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My Burning Scar

For as long as I can remember, my body and my mind have always been a source of sadness and depression. At the time I turned 20, I'd basically done all I could think of to relieve myself of it and yet still felt vaguely troubled. One day, I started contemplating cutting. I had never been a cutter. The idea of my own blood certainly didn't scare me, nor did the idea, but there was something vaguely unsettling about it that didn't sit right. After much thought and looking heavily into the galleries of it on BMEzine, I knew that a scar was the mod for me. I contacted an old friend of mine who had been into cutting for as long as I could remember. He was pretty damn good at it by means and had some very pretty scars on his arms but had yet to do a design. I picked something that meant something me and would be aesthetically pleasing: a star. While it had only vague emotional meaning, I had always had some strange attachment and pull towards it. I had wanted to get stars tattooed up and down my arms but money (or lack thereof) had prohibited it. In another way, this was why scarification was good as I wouldn't be paying for anything outside of a toothbrush.

Originally, the placement I wanted was on the skin below my thumbs on both hands. So, two stars. However, after much negotiating, I was dissuaded to choose another placement on my body. The skin of the hands is thinner and there are more nerve-endings-- in short, it would be a better idea to save those spots for tattoos as opposed to scars. Despite the fact that I was extremely set on having the stars there, I reconsidered somewhere a little less painful. I chose the right side of my chest, above my breast and below my collarbone. We determined the pattern to be about 2x2". Not really big and not really small. It was a little more towards the centre (to avoid being scraped by a bra strap) but off-centre enough so it could be hidden if needed. I told a few people and, surprisingly, the response was positive. It was a controlled environment, and I wasn't cutting because of intense distress (though the process was to be somewhat emotional).

However, the artist I chose was hesitant and told me to really think about it. He didn't want to do it on someone who wasn't really involved. Though I didn't know it at the time, he conceived a sort of test. We were hanging out one night and he pulled out his little kid and prepped himself and then cut his chest where he would be cutting my chest. I didn't cringe nor look away. So he began showing me the autoclaved scalpel blades that were to be used, and we chose a date when no one would be around us and we could work in private. Our supplies didn't include any sort of anesthetic; only a book of the human anatomy, which he studied intently (note: he was also a bio student). After perfecting the placement, I laid down and held on as he drew the design. The pain as he made the first cut was strange. It was almost unbearable. My fists clenched at whatever was nearby and I grit my teeth. I started perspiring and feeling a bit dizzy. He would ask if I wanted to stop intermittently, seeing the look my face but I merely shook my head until the endorphins took over. It took a long time and each time I thought of what was going on, I felt near swooning. There was something infinitely pleasing, though. He kept laughing and telling me that I should have paid the extra money for a tattoo (which hurt considerably less). It took a while. Each cut had to be precise and joining them was a painstaking affair as there was a possibility of going deeper than we wanted to go and ending up with more blood on our hands (or chests) than we had wanted.

When he was done, I got up and looked in the mirror and felt a sort of calm satisfaction. It's begun to symbolize that anything painful can be beautiful and worth it-- more of a life lesson than just a scar or a wound.

After the bleeding had slowed, we rubbed the wound with salt. I thought that would hurt but it was nothing compared to what we had done to get there. My artist handed me a new toothbrush and said, "Meet your new best friend." For the past little while, it's been burning but I've gotten used to it; I can remember scraping the shit out of my knee worse when I was a kid. It's slightly uncomfortable but everytime I look into the mirror I grin and get excited.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 19 May 2005
in Scarification

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Artist: a.h.
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