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Pain, Pleasure and Perception

'The only difference between pain and pleasure is perception'

Out of all the body modifications I have come across, I would have to say that it is scarification that interests me the most. Whether it is because I have self harmed in the past or just the natural beauty of it, I am not sure. What I do know, though, is that it has taken me a long time to choose a pattern to permanently mark upon the canvas which is my skin.

After days of looking at pictures on various internet sites and in books dedicated to the subject, I decided to draw something of my own which I feel represents true beauty and perfection in a decidedly vulgar world. Since I was little, I have had the idea of intricately drawn skulls interwoven with childlike flowers. I decided that, despite all the research into images, this would be my chosen work of art. A series of scars I will not regret nor look upon with distaste.

I feel that scarification is highly personal and a truly beautiful form of art which captures memories and feelings inside. Whether these memories are good or bad is up to you. My design holds memories of being a little girl, of scribbling flowers on paper in big, thick red crayon and it also reminds me of the pain of growing up; of realizing that all is not as it originally seems; that there is hatred and violence and discrimination around every corner.

I have always been interested in the concept of pain and how much of it I can handle. Scarification opened a door to me that piercing couldn't. Having had my lip pierced a year previously, and many ear piercings, I felt I was ready for something bigger, something more exciting, something that would stretch me to my limits.

Upon telling people about my idea I was faced with exclaims of, 'that's sick!' and 'how could you do something like that to yourself?' Nobody was on my side. I tried to explain how I felt, how cutting made me feel. Nobody would listen and I began to think it was a bad idea. I did though go home and draw out my design on my left arm, over all my scars from self harm. As I put the lid back on the pen, I sat and stared at this creation, and I was surer than ever, that this was what I wanted to express myself. It didn't matter what my friends said. If they were true friends, they would accept me skulls and flowers or not.

Scars are not meant to be ugly – they are the body's natural response to injury and with this beautiful design on my arm I feel I can hold my head up high and show the world I am not afraid, that I am who I want to be. I am Bernice. Many people don't like me. Many people see me as the kid who cut herself through secondary school. Many people see me as the college girl drop out. I don't care, because I have hopes and dreams, just like you. I have ideas. And I am allowed to express those ideas in any form I want. Scarification is beautiful, and I hope, in time, I will be able to add to my arm. I do not as yet have any tattoos, but am designing a back-piece which I will hopefully be able to get for my 18th birthday. In the meantime, I am adding to my collection of piercings. Next week I will be getting my lip done for the second time and after that my tongue.

In years to come I am hoping to enter the body art industry as an artist and one day hopefully open my own shop in the UK where I can help other people express themselves through body art. I am hoping that by walking out of my front door every morning with my art I can show other people that they are not alone, that I too feel what they feel, that I understand. Scarification is not something I would recommend doing in a non-sterile environment and so therefore I advise that you seek professional help/assistance, not that I myself am a professional, but mine came out perfectly, no infections, very little pain, and a beautiful result. Body art is what is holding me together, the pain never lasts forever. Only the beauty does. I've come to the conclusion that pain really is beauty.

My scars show something to other people. They show all those people who are suffering that they are not alone. My art shows that there is a way out, there is an answer. It proves that we are all beautiful. Possibly even me.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 Oct. 2004
in Scarification

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