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My Dermal Removal

It started years ago.....

I remember flipping through National Geographic at a very young age. I was definenetly fascinated by the scarification I saw on the childrens bodies, and I don't really remember it to be a scary prospect. Not to say that I had any ideas I would ever undergo my own...right of passage, if you will.

Fast forward quite a few years. With numerous piercings and some tattoos under my belt, I had come to a place where the experience of my modification was equally, if not more important than the mod itself. I see my mods as a benchmark of different points in my life. I wish each mod could have a profound spiritual experience that goes along with it, but it just seemed like a lot to ask. I'm just really not able to get anything from having a needle stuck through me. I had been thinking about getting a cutting done, I figured that it would be quite a memorable experience, and overall very positive for me. I had talked to a local artist to a small degree about getting one done, but for some reason I felt hesitant about his motivations for doing one for me. I had the feeling that he was more interested in filling a portfolio as apposed to what is in the best interest of the person coming to him.(after talking to other people my suspicions were confirmed.) I wasn't distraught a bout not getting one right away. I figured that when the time was right it would fall into my lap. So this whole idea of mine began to come to fruition when I went along with my friend to Scarab so he could get some cautery branding done by John. I chatted some with John about wanting a cutting and what I was looking for as far as experience, and he said he thought it would probably be a fun experience for the both of us. I told him I would think about it some more and give him more details on what exactly I would like and where I would want it. I really felt no reservations about having him do this for me. I find that up to this point in my life I am fairly gifted about judging the intent and character of people. John in no way struck me as self serving. I could tell right away he isn't the type of person who would do a cutting, or any mod for the matter, on someone if he thought it wasn't for positive reasons. And on top of all that I trusted his skill, and liked him as a person. I don't care how amazing an artist is, if they are and asshole I just cant get work done by them. In thinking about the design I originally thought that I would do something on my ankle or foot, in case it scarred badly or I was just unpleased in some way by the finished result. But after thinking about what I wanted cut I decided to go for my lower back. I decide on the wheel of chaos on my tailbone, there is quite a significant reason for this. My ruling body part is my tailbone. Anytime that I am sick or depressed it all seems to get deposited right there. There have been times that I have lost my ability to walk because of it. I thought having the symbol there might have a type of counteractive effect, well thats what I hoped. When I brought the symbol to John he suggested that we do dermal removal in most of it so the triangles would not distort. This scared me a little bit, but I wanted it to look nice and trusted what he said. He did a bit of fine tuning to the design and then I made an appointment. The day of I stocked up on lollipops because I am hypoglycemic and get very dizzy with endorphine rushes and things of that nature. I knew that by the time I left there my head would be swimming. My friend Rob went along with me for support and I was happy he would be sharing the experience with me. We worked on the placement of the stencil for a few moments and then I was ready to go. I got into my socks and climbed onto the table, as comfy as I could possibly be. Little did I know how long I would be lying there. I was a little bit surprised at the sensation of the cutting I expected it to be warm and sharp. It almost felt like it was tearing, although very warm indeed. Nothing that I couldn't handle. I began to notice that anything to the right side of my spine made my skin convulse. Not because of pain, I just hadn't really thought about how many nerve endings you have in your lower back. I felt bad about my skin moving because I didn't want to make it difficult for him to work. Through the cutting part I was fine. My head wasn't reeling and my adrenaline wasn't going to bad. I talked to Rob and John through most of this. As soon as flesh started to be removed I pretty much fell silent. Through the whole process John explained what he was doing and how he was doing it. I was disapointed I couldn't see what was going on but soon into the removal I could hear it. To hear your flesh ripping is a very, "special" thing. My skin didn't come off easily to say the least. It took about t wenty minutes to remove the 1st triangle, some took a little longer some a little less. In all it took close to 4 hours with two 5 minute breaks. John cut the circle in the middle last, 1 half at a time. By this point my adrenaline had worn off. I was feeling far more pain than I had expected to and I could feel exactly what he was cutting. A soon as the hemostats touched my back my whole body would convulse. Rob kept his hand on my legs to keep them from jumping. I didn't want to make the process harder for John, but I just couldn't keep my body still. John finished his work and I couldn't have been happier. I was very surprised at the amount of blood. I thought for sure I would be gushing, for I have very thin blood. I suppose it was the area and the fact that I was lying down that kept me from bleeding too much. I was pretty much silly by the time it was done. Extremely giggley to say the least. I recall that instead of swearing during the painful parts I laughed a lot. I walked out of there glowing. I wasn't really in pain that night, I slept fine and took a bath without any problems. The next day it was starting to get really tight and was very sticky. My main concern was doing everything I could to make it scar well. I have had open heart surgery and my scar from that is very faint. I have extremely light skin, and I knew that I would have to irritate the hell out of it. The thing was that I was hesitant to touch it at first. It was just such a strange sensation. I pretty much felt like raw hamburger. It started to scab up in about a week and the scabs were huge. It was next to impossible to get them off even with extensive peroxide soaks. I scrubbed it with a rough loofa everyday. It was constantly sticky and pretty gross. My scab was new color everyday. I kind of felt like a mood ring. It's been close to 6 months since I had it done and It has faded alot, although you can definenetly still see it. It didn't bump up like I hoped it would have, but I really didn't expect it too. Im hoping to get a few lines on it re cut in the next month or so, and thinking about expanding the design but i'm not sure what to yet. I am sure that will take time. Overall this was a great experience for me. It did hurt a lot. Far more than I had anticipated. But that wasn't really an issue for me. I got a lot from the experience. Nothing profound but I don't think being the type of person that I am anything like that could ever really knock my socks off. I'm so happy with the work John did, and who he is as a person. I've gone back to him once more for myself and brought a few other people there to get work done by him. I would never recommend anyone except him. He is truly serious about what he does and it makes a huge difference. I could have never had anything like that done by anyone else. I don't need someone to feel the same way I do about modifying themselves, but I do need them to understand them, and have a sort of aprecitation for them as well and I feel like he does. As far as having a counteractive effect on my tailbone pain i'm not sure yet. It has ached a little form time to time. But it is going to be quite awhile before I know for sure.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 30 Oct. 2002
in Scarification

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Artist: John
Studio: Scarab+Body+Arts
Location: Syracuse

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