When I was coming up, it was all the rage to pierce your ears in multiple places—the higher the potential risk for infection, the better. Multiple holes in your cartilage was not only standard; it was expected. I knew guys who wore safety pins in their ears, whether they'd been professionally pierced or not. I had a friend who let her high school boyfriend pierce her nipple with a safety pin too. What any of this accomplished, I cannot say.
I've often opted for an alternative route from that of my peers, so while I did briefly have three holes total between my two earlobes, I'm now content with one in each ear. Many of my female role models do not have pierced ears, both of my grandmothers and my partner's mother among them. My mama-in-law has style. She wears beautiful scarves, one large ring in addition to her wedding band, square spectacles, and has shocking white hair cropped very short. On her ears are the inevitable but classy clips. She's gotten through sixty-odd years of life without holes punched in her lobes, proving that it's easy to have style without self-mutilation. I work with what I have: piercings that have been in place since I was six.
HappyDayDesigns is a tiny Etsy shop based in Helsinki. Run by a woman named Elina, she describes her own creation, the Wings Earrings I'm currently wearing as "gorgeous white marble beads with antique brass and antique bronze findings." Indeed, her own words are apt compliment. These dainty earrings, antique brass wings with small marble adornment, drew compliments the moment I entered my office. Roughly six to seven centimeters long, the earrings dangle four centimeters from my earlobe. I have rather small ears—you might say average, though I'd argue the slightly offensive term assumes others without my dimensions would be abnormal.
Elina is a visual artist who is currently works from home while simultaneously caring for her triplet boys. In addition to earrings, she makes dainty necklaces and sturdy bracelets in earthy tones and accepts custom orders. Some folks say it isn't possible to do it all, but Elina's lovely jewelry shows that balance between life and art is definitely possible.