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wow, that hurt.

I just wanted to preface my experience by saying that I have no noteworthy emotional problems, I didn't get a cutting because mom and dad wouldn't let me get a tattoo, and I firmly believe that scarification is an art with the potential to be extremely beautiful, but is often misunderstood and underrated because there are so many bad examples of it out there. That said, my interest in cuttings dates back to about 1997, when I first discovered BME. I was fascinated by the look of them, but at the time there seemed to be so little information available that I didn't take my interest any further than looking at them. Eventually, I started sketching out ideas for an ink rubbing . . . a piece that was supposed to span across my chest and be rubbed with black ink. I figured some day when I had reason to, and had found someone I felt comfortable with, I would do it. It sat in my parents' basement for a year and a half before I met Raelyn Gallina. She did my vertical hood pierce in November of 1999, and it was on my way out the door after having it done that I knew she was the one to do my cutting. After further research, I scrapped the idea of the design I had waiting, at least temporarily, because I wanted to see how well I would scar before I committed to something so large and prominent. I still wanted to get a cutting, though, so I explored my options. I kept trashing every idea I came up with because I felt that the design really had to mean something to me in order to go through with the experience of being cut. One day it just dawned on me, and I knew what I had to get: a punch mark. This basically looks like a simple crosshair, a symbol that means many different things to many different people. But to me, the symbol is something that film composers and music editors use to aid in film/music synchronization. I had always wanted to have a mod that reflected my love and life devotion to music, but a bass clef or an eighth note always seemed so trite to me. And since I am about to obtain my Bachelor of Music in Film Scoring, and hope to obtain work as a film music editor, I saw no better way to declare to myself that I WILL succeed. Anyway, I drew up a punch with a compass and a ruler, and decided the placement would be just between my shoulder blades. I also decided I wanted this cutting to be rather subtle, and planned to request that white ink be rubbed into it instead of the black I originally wanted. I made an appointment for Friday, May 19 (2000). The whole week before, I thought to myself "I can always wimp out . . . I can always get my nipples done again or my tongue or ask about getting my nape done . . . " but I knew I HAD to get the cutting. Friday rolled along, and I spent the day thinking about what I was about to do. I waited for my boyfriend at the time (who shall be henceforth referred to as the BATT) to come and was getting nervous because he was late. When he arrived, we went out and had a big dinner, and then headed to Grand Opening in Brookline, MA. We arrived at 7PM sharp (my appointment time, obviously), and were told that the 6:30 appointment had JUST gone in, so there was going to be a wait. We sat down and waited nervously (well, the BATT was flipping through erotic fiction and looking at postcards, and I was waiting nervously). Finally, we got the call, so there was no turning back. We went in, greeted Raelyn and John, aka Skaterat on rec.arts.bodyart (who had graciously offered to take photos of the procedure), and she began setting up in front of us. We talked a bit about what I wanted done, that I wanted it on my back, that I wanted white ink rubbed in, etc. I showed her my drawing, and she told me that the whole thing would go very quickly, since my design was so simple. I was relieved, to say the least. For some reason I was under the impression that it would be a long, grueling process. We waited for a bit while she worked on the transfer, during which the Dukes of Hazzard and ChiPs suddenly became the topic of conversation for some reason I still can't remember. Anyway, once the transfer was ready, I stood up and took my shirt off so she should place it properly. I then sat down, leaning on a desk, and it seemed like a split second later that the first cut was made. I stopped her because I wanted to attempt and brace myself, but I don't think it made a difference. The first cut was the hardest . . . the bottom half of the circle, and holy fucking god did it hurt. My breathing became so manic I must've looked like a woman in labor (luckily no one could see my face). Before I knew it, the cutting was over. It probably took a total of . . . 2 minutes? Not bad at all. She made several blood prints for me to take home. Then came the worst part . . . the rubbing alcohol. It burned like a BITCH. But once I smelled it, for some reason it became soothing to me. I was shaking, though. I think there was something with hydrogen peroxide after that . . . I remember handing her the bottle . . . but I don't remember if she put it on my cutting or not. I was too shaky and giddy. After that we waited for a bit more so the cutting could dry. And then came the actual ink rubbing part. I think the pain was comparable to that of the alcohol. After all of that, she bandaged the cutting up with tegaderm, and we went over aftercare. She gave me a sheet in case I forgot what she told me (which, of course, I did). She explained that there would probably be a little bulge of blood at the bottom of the bandage in a day or two, and advised that I use the scalpel (she gave me the scalpel used) to make a little slice in the tegaderm and drain the blood out. Then we paid (took only 1/2 an hour, so we only had to pay $60, and the BATT paid for 1/2 of it as a graduation gift), and she gave me a hug and we left. We went to the movies with a friend that night, and I could lean back in my chair and even squirm around to avoid having to go to the bathroom without a problem (well, the fact that I had to go to the bathroom for an hour of the movie was a problem, so I lied). Day 1 Boy was Raelyn right about all of the blood under the tegaderm. I undressed and stood in the bathtub while the BATT made a little slice and drained it all out. It took a few tries, but we found the best way to patch the hole was to put a cotton ball over the hole and cover it with medical tape. Obviously I had no tegaderm lying around the apartment (which I later purchased, just in case). Showering was relatively simple, but I hate facing the water. I push the showerhead down as much as possible to avoid the water shooting directly at my back when I have to turn around to shave or whatever. Other than that, Saturday was relatively uneventful Day 2 The BATT had gone home Saturday night, so I was relieved to see that no blood had collected overnight. In fact, I didn't see any blood at all . . . just a smear of tattoo ink, and the cutting outlined in red. I went to work. And it was then that it started to ITCH. I figured that was coming, but thankfully, it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. Day 3 Ah, the day to remove the tegaderm! I did it in the early afternoon just before I went into the shower. It was a bit of a challenge to remove it myself, but I had to do it myself because my roommate was incredibly squicked by this whole thing. I was able to take it off slowly like Raelyn's aftercare sheet says, so I think I did fine. When I got into the shower, I gently washed the cutting with very mild soap, heavily diluted. I rinsed my back by slowly pouring water that I collected in a cup over my shoulder. I patted the cutting a bit when I got out of the shower, but mostly let it air dry. I brought a tube of A&D to work with me, but luckily I didn't need it. More than a year later, the scar is evenly raised and still looks beautiful.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 Oct. 2001
in Scarification

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Artist: Raelyn+Gallina
Studio: Grand+Opening
Location: Brookline%2C+MA

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