Bad idea, with good results
As a bit of a disclaimer, what I did was not intelligent. It wasn't even that sanitary. Anything involving a foreign substance and open wounds should be well thought out. I didn't think this out, and the consequences could have been far worse than a short, mild infection.
I had always been fascinated with the various aspects of permanent body modification. I'd done some fooling around, having my nipples pierced for a time, a part of my ear, some scarring, but generally in a short term sexual play setting, which is never to be recommended. There was however, still an interest in having actual ink under my skin. This interest progressed to the point that I decided without a doubt to get something done. The more I thought about it though, from a philosophical aspect, running out and getting yourself a tattoo like countless frat boys do every spring break has very little meaning. If you're going to have a mark for the rest of your existence, you damn well better have a reason beyond "cool." It was at this point that I had a dream. This was a reoccurring dream that I had not had since childhood, one full of various disintegrating shapes and geometric patterns. An image that sticks with you over nearly twenty years seemed strikingly important, and possibly even cathartic. I chose a sort of melting linear progression that always ended my dream. The final issue then was location. As this design was rather more for myself than anything, public visibility wasn't a problem. My family wasn't receptive to the idea of body modification anymore radical than getting a hair cut. This combined with pure aesthetics led me to settle on the pubic bone. Now, I know many would consider this an odd, or possibly feminine place for a tattoo, but I really liked the thought. So the stage had been set, geometric disintegration, diagonally across my pubic bone. This is the point in my story where I do something stupid. Very stupid. Essentially on a whim, I realized that I wanted to do it myself. Not with a needle, or even an razor blade either. With a big fucking blade. My cousin had gotten a traditionally done Maori tattoo, and couldn't stop talking about what a "spiritual experience" the whole thing was, and how it was infinitely better than anything even a hand needled tattoo could approach. As could tell earlier, I'm a bit of a masochist, so I'm no stranger to pain. To tell the truth, I genuinely looked forward to the opportunity to both forever alter my body and cause such memorable pain in one fell stroke. The mark itself would only be seen by people other than me in a sexual context, so that made it even better. So, one night, in a bored, bad mood, and on several illegal opiates, I made the unwise decision to move up my self inking session. I had already chosen a blade, an middle eastern, irresponsibly sharp, thin dagger. I had originally intended to properly sterilize it, but I settled for heating the entire thing to a healthy glow, and hoping bacteria were gone. I had sketched the final design several times, so I knew that it would at least be accurate. My parents had left for the weekend, so I had set up a little spot in my basement that looked fairly sanitary, with good lighting. The only thing left to do was cut. I dug the blade in what I judged to be a proper depth, and surprisingly, it hurt very little. Maybe that area doesn't have the most sensitive skin, or maybe I just liked pain more than I thought. The only thing that left me feeling uncomfortable was the sheer amount of blood. My best guess was wrong, and I had cut too deep. I had to sponge away the blood every few seconds to have even a vague idea of how it was turning out. Overall though, it was depressingly easy. The design turned out fine, and even if I hadn't inked it, it would have been a very visible scar. The problem was keeping the wounds open until I was finished. My blood clotted too fast, so I had to scrape over the finished areas as I continued my work. Once all was that was complete, I got out my ink. I used a non-toxic black India calligraphy ink, and rubbed it in with a chamois cloth. Even though it wasn't poisonous, it still wasn't meant to be in open wounds, and it burned like hell. I cleaned it up best I could and put on a bandage. For the next week, it felt like I had just finished a marathon session of very rough sex, but it certainly wasn't intolerable. When I did a close check of the area about four days after the fact, I noticed that it was all still really red, more so than when it was first done. It also had a smell not unlike rotting meat... which is generally a bit of a red flag. I decided it was probably infected, but having had previous similar infections go away on their own, I left it to heal. Two days later, I got a fever, which was worrying. A friend of mine worked in a pharmacy, so I got some strong keflex antibiotic, which seemed to do the trick. After that, it healed much like an everyday wound. Now several months after the fact, it looks quite good. The lines are well defined, the design is clear, and there is little raised surface scarring. I like the tattoo, though now I've found the dream from which it came was related to some bad things in my childhood, making me slightly regret it. In the process of doing marking myself, I gave myself an infection by being unsanitary, did things I am not qualified to do, used a knife on myself in a time of depression and substance abuse, illegally procured a prescription antibiotic, and permanently left a symbol of abuse on my body. The interesting thing is, it was one of the better experiences of my life, and one of the few things I don't really regret. On top of that, it's a good looking, meaningful, and original tattoo.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 19 Sept. 2005