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Reminder of the person I left behind

I used to be a frequent cutter. I don't do 'it' now, but at the time I was self-harming almost every day. This, for me, was different. I refuse to call the self-harming a phase as I still get the urge. I have just gained more experience in handling the urge.

The first thing that I'd like to explain, is that I'm into body modification (I have 21 piercings and a tattoo) for the aesthetic reasons. I adore the look of every modification I have. Since getting my piercings (aside from my ear piercings) I have totally stopped cutting. It's not something I'm proud of doing, but I don't hide it either. The piercings and tattoo I have I consider totally separate from my cuts and scars. This, to me, was a body modification, not self-harm. It was like a tattoo or piercing, but more personal.

When I decided to do my scarification, my scars were fading and in some ways, this upset me. It was as if I had lost myself, the original me. I felt like I had changed too much. It was as if the person who I was: sad, quiet, unassuming, Had been replaced by someone with too much confidence. It was almost as if I felt I was arrogant. It sounds strange, but I missed these features of me. I felt as if I had been replaced, and that I was a 'fake'. Describing these feelings is difficult, near-impossible, but I feel like I need to explain my reasoning for scarring myself. Not for anyone else's benefit, but for mine.

I chose to make this one last cutting. This time not the lines I used to cut, but something to remind me of what I was once like. I chose to cut a 5 point star. I had always loved this symbol. Not only was it pretty and elegant but stars, like humans die. It may sounds strange to personify a star as a human, but to me, it makes sense. This star was to be on my body so it was my decision. People's opinions don't matter much to me.

The first thing I did was cleaning the an area of worktop in my bedroom. I would have done it in a place with running water, but my room is the only private space I have in my home. I wiped down the worktop with hydrogen peroxide and then lay down my towel, to wipe up any blood and to rest my arm on.

I then scrubbed the back of my right wrist, where I was planning the star to be. Again, I did this with hydrogen peroxide. I drew, with soft kohl eyeliner, a star outline. I checked and double-checked it- this was going to be a permanent mark on my arm so I wasn't taking chances. Making sure that I didn't go to close to this outline but still following it, I cut the star. I cut it with a clean, never-used razor blade which I had also scrubbed beforehand, being careful not to go to deep or out with the outline I had drawn. Every cut I made produced deep red blood. I kept wiping this away so I could clearly seen the lines I was trying to make. The cuts hurt less and less as I continued around the star and I cut deeper as I went. To totally complete the star took around an hour, then I was satisfied I had made a good job of it. I then followed this by rubbing hydrogen peroxide into the fresh wounds. I have done deeper cuts, but I wanting them to all be of roughly-matching depth so I would get an even-scar. Also, I didn't particularly fancy the idea of a trip to casualty(!)

When I stopped cutting, I wiped the fresh wound with hydrogen peroxide and covered the wound up with fresh medical gauze and micropore tape to seal off the injury. I kept this on until the scabs had formed and then left the wound open to get air. I repeated this each time I re-opened the cut.

Every second day, for the next 2 weeks I re-opened the cut with a fresh razor blade. It didn't really hurt so much. In fact, the only part of the whole procedure that really hurt was trying to irritate the wounds. I used mainly hydrogen peroxide for this. I also used toothpaste a few times. Although the scabs were sore when I picked them, I felt that it was worth doing to get the pronounced scar I wanted.

After a while, I left the star to heal naturally. It gradually went from a deep pink/red colour to a lighter silvery-pink colour. It is still pronounced but not particulary visable as it is mainly hiddden under my watch strap which I kept off during the healing process. Although it does hide under this strap, to me, the star and everything that is represents are not only visable, but a clear and permanent reminder of my past and who I used to be.

The two things that I'm going to say at the end of this are:-

1) If you cut, get help. Not everyone needs it but cutting can be a sign of various psychological problems. I didn't get help. I now regret this but I did overcome my problems in the end.

2) Scarifications really shouldn't be done without professional guidance. I did it without. This could be seen as naive, but I felt I knew what I was doing. I saw my skin as my canvas. Any problems I could have had, I didn't have. But that it not to say someone else may not.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 25 April 2002
in Scarification

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