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Cut my heart out, please!

They don't call it "heartbreak" for nothing. It wasn't really about the boy...I've fallen "in love" with too many too often. What hurt was the realization that I am fallible...that I could believe the incredible hype that my hormones were selling and fall for something that was doomed from the beginning. Could I ever trust myself again? If I fell in love, would I forever wonder and wait for the axe to drop? My heart really hurt. Sometimes a sharp pain like a knife, sometimes a dull pressure like someone was stepping on my chest, squeezing out all my breath. I needed to do something. Since I had no control over my love life, I felt that I needed to create a permanant reminder of the situiaton, leave the pain there and move on. I am heavily tattooed, many of them little reminders of heartbreaks past...no names or anything, but I know who they all remind me of. No, I needed something else I had not consciously experienced before. A new kind of pain and mark to remember that specific realization. Cutting seemed to be the correct medium...the symbolism, the bleeding...and I knew someone who does beautiful, delicate work. The position was an obvious choice. Where else but over my heart? Actually, I wanted it centered on my lower sternum (a rather private spot) beneath an existing tattoo between my breasts. That was where the pain was. Also too, I have some beautiful scars from breast reduction surgery, and I thought they would go well together. The tattoo on my breasts is a carbon atom. I am rather interested in science and alchemy, and it occured to me that through a process of heat and pressure, carbon (the basis of all life here) is transformed into the diamond. Isn't that rather like the very process my "heart" was undergoing? Therefore, the design for the cutting became diamonds inside and eminateing from the crucible of the heart. It is always very exciting to me when I discover a simple symbol that has such power in my mind. I knew that it must be the one. I made arrangements with the artist for a day that was numerically significant to me. That morning, I woke up and began preparing myself with a literal and symbolic cleansing. I shaved my entire body and head (except the eyelashes)and exfoliated my skin in order to rid myself of all dead attachments. (If I couldn't wash that man out of my hair, I'd shave him out) I had to work that day, but I tried to keep a still mind and steady hand. I was really nervous...I still get nervous every time I get tattooed or pierced, even after a hundred hours under the needles. Fortunately I am close friends with the artist and he has an excellent bedside manner. We applied a tattoo style stencil and I laid down. My heart was beating madly as he fit the blade onto the scalpel handle. I was wondering if this was going to be my first experience passing out or getting dizzy. But as soon as he started cutting, I was relieved that it didn't seem even as bad as a tattoo. I think because there is no percussive motion and he used short, sketchy strokes. It felt much like there was a hair or a wire being pulled from my skin, and I felt the release that comes with the rush of endorphins and the relief of actually doing something one has been anticipateing. Once it was completed, I took a self portrait with a disposible camera. I had really expected a little more blood, but was not disappointed, it was beautiful and just what I needed. We decided not to rub anything, such as ashes into the wound and see how it healed on it's own. I was grateful that it was cautious and delicate, rather than some gapeing gash that should require stitches had it been accidental. The next morning, I removed the bandage, which I have saved, and went into the shower. I had been instructed to irritate it by hand scrubbing it with hot water several times a day. The first scrubbing was almost more intense than the cutting itself. I really roughed it up and it started bleeding quite heavily. Being that I am an artist, my instinst was to grab some small pieces of water color paper and make several prints with the blood. They varied from bloody mess to fine line detail. None of the other scrubbings yielded as much blood, but it kept it irritated enough to slow it's healing. Weeks later, it was evident that it would need some touching up, as we expected, as I am very pale and difficult to scar. The two other cutting sessions fell on other significant times, both reenforceing the original meaning and enhancing it with new experiances and associations. Strangely enough, it got more painful each time, even there was progressively less work to be done. I think that is a mainly psychological thing I do. Once is brave, twice is necessary, three times is madness. Going through all the pain and ritual truely served the purpose I had intended. I have been refined through the heat, pressure and time to become a "crazy diamond", shining on.

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 26 Sept. 2001
in Scarification

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Artist: anonymous
Studio: anonymous
Location: California

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