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Why I won't remove my accidental first mod

This story is about how sometimes what was for all intents and purposes a bona-fide accident can turn into a mark of pride or beauty. I didn't choose to be modified in this way, but I feel that since I have of my own free will chosen NOT to have this piece of me removed with a laser, scar-lightening cream, or what have you, it has become a genuine modification instead of just a random scar that anybody could have. After all, how many people who accidentally and visibly scar themselves, through a fall down a hill, a scraped knee, a fight, etc., choose to keep that "blemish" on their skin instead of taking steps to remove it? From the ads I've seen and heard on television and the radio, it would seem like scars are a horrible accident that have to be removed if one wishes to have a more "perfect" body and not be embarrassed over what their skin looks like. But I have chosen to embrace what happened to me by accident instead of getting rid of it, and therefore consider it a s real and meaningful a mod as a deliberate scar or something like a tattoo or navel bar. I respect that not all people feel this way about accidental mods (some men try to uncircumcise themselves, for example), but here are my reasons for why I feel this way.

My first body modification happened before I could even remember, and yet I love it more than the currently two sets of holes in my ears and probably will love it more than the other piercings I will be getting in the future. (I'm just getting serious about body modification now and so don't yet have all of the piercings I want done, but I am going to have at least my nostril and the rest of my earlobes done within the year.) It's a scar that's about an inch across at the top and half of an inch from top to bottom, medium brown, in the shape of a dog. To me this scar, while an accident, is cuter and more unique than the most beautiful nose stud, earring, eyebrow ring, or whatever. How many accidental scars have resulted in something that looks like a dog?

I guess I should explain how I got this integral part of my body, a part of my body that I have grown up with and never found ugly or like a mutilation. It happened when my father (at the time a first-time father) was changing my diaper and accidentally poked me in the upper right side of my right leg instead of fastening the sides of the diaper together. So the scar that resulted has been there longer than I can remember. I guess it must be like infant circumcision (of a boy; I am completely against female circumcision)—sure there's momentary pain and some crying, but it's all over sooner than you know it, and you were so young that you can't even remember the temporary pain you went through in order to get the end result. Whether you can remember it or not, pain is an integral part of modifying the temple which is your body.

The part of the scar that looks like the head and upright ear of the dog is facing down the leg, toward my foot, so my dog is upside-down. And after the head comes his neck, his body, and his tail. It looks as though he's sitting or lying down, his four legs curled up together so that you can't see any distinct legs there. The only person who doesn't think it looks like a dog is my aunt, who said it looks like an aeroplane. The only time my scar is actually visible to the public is when I'm in a bathing suit or some other type of garment that exposes my upper legs, and people who have seen the scar in those circumstances have usually asked me if it's a birthmark or a vaccination mark. And of course when they hear the real story, they feel so sorry for the poor little baby who got stabbed with a diaper pin. I've grown up with this scar and couldn't imagine my body without it! It looks really cute and unique, like a natural tattoo almost.

I'm glad to know now that there are many people out there who deliberately give themselves scars, sometimes larger than mine, and sometimes more than just one. And for the life of me I just can't understand the appeal of medications and surgeries that serve to remove or lighten scars. I can understand, for example, wanting to get rid of a scar that reminds you of a horrible experience, such as getting beaten by your abusive former husband, a car crash, traumatic surgery, or getting shot in battle, but if you can get past the way it got there, you might very well come to appreciate it as telling a chapter in the story of your body. My scar, however accidental, is a part of my body. I would feel naked without it. It makes me me. And I'm a strong believer in Fate and the Stoic philosophy and therefore believe that everything happens for a reason, even horrible things, and eventually, sooner or later, something good can come out of them. And evidentally the Divine saw fit for me to get my first body modification as a baby, by means of a diaper pin, and get a brown dog-shaped scar on my right hip ever after. Who am I to argue with Fate and get it removed or lightened? To me that's like erasing my uniqueness and trying to get a "perfect" body without blemishes, and I have never considered my scar to be a blemish. It's like a tattoo or a birthmark, only I have a scar that wasn't deliberately designed by an artist or there on my skin when I was born. I'd rather have a small "blemish" than "untainted" skin just so I can look like everyone else.

Part of what distinguishes my scar from someone else's accidental scar is that I've grown up loving it, while many people who also got scarred by accident as infants or children could very well have grown up hating their scars. I have emotional attachment to it, and it's been a big part of accepting and loving my body. In the past I've had issues about my weight and height, for example; I'm five foot two and big-boned, and currently losing the weight I gained when I was away at college. In the year I've been out of school I've lost about thirteen pounds and am now only a few pounds over the top ideal weight for my height. It's a very poignant lesson—as a child I accepted and found my scar beautiful, so why as a teenager (when I started having problems with my weight and how I wore glasses; I wear contacts now) did I hate and reject another part of the beautiful body which God saw fit to bless me with? You can't selectively love one part of your body yet hate another!

I'm very religious (my own personal choice, not something forced on me) and getting a tattoo is forbidden in my religion, though I certainly don't judge or hate people who have them. And apart from henna tattoos, which are permissible and which I would like to try, this scar is the closest thing I can have to experiencing what it's like to have one select part of my body altered in appearance, with a design on top of it instead of just plain skin. It's my natural tattoo.

So I have the same sense of emotional attachment to my accidental scar as other people have to their deliberately planned scars they achieved through cutting, branding, chemicals, etc. It might not be as big as some of the scars I've seen, or doesn't have a pattern, like five stars in a row, but it's the same deal as with tattoos—a large design of Krishna, for example, and a small design of a heart or unicorn aren't superior or inferior. It's all about what they mean to the person. Some people are more into large designs and some prefer smaller ones, depending upon what's meaningful to them.

It's my scar, my body. What started out as a horrible accident turned into something I couldn't see myself without. Instead of feeling ugly or ashamed about having a scar, like many people do, I have chosen to embrace my unexpected and accidental mod. So sometimes accidents can turn into something to be proud of. I know I certainly won't be ashamed when bathing suit season comes up soon and everyone will see my scar!

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 14 June 2003
in Scarification

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Artist: My+father
Studio: At+home
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