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Wrong Skin Made Right

           I had never really thought of cutting as any sort of recreational activity until I had heard that my older brother did it when I was around 12.  At the time, it didn't hold too much appeal for me, and I never gave it much thought.  I understood that it existed, but only intellectually, and felt very detached to the whole issue.  So, I purposely forgot about it for my early teenage years. 
When I was around 15 or so I started to have a hard time with, well, everything.  I was very dissatisfied with my body, and was having panic attacks characterized by extreme claustrophobia, being trapped in my own skin.  This is not the sort of thing you can escape, of course. I was furious at my apparent misfortune at being born into a wrong body, one that was foreign and held nothing for me.  So, I started looking to body modification as a means of having at least marginal control.   
I have always thought scars were beautiful.  They accent the human form very nicely; they just add something extra that I can't really pinpoint.  Well, I decided that I needed some.  Not in pretty designs, no symmetry, I just needed to be marked by my own hand, and the natural processes of healing would give me my art.

My first attempt was, admittedly, stupid. I was inept, having never tried it before; after all I was just a 15 year old kid. I took a razor blade and just swiped it across my arm, pressing too hard and unevenly. I gazed down at the wound, and was shocked to see that I had cut deep into the muscle. That hadn't been my intention (well, I guess I don't really know what I was expecting), and I panicked. I ended up in the emergency room getting stitched up. Of course, my parents took me, and god knows what they were thinking. I mention that because while I was being treated it was impossible to lie about how I had gotten sliced. So, of course, I got court-ordered counseling for a good two years. Anyway, my first cut was a very botched job. I am very happy with it now, though. After a few years the scar paled and became smooth, and I find it very attractive overall. It is extremely noticeable though, so I have a story for the general public and end up having to tell it quite frequently. Most people ask me how I got burned, so apparently it's still pretty pink. After that fiasco, I was scared away from cutting for awhile. It wasn't until about a year ago that I started to try again. I had learned to stay away from visible areas, and so chose the inside of my bicep. I also switched tools; it's too easy to cut too deep with razor blades, at least I think so. I use a knife, one that has sentimental meaning for me. Every month or so I add another line to the patchwork tapestry I have going; my last one was about 2 months ago though.
I've learned a lot more about my body since the first time. I know how much pressure to use, and how to address healing. For the early lines on my bicep I irritated during the healing with a toothbrush, or whatever I had around, or even just my fingers, but I started getting the feeling that I really didn't have to; the lines were turning out the same no matter what I did. I think I'm a pretty heavy "scarrer," and I'm grateful because I know a lot of people need to really tear their cuttings up to get a nice scar. As I progress, it turns out that I am making more art than I had planned on. It's all asymmetrical, and would look like a mess to anyone else, but I find myself planning the next addition based on the others more and more. I'd like to have some scars on my right bicep as well, and might just have to take the leap and give using my left hand a try. But the whole point of this is to have some control over this wretched excuse for a body, and I will have to have quite a bit of practice before attempting that.
Aside from the scars, I've had about 10 hours of tattoo work done, and probably 30 more ahead of me to finish what's in my head. I had a couple of piercings, but none ever worked out (that's where heavy scarring works against me). My body will continue to be a work in progress, and eventually, with needles and knives, I'll hammer out a body I can be comfortable in, even proud of.

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submitted by: nosp4rrow
on: 29 Nov. 2001
in Scarification

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