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Cutting at Modern American BodyArts

I have something to share with you, many people wonder why I do certain things.... It ranges everywhere from why did I get a tattoo, what would make me want to pierce my dick, and who in the world would let someone cut into them with a scalpel.... well I first want to clarify the most recent question I was asked....

"It's bad enough that you do all this sick shit to yourself... but why the hell did you write about it and let everyone in the world know about it?"

I pondered that one for a minute... kind of taking offense to it.. when I replied almost with no thought, "I do it because it is me, who I am... and more importantly it is helping me become who I want to be...." I hesitated for a second again and added "I am not letting the whole world know it, only the people on the internet that would care to find it.. and those people are a lot like me... you wouldn't understand, because you have closed your mind to many things for many years..."

So there it sat... words that I meant to say, and words that I didn't.... I shouldn't have added that little attack at the end... but I did, and much to my surprise, that is what got him to understand... he said "Troy, That's what I like about you now... no bullshit, wish I could be more open sometimes..."

For too many years I was like him, not on the inside I was always pretty open minded, but wasn't really showing it to the extent I felt it, I wasn't being honest with myself. I am still pretty normal looking on the outside... but I have grown... these things have helped me... The cutting is the most incredible, and this is what my thoughts are about it... For those of you that got this far.. This is for you, but it is for me just as much... No one single experience has touched my life, mind, spirit and overall being as this has...

I had passing thoughts for maybe 6 years about scarification as an art, as something beautiful, I don't recall if it was when I saw it on a TV special or when I got my Tattoos and they were still raised.... a friend of mine just sat there touching it, feeling it, seeing it with her fingertips as much as her eyes, I loved it...

Fast forward to January 2nd, 1997.... I just had my PA done... and was so comfortable with the whole experience I asked Keith Alexander (Modern American Bodyarts) about scarring. He was as always, willing to talk about it with me, answering every question I had... and many I didn't even realize I had. I don't think I had any question in my mind that It was what I wanted... but this was not a normal Cutting, I wanted this to outline the tribal part of my tat... Textured Tats, the Total Experience.... I was ready and mainly because of Keith, Meeting him, talking to him and having him do the PA... I had no reservations... (this is no easy task as I tend to be very exacting and will look for the slightest reason to call something off if I am not totally comfortable)...

Once again, Keith and I talked about it through e-mail, I talked about it to a few of my friends as well..... Keith had subtly put the question in my mind as to why I am doing this... whether or not he even realized he got me thinking about it so much, he did, and I am glad. As I ended up having an epiphany, I was in my car alone in the rain, driving home from NYC and it just hit me... I can't totally explain this but when I was around 5, I nearly got killed in a car accident, I went through the windshield and landed on my face about 30 feet away... needless to say, I am thankful for being alive, nevermind able to function as well as anyone else.. the only thing that really happened to me is that I am left with a slight scar on my chest near my shoulder, which I for years thought about covering with a tattoo, and a pretty good scar on my forehead.. while It never really disturbed me, I did have the moments in my life when I would say to myself "I'm really not like everyone else... ", this isn't so bad at all, because I wouldn't want to be, but I think that is more in the personal being sense.... Anyhow... you probably don't have as much time to read this, as I have to write it, so I will move on.... I realized that having you do the cutting on my arms is somewhat of a symbol of acceptance to the one thing in my life I always thought was a terrible thing, I took one step towards that direction when I shaved my head not to long ago.. surely on a whim... but I knew why, but oddly enough didn't relate it to this... A scar is not something to fear or regret, I want to have some that I chose to have, as a lasting sign of my acceptance of those I didn't.....

The night was terrific.. there were 5 of us there.... Melissa, the photographer whom I had never met before Jay, whom I converse with by E-mail but otherwise hadn't met Kelly, a friends sister that I really didn't know well, but wanted to, possibly real well.... Keith, We had met only the day I got the PA... though spoke extensively through the I-net

Basically all involved were relative strangers at the beginning of the night, all of whom would become part of me in some way a mere two hours later....

I arrived with Kelly a bit late (OK so I got lost, I was after all on a slightly different plane than that of the rest of the world....) We all introduced ourselves, and right off the bat Jay and Kelly both explained that they would be spectating from a far, with the possibility of of maybe hitting a coffee shop once the blood runs, I found that understandable, I thought I might not want to be there once it starts too... As it turns out each of them started inching closer and closer as it went on... The looks they had, the interest that they showed gave me an amazing amount of help through the cutting...

Keith asked if I was comfortable, in just about every way imaginable, mentally, temperature, what music I would like... I had made a tape of songs that meant certain things to me, and some pertaining to scars and pain... but as it turns out we listened to Sting's Mercury Falling... one of my favorite CD's at the time.. one that had two songs that really were symbolic to me about what my life is about and where I am in it.... at one point when in fact Keith appeared to be totally concentrating on the cutting and seemingly no other things, he looked up and commented on the one particular line on the whole CD that meant the most to me....

"The Wounds she gave me Were the wounds that would heal me..."

I didn't even know he was listening, and yet be picked up on the two most poignant lines on the album... at that moment everything seemed perfect... there was no question in my mind I had made the right choice about the cutting, when, where, with who, and most importantly BY WHO.....

So I assume you are asking about the experience itself.. the pain factor... the sensation... well it's quite varied... initially it is terrifying, though I tend not to show my anxiety as much as some people do... I feel that everything in life is mind over matter, and were I to appear nervous I think Jay and Kelly would have been less inclined to watch, and that would have most likely have made me apprehensive... emotions are very powerful and I do tend to feed off of others... so I hid it for a bit, maybe even from myself... the only moment it really got to me was when Keith had the scalpel floating over my skin, reality set in... yet unlike a piercing where you know it will be over in a split second.. I knew that what was about to start would be continuous for quite a while... I envisioned the pain of a piercing lasting for the time frame of a tattoo... the scalpel hovered there as did my breath... maybe a second went by and just as it was about to open my flesh, he pulled it back and asked if I wanted the cut on the tattoo itself or next to the ink...

I was ready, and now I had to prepare again... but unlike the first time I tried to fuck, I didn't have fifteen minutes to get ready again... that scapel would be back in a second, and the adrenaline flowed double now... my fingertips tingled... my mind went into slow motion and my eyes didn't leave that little glimmer of light reflecting off of the sharpened edge.... with the subtlest of movements Keith split open my skin and the pain was slight but very very intense in another way... my whole mind and being was focused on that tiny cut... I have had splinters that hurt more, yet I never felt anything so intense as I was unaware of any other part of my body at that moment...

Kelly commented on how I kept smiling so much... which I could feel... Keith says that "when he does a cutting, he is exposing your blood and that's probably one of the most intimate things short of having sex that you can do." I really couldn't relate to that thought before this... but it is true... actually, I have had LESS intimate sexual encounters..

I really felt as though part of who he is, entered into who I am... as well as Melissa, Jay and Kelly.... Spirituality was never a word I used before this year... but I am realizing my own definition... I could almost feel their feelings enter into me through the cutting, as the blood (quite beautiful I must add, not only in color but in todays culture with disease abound, it has become so taboo... yet the sheer beauty of it, to me the symbol of life, of everything that I am.... some see blood as only pain, death, gore... as with most things in life that are worthwhile, you should RESPECT it, not FEAR it....) would exit....

Sure some of it hurt, but in relation to what I was getting out of it, it was nothing....

Keith was joking about how fast I was healing, as this one particular cut ( these are all short cuts of maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch....) at the top of my shoulder seemingly was healing in seconds... X-files style... but this really was somewhat true... as an hour later at a diner I took the bandage off expecting to see a blood soaked bandage and there was nearly nothing... you could make out the design of the cutting.. but not much more than that... Kelly and I were amazed....

The procedure itself was amazing, in every way... very powerful for me... only slightly more painful than my tats... though EXTREMELY much more meaningful... My only let down was that I wasn't able to experience it from a 3rd person point of view... of course this isn't possible.. and wouldn't be the same if I were to have recorded it on video... but I would still love to know what it was like to watch it... having been through it myself, I can never see it with total objectivity like Jay and Kelly... but this is a minor price to pay...

I am sorry if I didn't explain enough about the technique, or physical feelings... but I just went with my thought pattern...

Keith pressed a paper towel on my arm to get a blood print which I still have, and was VERY glad he thought of.... which brings up a great point about his attention to detail... about 30 minutes after he did the print and I was leaving, we were all talking about random things and I put it down on the glass counter, Keith swooped it up, laid it down on my jacket and within seconds was sterilizing the counter top never missing a beat with the conversation... none of us would have ever even thought twice about my putting it on the counter... but Keith is acutely aware of anything that could lead to contamination or other health concerns.... As a matter of fact when I told Kelly about how impressed I was again by him doing that, she said that she didn't even notice... but added that she was indeed impressed with his prevention techniques (Ps. she has been pierced many many times and has a very broad base of comparison).... Keith's attention to detail is greater than most of the medical professionals I have been to in my life....

Oh, might I add this... when he was done with the cutting, he picked up a spray bottle which had been in front of me for the previous hour, and said here is the painful part... well let it be known that the bottle that I had previously thought contained water (maybe for spraying on my face should I get a bit "uncomfortable" during the cutting) actually was alcohol... and it was time to spray it on the cutting, and in fact RUB IT INTO IT.... well, I have to admit, I did react to this .... sort of in the same way someone would react to drinking straight vodka out of a glass they thought was water... yes this hurt... yes this felt oddly good...

Oh my.... I almost left out one of the most amazing things.... not only is this visual, spiritual, and obviously VERY much a pressure, pain and touch sensitive ritual... I have to add that you can indeed HEAR it cutting... somewhat like a zipper... it is faint, and for a few minutes I didn't even realize that anyone else could hear it.. as my ear was only inches away from the cut... but it could be heard by everyone else and some were as far as 10 feet away.... I truly felt as though I have never before been so involved with all of my senses at the same time before...

I know I am jumping around a little here, but again I am just following my train of thought, I could very well go back and edit this all... but I want it totally from my feelings and nothing else...

The aftercare of this was a bitch.... I tried the apricot scrub and really went crazy on it the following day, but with hardly any reopening (though once again I really loved the way the blood looked as it mixed with the water, in my mind it was symbolic of what is life to Me (my blood) and what is life to every living form of nature (water).... I felt a very basic connection with the world and what is in it, something I wasn't even looking for before I got the cutting, yet something that I realize that I personally needed....)

I ended up trying a few things, loofa, a nail brush (this works quite well) and even a pot scrubber... this hurt like hell but didn't really do what I needed....

I healed too well.. the scars didn't take like I had hoped.. but I got so much more out of it than I could have ever imagined... I can and will try again for the scars... Keith has already told me we can do it again... I was tentative on telling him that they didn't take well, because I almost felt as though I let him down... but this is not an exact science... which is much of it's beauty... When I do this again, it likely won't have the same dramatic mental impact that it had on me this time... maybe it will... I won't know till then, but I do know that scars are not something to be ashamed of or regret... they can be beautiful if you let them be.. and I really do want my cutting to take, and for me to have forever the symbol of the things that I have gotten out of that night.... and out of my life...

Melissa, hehehe well she will forever be in my mind, as we were talking about how I would have to agitate the cutting later on... with the innocence of a child but the apparent sadism of an inquisitor, she so lovingly suggested that I rub rock salt into it, looking oh so surprised when the 4 of us cringed at the thought... ESPECIALLY I...... she was genuinely suggesting it... because "it would really irritate it "..... Imagine that.... hell that's on par with the recurring dream about sliding down a banister which turns into a razorblade and ends by dropping you in a pool of alcohol.... Wonderful girl... though I would hesitate to hang around her with an open wound if she has access to salt (or lemon, or tomato's etc. etc.)

Jay, well he has become one of my good friends... though we still only talk through E-mail though we will probably get together time to time... he wrote in post about his frenum experience how he would walk by the shop and never actually go in and get it done, until he told others about it and couldn't back out... and I wonder if that may have been why I was so happy to have 3 other people there... 8^)

Kelly... to be honest with you all... she is the only person that I know that truly understands the reasons why I did this, she hasn't taken any steps beyond piercing, but is very receptive to why, and very open to others thoughts... It was the first time we spent time alone together... and we became very very close that night and since...

I would like to thank them all... none more so than Keith...

As we parted, I was unsure of just how to express just how much the cutting had meant to me, I was in a state of Euphoria, and wasn't quite sure what my facial expression was, I was totally happy on the inside and if he could see extent of that, then maybe he would understand.. but I wasn't sure about what I was showing.. and there was a distinct loss of words with enough strength to relay my feelings.... so I tried as best I could... Thanking him again.. and shaking his hand... Keith went and hugged me, the same way that only possibly my favorite uncle and my godfather hug me... it felt as though something was shared between us that he understood better than I did... I felt as though I had a friend for as long as we both lived... and maybe in a way because of what exactly was done, I realized that I had a friend that would in many ways last BEYOND both of our lives.... if not in any after life there may or may not be... but in that for the rest of my life I carry with me the good spirits he gave to me, as well as he hopefully will carry mine should I leave this world before him....

Troy Bongi22@Bigfoot.com

"Every drop of blood can be so beautiful. And I sure was bleedin' the drops by the bucketful.

I have the strength to endure and all the love so pure I have the strength to endure because.....because..."

Dee Dee Ramone & Danial Rey 1992 ..... Strength to Endure

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 Jan. 1997
in Scarification

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Artist: Keith Alexander
Studio: Modern American BodyArts
Location: +

Comments (2)

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Ms_TB_Dee
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @8:32 p.m.
very interesting
Ms_TB_Dee
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @9:11 p.m.
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