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Enlightenment & Empowerment Through Cutting

 Ever since I was a little kid I have had a fascination with body modification.  There is a certain allure of being able to take control of your body in that way and make it beautiful by your own standards.  For many years I ignored my interest in modification as my mother and grandparents are devout Catholics and believe that any sort of body modification is wrong and a desecration of your sacred body.

For as long as I can remember I have had the unfortunate designation as the fat kid. "Dale the Whale" is what they used to call me in high school. As time went on I began to once again look at body modification as a way to take control of my body that the world sees as ugly and make it my own. What started as a basic ear piercing at 15, became tattoos at 18 – and then more tattoos and more piercings...

That brings us to the day in question. I have spent a reasonable amount of time researching the more extreme forms of body modification, from branding and scarification to implants and suspension. I gradually realized that I have a very spiritual connection with body modification, and while there are some things that I do not personally have any interest in, I think that it is magnificent for the right person.

So over the past weeks I have made the decision to perform a small (4 inch square) scarification on myself. While I may go to a studio in the future, I cannot go this time because I need to do this myself. I chose the symbol for strength – a fairly basic symbol to carve, but with a great deal of personal significance. I went through my day at my humdrum job just like any ordinary day, but with the deeply rooted knowledge that by the day's end I will be a changed man. I felt an excitement that I haven't felt since my first tattoo, a thrill that I am going to alter my own reality this evening. Or course, being able to begin my task come the end of the workday it would be much too simple. With 2 young children, I do have a normal routine that must be done before I can even consider the work at hand. So upon arriving home I made dinner (had to be sure to eat something), watched some television – and then off to bed with the children.

Once I was alone to begin working on myself I took a shower to shave the chosen area (my calf) and to clean off really quickly. Then I sat down with some (read A TON) of gauze and my freshly sterilized (yes, really sterilized – my wife is a nurse) scalpel. Before I was even ready to put the knife to my skin, my endorphins were already sky high. I attempted to calm myself (a futile effort) and began to draw the character on my calf where I wanted it placed. Once I had the design completely drawn I took a break to relax and get my head straight – after all, was I insane? I was about to take a scalpel to my own skin. When I was ready, I picked up the scalpel and pressed it to my skin.

I cannot even begin to describe the elation that I felt as I did this. Of course there was pain, but I had the most empowering feeling of control over my life and spiritual connection – not with anything else, but with myself. As I watched the character take shape on my leg, I felt the white hot burn of the blade slicing through my skin – but it was overcome by the awe that I felt at being able to create something so beautifully spiritual, to be able to come one step closer to bringing my physical body into alignment with my spiritual self.

As for the technical side of the procedure, I cut as deep as I felt was necessary, and was amazed at the amount of blood that there was present. I filled numerous gauze pads with blood before finishing – but unfortunately I did not cut deep enough. The wound has completely healed, and the scar is already beginning to seriously fade – and it's only been 4 months. I have plans to re-cut this character over this weekend, hopefully getting it deep enough that I will only be re-cutting every few years instead of every few months. I am excited once again and am planning on this being an equally positive and empowering experience as it was last time.

As a sort of afterward to this story, I think that deciding to perform this scarification was a blessing to me. It has opened my eyes to what I think I can take both physically and mentally. I have plans for more scarification, as well as some branding to be added to my body-design of tattoos and piercings.

The biggest thing that this experience left me with is a desire to complete my long-term goals. Specifically, I have been fascinated by suspension for a very long time, but never thought that I was mentally capable of handling it. I know that my body can physically handle it, and I will work to get into better shape so that it is not quite as traumatic on my body, but I was thrilled to realize that I might be able to handle it mentally as well. I am now more determined than ever to explore all of the details of suspension and to at least make an attempt at this ritual – we'll have to see.

My first scarification has broadened my horizons to a whole new world of the personal and spiritual fulfillment that can be achieved through body modification.

Until next time...

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 12 April 2003
in Scarification

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