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Curious George

I will start out by saying that this experience took place almost 20years ago, before self-mutilation seems to have become all the rage. I am pleased to share my story with others of the similar ilk. I had been out with my drinking buddy one night when I noticed that he had what appeared to be cigarette burns on the back of his hand. When questioned about them, he admitted to administering the burns as some kind of 'punishment.' Being a little shocked and dumbfounded, I let it go at that, but for some strange reason it kept on nagging at me in the back of my mind, that he could have had the balls to have actually done something like that. I was just starting, during those formative teenage years, to ask whether or not I had the "cajones" to do something as crazy as that. One night while sitting in my room, I decided to put on a brave face and put myself to the test. Stoking up a Players cigarette, I put the glowing cherry to the back of my left hand and proceeded to blow against it. There was a slight tingling at first, as the intense and, I have to admit, agonizing pain began to sear my flesh small wisps of smoke began to rise from my hand. After a while (aprox.45-50 secs.) the pain seemed to subside as a numbness took over. I started to feel a little giddy. I began walking around my room wondering what in the hell I had just done to myself. While flailing my hand around in the air, and gnashing my teeth together as a dull throbbing pain took over. I was left with a neat little hole in the back of my hand, about an eighth of an inch deep, quickly turning an angry red color. After a few minutes I figured I was on a roll, so I sat down and thinking I'd show my friend a thing or two about cigarette burns, proceeded to continue on with my little experiment. With each burn into my flesh, I noticed it became easier each time to deal with the pain. I felt a little euphoric by this time, no doubt because of the endorphins kicking in. I continued until I ended up with a total of eight little holes in all. My hand started to swell up a bit at this point and a yellowish liquid started to ooze covering my wounds. During this event and I cannot remember exactly when, as my mind was a little stressed out and as the burning progressed I experienced what I perceived to be, a out-of-body experience. It felt as if I was being pulled out if the top of my head. I felt I could have gone on, but I panicked and snapped myself back into my body, very weird. I wonder if anyone had experienced a similar happening. That was it for me. I had had enough. I actually considered quitting smoking at this point. I put a dab of salve on my wounds, and over the next few days they proceeded to darken to a almost black color, shrink a bit, and developed a tough scab on each burnmark. These remained for about three weeks. It was about a week later that I got a 'hankerin' to do something else to myself. So I went out and borrowed a Dremel tool with a abrasion/sanding bit, and proceeded to literally engrave straight lines along my left forearm,8 in all about 6 inches long. These actually hurt more than the cigarette burns, as the tool ripped into my flesh, digging gouges into my arm. These also went a deep red and oozed that yellow liquid over my wounds. Although this time I did not have an out of body experienced, I did get a strange rush. I also used no treatment for these wounds and they healed up quite naturally.

Being a little ashamed, I at first kept them covered up most of the time. Now some twenty odd years later as I write this letter, I can look down and see the quite prominent rings of scar tissue on my hand, as well as the lines of scar tissue that run down my forearm. Although they have faded over the intervening years, they still make up a cool looking tribal pattern, albeit covered somewhat by tattoos that I have added later on in life. The only problems that I seemed to have had with my scarification is having to make hokey excuses to people who wouldn't understand my sense of empowerment etc. and keeping them covered for job interviews. My girlfriends kinda like them, my parents remain mum on them to this day. Of course my drinking buddy at that time thought they were great, even though he figured he better stop at the two he had on him. The only advice I can give to somebody out there is that what I did to myself came from a inner need. If you decide to do something like this, remember that this is something that means a lifelong commitment and all the bullshit you have to put up with because of it. I also have a interesting footnote to add to this story. all true. About 3 weeks after my little experiments, I was over in North Van. one night hitchhiking for a ride when some young guy in a beemer picked me up and we got talking; he was taking his girlfriend out that night to see Joan Rivers at the G.E. Theater, yadda, yadda, anyways, the guy looks down at my hand and arm and gets really weirded out. I had taken my jacket off when I got in the car, without really thinking about it. He starts asking me about it, and I don't really know how to explain it to him. So I tell him what I figure makes sense; some shit about my girlfriend dumping me, getting depressed over it and deciding to burn and cut myself over it. We drive along and have a pretty good gab about our lives and loves etc., and I'm thinking "this is a pretty cool guy, how can a guy a couple of years older than me afford a car like this?". So I ask him and he tells me he plays lead in a band. Turns out the guys name is 'Bryan Adams'. Thats when I sorta recognized him. so he drops me off and we say goodbye and he really thanks me for the conversation. Not long after, he came out with a hit song titled 'cuts like a knife' which went sailing up the pop charts. hmmm.. I wonder.

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

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Artist: myself
Studio: bedroom
Location: Vancouver%2C+BC%2C+Canada

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