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These are not your typical wings!

22 year old female with no history of self-mutilation or depression. I do not like pain at all but I have several piercings. I currently have 1/2 inch earlobes, a self done cartilidge piercing,6g septum, 10g tongue,16g oral web(scrumper), 14g navel,14g hood, and a 14g triangle. I had 14g nipples and a second navel piercing but I have taken those out due to migration problems. I plan on doing my nipples again in 8g and several more navel piercings as well as others. I do not have any tattoos yet but there will be some in the future. I have never had an interest in scarification until recently. The piercing studio I go to recently hired a new piercer who has had some training in the field of branding and scarification. Some friends of mine have been planning on getting scarred and branded for some time now and I have sat in on their conversations with J.J. about what they want to do. I have always wanted wings but I hate the idea of having something tattooed that so many other people have. I could never go into a tattoo parlor and pick something off a wall to have done on my body. Until the other day, I had never considered having wings cut into my skin. On Monday, August 14, 2000, I went with a friend to Sacred Heart to have some jewelry changed out. While we were there talking to J.J., the topic of cutting came up and somehow the topic of him cutting me came up as well. Again, let me say that I do not like pain. J.J. pulled out a pocket knife and jokingly told me to lay down so he could get started. I promptly did just that and told him to go ahead. He then got serios and asked me what I wanted and I said I did not care as long as it looked good. He told me if I was serious to think about what I wanted and he would do it. My Friend and I had to go and pick someone up so I had plenty of time to have second thoughts. We were back an hour later armed with a sketchbook and tracing paper. I had a few rough sketches drawn out but nothing I really liked. mainly small tribal designs. On the way back to the studio, I thought about having the wings done. I had not mentioned to J.J.that I wanted wings but he was in the process of drwaing a pair for me when we got back. Now, I am not a person who usually looks for "signs" in life but this was too obvious to pass by. Half an hour later, I had what I wanted sketched out. My wings are not the typical angel wings that are so popular. They are somewhat tribal like and very simple in design. I based their design on the drawing of a ki'rin, or chinese unicorn that I had done earlier in the week. If you ever look at a picture of a chinese style dragon or unicorn, they often have delicatly swirling, streamer-like projections coming off their bodies. The drawing of the ki'rin I had done has these "streamers" and they looked kind of like wings to me. After I was happy with the design, J.J. blew it up on the copy machine and fit it to my back. During all the preparation for the cutting, I was very calm. I am never calm before I get pierced so it was vey surprising to me that I was now. I was not "pre-medicated" in any way so there was no way for me to avoid the pain I knew was coming. Sacred Heart does not typically do any other modifications other than piercings or tattoos. Tim Young, the owner and head piercer has done a few small cuttings on friends and J.J. had done one small cutting as well. Even though they had not done a whole lot of this typeof work before, I was confident that they would not kill me or mess up the design. These guys are very good at what they do! Since this was their first major project in the studio, they video taped part of the process and took a lot of still photos. I will send some to BME as soon as possible. Now for the good part. Time to cut. I laid on my stomach after they scrubbed my back and applied the transfer of my design. I was still very calm, almost trancelike. Tim stretched my skin while J.J. instructed me to breathe and did most of the cutting. "Take a deap breath in, slowly let it out" with the cuts made during the exhale.The first cut was on my right shoulder and did not hurt too much. As he continued the desighn down my back, I expexted to get dizzy or euphoric but I stayed lucid through the entire ordeal. The first wing took the longest. after it was done, I asked for a short break to recover myself. Each cut was distincly painful and my back never became numb. I would have been much happier if it did. The second wing went by faster because the strokes were longer and more confident but the pain really sucked. At the top of my back, it was not too bad but the lower down the cuts went, the more painful they were. Blood ran freely and they had to stop periodically to blot it up. I managed to be still through most of the procedure but towards the end when they were workng over my floating ribs, I kicked my feet and made involuntary "porno" noises much to the entertainment of everyone watching. It took about two hours to finish the design. J.J. did most of the cutting and Tim would take over every now and then when he could not stand it anymore or there was a tricky spot to negotiate. I bled for quite a while, I am told that redheads tend to bleed more freely than other people. I liked the bleeding though. There is no way to describe the feeling of your own blood flowing down your skin. It's a shame that I can't get the bleeding without the pain. After I was cleaned up, they took several more photos and bandaged me up. It sounded like I had a diaper taped to my back whenever I moved. When I got home, I took two aspirin and stayed up for several hours beforesleeping very well depite the discomfort in my back. While I never got euphoric during the cutting itself, I had a nice little adrenalin rush afterward. I am still surprised that I did not pass out. When I had my tongue pierced three years ago, I did pass out and it was very embarrassing. That was my first piercing and I have done done that again since then. The worst thing about it so far is having to peel my shirt off my back every so often during the day. If my back is dry, it hurts a lot so whenever possible,I have someone wet my t-shirt down with a spray bottle so I can pull it off more easily. I have been rubbing ashes in it to help it scar better and it is now a nice, angry red color. Last night, J.J. came over to visit and he held me down and poured lemon juice on it which surprisingly, did not hurt at all. Showering for the first time was hell. When the water hit my back I could feel each line burning. Now it does not hurt to shower with it. I control the pain with ibuprofen and I move very carefully. If I am still for a while, any movement of my back causes the scabs to rip open again. Sounds like fun doesn't it? I have to wear two shirts so my mom does not see it because I really don't think she would understand. It is really fun to wear a backless shirt and walk around in public now. So, what made me do this? I think that my wings are very beautiful. I look at body modification as a method of adornment. My piercings are all very pretty to me. I did not do this because I like pain or I wanted to impress someone with how "hard core" or extreme I was. I have wanted wings since I was a small child and I used to make ones out of paper ond tape them to my back when I was little. Body modification to me is no different than plastic surgery. I do it for for aesthetic reasons. I know that many people get modified for spiritual reasons or because the pain is therapeutic but my reasons are completely cosmetic except for the nipple and genital piercings. Those are my favorites! Michelle in Texas

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 28 Aug. 2000
in Scarification

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Artist: J.J.+with+help+from+Tim+Young
Studio: Sacred+Heart+Studio
Location: Houston%2C+Texas

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