It's been eight years since I found BME and Modblog.
I was about thirteen or fourteen and I don't remember what exactly lead me here. I remember that the computer was connected to a dial-up modem and the carpet was a blue and brown pattern that seemed perpetually stained even though it wasn't.
I remember that I read all the posts on ModBlog as far back as they went, letting the internet connection chug through loading all the pictures like a snail that was feeling a bit under the weather.
I saw so many tattoos and piercings that I thought were lovely, but I didn't know if I wanted them for myself. There were so many different styles, so many choices, and I felt it was just too big a commitment to pick ONE of them. What if those piercings that looked so good on someone else just didn't work for me ?
I never stopped going to ModBlog or thinking about it, and I had become comfortable with the idea that body modification was something I appreciated, but was probably not for myself.
I remember reading about all these new and exciting things, ink being injected into eyes, microdermals just starting to become popular. I saw beautiful tattoos that looked like paintings or photographs, that I would never have thought were possible, and I was equally drawn to the unusual abstract work that I saw from time to time.
BME wasn't my only inlet into the world of body modification, but was certainly the most educational and unbiased. Before BME, I hadn't seen much other than what my peers were bringing to school. Older students sometimes got quality tattoos, but by and large other students were doing things to themselves. If all I had ever seen was a bunch of safety-pinned navels, I never would have loved body modification.
I'm glad that BME taught me about piercing safety and why you shouldn't just stick anything through your skin. I was never tempted to follow the path of so many infected belly-buttons, ears, and pins through tongues. And to think, our school was more concerned about short-shorts and students having phones when so many were risking their health and lives out of impatience and ignorance.
I had ideas along the way, and like so many others, I'm glad they never manifested. I was so enthusiastic, but at 14 I didn't have the drawing skill to design a good tattoo myself, even if I had wanted to.
Over the years, I grew as a person and as an artist, but still I wasn't ready to take the jump myself. I had drawn tattoo art for others, and seeing the work actually done was gratifying but a little unnerving that someone had something I designed stuck under their skin, when I was myself afraid to have the same thing done.
And of course there were the stories about people getting very personal and meaningful tattoos, and that idea that every tattoo should be connected to a meaningful event - a death, a birth, something spiritual. What if I just wanted something I liked to look at ? From so many sources, I was being sent the idea that this was a bad idea and I would forever regret it if the tattoo didn't hold a deep significance to me. I was too young at the time to realise that I shouldn't let other people's opinions or their own way of doing things determine what I did to MY body. What works for one person might not work for another, and that's okay.
The accepting climate of BME is wonderful. I remember seeing a genderqueer person's top sugery on BME, I remember seeing nullification and amputation. I'm glad that BME exposed me to so many different and sometimes extreme things. I've seen things that I don't understand, but I know they make sense to someone else. Reading these interviews and personal stories has been invaluable. I only wish that other people, those people that leave nasty comments on other sites, could have that experience. That those people could understand that not everyone is like them, that's there's no need to be afraid because someone is different or subscribes to a different aesthetic.
I've seen people that I was introduced to on BME mocked on other sites for being "ugly" or "scary", sometimes years after I saw the picture here first. It's always jarring and troubling. I've seen such comments here, but never to that degree and without a people acting as "voices of reason". It's disgusting and disturbs me far more than any mod ever could. It's hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that BME is a "safe place", because it still hurts to think that so many other places aren't.
It's eight years later, that I've found my own reasons. My many reasons that have been spontaneous and aesthetic to uncomfortably meaningful. I'm writing this because I've never really interacted on BME, I've just lurked and watched and never commented, and I wanted to say thank you, because BME has given me so many things over the years, being with me as I grew up.
submitted by: ChirrCollector
on: 15 Aug. 2011
in BME Culture