Getting her ears pierced sparked an obsession for Amber.
W￼rithing on the table, I screamed in agony. I could barely hear the buzz of the tattoo gun over my chattering teeth.
The needle pierced my jawline, creating the final touches on my one of a kind piece. Lifting my neck, I stared at the final product.
The pain was worth it, I thought, admiring the pattern. This wasn’t the first time I’d gone under the needle – in fact it was my 30th tatt!
My love for body art started when I was nine. Having my ears pierced unleashed my passion for body modification.
Then, as the needle drove through my nose at 13, I felt a rush of happiness. Wow, I thought, as I spun the stud.
I got my first ink at 16. Lifting up my top to expose my ribs, I decided I wanted a quote scrawled across my skin. You can’t keep knocking me down, I’ll get back up, it read.
The needle jabbing felt like I was being stabbed. After biting my tongue through the pain, I took a peek. ‘I love it!’ I cried.
Surprisingly, my mum Vikki, 55, was supportive of my first tattoo and embraced my love for body art.
I went under the gun and inked my arms, calves, chest, ribs, face and armpits. Covered with beautiful mandalas and floral patterns, every piece was more stunning than the last. Perfect, I thought, spinning around in front of the mirror.
Researching body modification online, I was in awe of the amazing creations.
‘Aren’t they incredible,’ I said to Mum, showing her jet-black tattooed eyeballs. ‘Whoa!’ she said, stunned. ‘I think this is on my to-do list,’ I told her.
While tattooing eyes might seem extreme to some, I loved the idea. Finding a body modification expert, I booked an appointment. ‘You have stunning golden eyes,’ he said.
Convincing me bright blue ink would suit my iris better, I went under the needle. With no anaesthetic it was a two-man job. As I lay in the chair, my eyelid was peeled back and held in place while the ink was prepared.
‘Do not move,’ he said.
Well aware that if the needle pierced me incorrectly I could lose my sight, I froze. Watching the needle race towards my eye, I held my breath. When the needle penetrated my eyeball, I felt an extreme burning sensation – the pain was indescribable.
As they injected my eyes four times, I desperately tried not to blink. After 40 minutes the procedure was done. Blinking my eyes furiously, I desperately tried to see, but was faced with darkness.
The tattooist explained it was a normal side effect and I was on bed rest until they healed.
Touching my way around my home, I pulled my curtains shut and slept.
For the next week I couldn’t see and was in a lot of pain. Was this worth it? I wondered, on bad days.
But then, blurry vision returned to my left eye. As I stared in the mirror, blue tears streamed down my cheeks. ‘I’m crying blue,’ I giggled. Peering into my right eye, it looked like blueberry jelly!
Still unable to see out of my right eye, I sealed it with a patch and applied saline drops every 10 minutes. Excess blue ink continued to leak out of my eyes like bright blue tears, but two weeks later it stopped and I peeled off the patch.
My vision had returned. Looking in the mirror, my stunning blue eyes stared back.
Nicknamed the blue-eyed white dragon, this was just the beginning.
Embracing my new name, five months later I decided to get my tongue split in two. It was sliced in half and neatly stitched up on either side.
For eight weeks I lived off mash potato and slushies and wiggled my two tongues independently to prevent it from healing as a whole. ‘It looks really cool,’ said my ever-supportive mum.
Four months later, I went under the knife again, aiming for the perfect pointed ears. After a large chunk of my ear was removed, I waited for it to heal before implants were inserted. Designed in Italy, the implants created the dainty point I’d dreamt about.
Now healed, people stop me in the street but mostly I receive compliments. I even get asked for photographs. ‘It’s not every day you see a blue-eyed white dragon,’ I joke.
So far I’ve spent $10,000 but I’m definitely not complete.
Working as a body piercer means I’m always surrounded by people with weird and wonderful ideas. I have a few things in mind and am currently looking into how to get vampire teeth. After all, what’s a dragon without sharp teeth?
I know some people are confronted by my body art but I love being unique.
I’m still Amber, just with a little bit of dragon!
Read more in this week's issue of that's life!