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Amateur Scarification

when i was in high school i was your typical black-wearing, spike-toting, white-faced, bad-poerty-writing, angst filled teenager. it was a bad scene, though i didn't know that at the time; i was far too busy bitter for no good reason. my partners in teenage misery were two young ladies; both of whom took the black and the spikes much more seriously than i did. and they were disturbed. much more so than i, anyway. one was the artist, the other; the poet. they were more beautiful, more popular (among our sick twisted little group of "friends") and they were also doing more damage to themselves. one starved herself, the other sat in the hallways in between classes with an x-acto knife blade, carelessly hacking at her arm. she used notebook paper to blot her wounds before returning to class. no one said anything. i can't remember the first time i took a blade to my own skin, but i know i wanted to try just for the experience. i wondered if i could draw my own blood, cause myself pain. so did. while trying to stop my friends from cutting themselves and behaving like the neurotic mother figure in public, at home in the evenings (and eventually during lunch breaks at school) i took up a razor myself. i felt so free. there was so much in my life i couldn't control, so much frustration and drama and, yeah, a little pain. but this was all mine. it wasn't healthy or productive, but i could rationalize it - somehow. as the years rolled on, i cut less and less and when i did, i made a point to carve visually pleasing designs. usually i'd cut deep enough to have a scar for a few months and then they'd disappear and i'd be "clean" again. a few weeks ago i started thinking about my trusty razor blades again. i am waiting for a few piercings to heal before i get stabbed again and do not feel ready for a new tattoo. i like how scars can be more discrete than tattoos (for lack of pigment)... also, scars are forever. forever. you can take a piercing out with minimal residual effect and tattoos, i am told CAN be removed or covered or changed. but once you have a scar, as far as i know, that's pretty much it. so little in my life is concrete right now. i felt like i needed something that was forever. forever. so i took up an old habit: the rubbing alcohol, the x-acto blades, the gauze, the non-soap cleanser (god i love that stuff). it felt a little strange cutting myself while in a more well adjusted state. i am by no means "happy" - i don't imagine i'd be a very interesting person at all if i were - but this cutting session was done without tears, which was new. now, x-acto blades are much thicker than normal razor blades. they are super-precise, but, rather than almost painlessly gliding through skin as some other blades do, these drag and snag and progress is done more my abrasion than cutting. i started out using a 8-inch boning knife, it being the sharpest item in my apartment at the time i wanted to start cutting. the blade was great but cumbersome to use and a little creepy with a big ol' knife up to my chest. i am sure there is a much better tool for these purposes and if anyone reading this wants to tell me the right way to cut (especially how to cut so my scars last - as it is they fade after a few months) please email... anyway, i decided to re-trace an old site from my demented psycho-teenager days: an asterix-style star centered in between my breasts. while i am still figuring out how to do this, i thought straight lines might make things easier. my plan of attack, simply for lack of a better one, is trace and re-trace, hopefully to make up for my inability to cut as deep as i probably should. the process has been more an emotional journey. on one hand, i love the way my teeny little scar looks (and i think it will look even better with pierced nipples!) and trust that if i ever achieve forever with, i'll continue enjoying it for a long time. but on the other - well, my poor mother says she is physically nauseated by my conch and rook piercings. she cried when she accidentally saw my thrice pierced navel and i don't want to imagine her reaction should she ever catch a glimpse of my tattoo. mostly i think she is upset about the social stigmas involved in, putting it in her words, "these sorts of behaviors." even people who are down with tattooing, i have noticed, can be uneasy with scarification, especially when it is self-done. letting your own blood is a powerful act, for whatever reason you choose - or don't choose - to do it. it's a little unsettling to me when i stop and think about it. is it art, or am i still just finding an excuse to hurt myself? well, that's about it. i like my scar, but it scares me. but i like it. i'd like to have a real artist do a cutting someday but i hear it is illegal in some states and i don't imagine there are a whole lot of yellow page ads to the effect of "you pay me, i cut you." the world's (or MY world anyway) just not ready.... but i'm ready. and, like i said, if anyone has any helpful hints or words of wisdom, i'd really appreciate either.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 30 July 2001
in Scarification

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Artist: Me
Studio: my+bathroom%2C+my+living+room%2C+my+kitchen
Location: my+apartment

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