I do massage my ears, and use coconut oil for lube when putting the jewelry back in. The thing is that my lobes have a lot of scar tissue, and I think that's partly they're just taking forever to stretch. Also, I've heard that 8 to 6 is the first stretch that most people have trouble with. I've tried giving them more time, but it's been months and I'm impatient, so I'm going with teflon tape. I read 2 wraps every 3 days, but I hurt one of my ears the other day by trying to force the 6 in, so it's a little sore. So I'm going to wait until it's not sore anymore before I do another 2 wraps. I think I'm just going to have to do it this way from now on, since they don't seem to be stretching on their own anymore.
I'd like to get to .5 or .75 inches eventually, but we'll see what happens. They're still so small right now, it feels like it'll never happen. I have 6, 4, 2, and 0g plain steel plugs waiting for me, and then I'll invest in some actual nice plugs after that. Can't wait to have plugs in that actually look nice and reflect my work, as opposed to these tiny girly-looking ones.
Blah, I feel like such a work in progress. Ever since I cut my hair, I feel like I'm right back to the drawing board. Like I'm not attractive anymore the way I am, and I have so much work ahead of me before I'm acceptable. I just want to hide for the next 6 months. I'm embarrassed of how I look right now. Maybe I should have left my hair alone until the end. Though it is nice not to have to deal with it anymore.