and I learned you can stretch out existing piercings my putting large gauge rings through them. I found it to be fascinating and wanted to try but was pretty much repulsed by anything larger than a half inch. I got my cartilage infected so I took it out and still tried to re-pierce it two more times before giving up on it. My eyebrow ring migrated quite a bit leaving scars along the way and due to my piss poor diet and such it also got infected and had to be taken out. So I stretched my two remaining piercings. I jumped several gagues at first in which the piercer takes a metal spacer and runs it though the hole forcing it open wider. Those times really hurt and I went to plugs around ten gauge and accidentally ripped one out in my sleep the night I got it done. I felt it come out and then the flow of blood. In knowing the hole will close up very quickly without action, I jumped out of bed and shoved the plug through the closing hole causing blood to spray out across the side of my neck.
At that point I would no longer jump a few gauges. After a while with the weight in your ear lobes your lobes would naturally stretch out. Once they started to loosen up, I would go up another gauge. There is not much to compare to the feeling of your ear lobes stretching out by going up to the very next gauge. I would sit in the car afterwards and my eyes would roll to the back of my head and I would just bask.
I got up to 00 which is nearly a quarter inch. I could put pens through my ears which is somehow even less useful than it sounds. I only liked solid plugs which were usually stainless steal and a lot heaver than hollow plugs. Flesh tunnels is what hollow plugs are and the name alone turned me off. I tried wearing them one time and just couldn't do it.
Near the end, my earlobes were loose from having 00 gauges in them for about three years and I bought a lot of light 00s in order to not have to go up a size further. My interest in keeping them around was waning and I finally gave up the ghost.
For those not in the know, stretched earlobes need a lot of cleaning. Daily cleaning of the plugs and the holes or they smell like cheese. If bad enough, you will smell cheese whenever you turn your head. The buildup on the plugs was just nasty any time. And by then I had a pretty good amount of tattoos which only took two weeks to heal up and then they are good for the rest of your life, so from a maintenance standpoint tattoos were looking much better.
And finally, I was a best man in a wedding for a friend out in Ohio. The suit was pretty badass. The spiked hair was kind of dumb and I had sticky hands all night since the sink didn't have running water. But the shocking thing to me was that they wanted my to wear plugs for this thing. My lobes were a lot smaller so I couldn't take the plugs without doing damage to my ears, so they handed me a set of claws that were still a little too big. I have no idea why it was imperative I wear earrings that night but it was the last time. The holes will never close up all the way but somehow I feel they build character. They are scars that are part of my journey to being happy with myself. Oddly enough I still have most of my rings in a drawer that I rarely ever think about. I'll likely carry those around for years before I throw them out.