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OUCH, OUCH, OUCH....Dec 2nd 2000

I've never really been one for pain, especially self-inflicted pain (unless as a stupid drunken dare), so the thought of deliberately and soberly cutting my flesh with a scalpel for no other apparent reason (to my viewing public at least) other than vanity, filled me with intense trepidation and a warm feeling of social and personal autonomy. I was stepping over the line, the line of what has become socially acceptable 'body modifications'. Scarification is just as old as piercing and tattooing but somehow the desire to cut yourself, to slice through your own skin and flesh seems to be connected, and consequently confused with mental instability and illness. People appear ready to accept pushing needles through every part of your body and sticking numerous varieties of jewellery in the resultant space. Or having someone use motorised needles to push ink deeply and permanently through your epidermis to make a picture, but they fail to comprehend the psychological intricacies of scarification. Why is that? (that's a different track so I'll just keep to my experience for the moment and you can email me for my deeper thoughts if you fancy some chat). I was scared of what I was about to do. Yes I was scared of the pain but I was also intrigued as to where it might lead. Where will my mods take me? Down which road will they guide me, in turn, meeting what sorts of people I wonder? Currently being in a career where appearance matters (a teacher of English as a foreign language) affects my aesthetics. I have to find an acceptable middle ground between modification and employment.....for the moment anyway. Back to my cutting...I prepared my area in front of the camera. I wanted this to be recorded in words and pictures. You never do your first self-scarring ever again (you never do your first anything ever again I suppose but you get the drift), and as it was a deliberate decision borne primarily out of curiosity I wanted to make sure I did it slowly and maturely, just right for me. I was nervous I must admit. I wanted something that was always visible (unlike my 6 tattoos and many piercings) but also subtle enough to be missed or easily 'glossed over' as an apparent accident; my kids think a cat scratched me! I decided to mark my left hand between my thumb and index finger with 4 small lines, decreasing in size and running symmetrically on the edge of my hand web (PHOTOS HAVE BEEN POSTED IN THE SCARIFICATION GALLERY IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A LOOK: http://www.bme.freeq.com/scar/mcut1.html ). I considered carefully how to cut; a long, deep, single cut or short, sharp 'nicks'? The least painful and most advised method seemed to be short and sharp. I began to attack my hand; I say attack because I was not defending or helping my hand in a physiological way but wilfully causing it pain and distress, making it bleed. I will subsequently be adding to the discomfort by sabotaging the healing process with a toothbrush in order to build bigger and better scar tissue. I think my cowardice lulled me into a false sense of security. I tentatively 'nicked' my skin with the first couple of movements, which left me completely unprepared for the hot, painful shock I received when I actually pulled the scalpel through my flesh for the first time! OUCH. With blood slowly running down my hand and after stamping my foot on the floor for a few seconds, I soldiered on, knowing that any hesitation would result in me 'wimping out' and in that, there ran a very real risk that I would cease causing this 'damage' to my poor, undeserving hand and therefore be left with no scars and back where I started. All in all the whole slicing process took about 20 minutes. I won't lie, it f**kin' hurt. Acute pain is my body's way of saying "please stop what you're doing". I hope one day to be able to work more in harmony with my body so the pain doesn't surface so quickly. I want to control it but that comes only with dedication and practice....a bit like my mods. And I'm very pleased with the results. Maybe I have a career change heading my way...?! As with my piercings and tattoos, this will certainly not be the last scar I get...now, where did I put that branding iron?! Post cutting: I scrubbed the cuts daily, in the shower with an old toothbrush and some soap for one week. Yes, that hurt too but it was interesting to experience that kind of pain. It goes against all your natural instincts to stop your body healing. They've been closed and purple for about 6 weeks now and I think I got them to just the right thickness I wanted for them to stay visible whenever they decide to turn white. Lucky boy that I am. fergstarboy

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 10 Jan. 2001
in Scarification

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Artist: me
Studio: my+house
Location: South+Korea

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