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Cutting at M.A.B.

I've been thinking about getting a scarification for quite some time, but life being what it is, things never seemed to gel. At long last, late this August everything seemed to come together - a driving force, an artistic inspiration, and an artist -Keith Alexander of Modern American BodyArts in NYC.

The reasoning behind my desire for the cutting, besides aesthetics, was the fact that I self-injure. Or rather, am a recovering self-injurer. This summer, I reached a point when I realized that this was no longer an effective coping mechanism, and that I needed to stop somehow. After hours of thought, I came to the realization that part of the comfort I received from cutting came from the rituals that I had designed around it. I began to wonder if forcing a change in those rituals would help, especially if there was something tangible that remained afterwards. I began to think of way to do this, and in my mind, the best solution was to have a cutting with someone else holding the blade.

Of course, the next problem was conveying my reasoning to the people that I discussed my ideas with. I was very nervous about people having a gut reaction of "You're just doing this to rationalize your self injury - as another form of mutilation", when in fact, this was definitely not the case. None of my modifications - which up to this point were limited to piercings - have been done in any spirit of mutilation. I've yet to go into a pierce in the same spirit that I would go into a cutting session. It's always been a positive experience, something I've been excited about, and looked forward too, and cutting was always something that came out of anger, depression and frustration. I felt that a scarification might help me to change my association with cutting, as well as leaving me with a mark, a permanent reminder.

I talked with some trusted friends, just to further solidify my ideas, and get a sense of how the public would react. On the whole, they were quite positive - with the majority stating that though it wasn't for them , that if I felt strongly about it, I should go for it. So I did.

I began emailing Keith around Labor Day (I live outside of Philadelphia, and the shop is about an hour and half plus subway time from my home). After a few weeks, I made an appointment to discuss the art that I had designed.

The date arrived. I had been forced to schedule a doctor's appointment for that morning the week before, and I was worried about that, as well as the fact that it was putting a strain on my time schedule. The morning appointment went well, except for the unexpected requirement of an EKG, further stressing my time. (although the reaction of the nurse to my pierced nipples was rather amusing)

Well, all was well. After lunch with my father, I hopped on a train and headed towards NYC. Both the train and subway rides were uneventful, although I was running late.

I arrive at the shop an hour late. After introducing myself, and apologizing, we start to discuss my design - a simplification of the DNA double helix. I chose this design for a few reasons. One is the fact that DNA is the basis of life, and this was a beginning of a new phase in my life The other main one is aesthetics.

After a few moments, he states that he can do the cutting then. Well, I was short my camera, and my partners in crime, who wanted to be there for the big occasion, but NYC is a hike for me, and time off from work is a precious commodity, so I jumped on the chance.

He starts to set up, and I start to bring my stress level down from the top floor, which was remarkably easy...After the initial stages, he freehanded the design on my back, and with my ready, we started the scarification.

I must say, it was one of the oddest sensations. It hardly hurt at all, but I could feel the blade moving across/through my skin. Still haven't found the words to describe it properly.

It went quickly...more so than I expected. Mopped up, bloodprints made, and bandaged. Much to my surprise, I wasn't lightheaded, just pleasantly buzzed, and no longer stressed. We chatted for a while, but I had to catch my train in order to retrieve my car from the parking lot....I've been elated since then...

Well, since then, things have healed completely, and I'm not entirely happy with the degree of scarring, so I plan to go back sometime after the holidays to get it touched up. Rather ironic, though - 9 years of cutting, and most of those scarred despite repeated efforts to prevent that, yet the one thing I want to, and indeed worked to scar refused to...hopefully, it will be more visible after the touch-up.

I haven't cut since August, when I made up my mind to do this, which is a GoodThing. I plan to keep it that way. I should have pictures as well, after I get it recut.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 Jan. 1999
in Scarification

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