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My first scarification

I would like to start off by saying that I am not new to razors on my skin, as I was a cutter since I was 11 years old. I don't recommend using my methods to anyone who doesn't know their body and what it can handle. I'm sort of new when it comes to body mods, donning only two 1/2 inch gage earrings, which will grow larger in the future. For anyone that is reading this who haven't had any body mods done yet, I will let you know now that they are like potato chips... you can't have just one.

Well I had been looking for a symbol that had a lot of meaning behind it for me. I believe that every piece of body art should have significant meaning, because it will be permanent. I wanted something that was pleasing to not only my eye, but to others as well, considering carving things into your skin is highly looked down upon... it would just make my life easier if I didn't have to explain myself every day for the rest of my life. It had to be just perfect, and very fitting to me, and who I am.

The good thing about scarification is that unlike tattoos, you can make scars as permanent as you want them. It all depends on how often you irritate it, and how deep the cuts are.

After looking online for symbols, I came across a web site with West African tribal symbols... it listed the picture, the West African name for it, the literal meaning, and the significance of the symbol. After going down the list, I discovered the Sankofa... a heart like shape. It literally means "go back and get it" and symbolizes the importance of learning from the past. After being in an abusive relationship with a guy, I had learned many MANY things in those 5 years, so this meant a lot to me. I had picked out a spot on my left arm... right above my elbow on the front of my arm. I chose this spot because it would make my art visible to the public eye, it was the right size surface area for my design, and was easy to reach, considering I was going to do it myself.

And so my mission began.

Now, I would have gotten this professionally done, but that costs money, and frankly, I'm poor. Also, I only trust myself with taking a blade to my skin, because I know myself better than anyone else.

My tool of choice, as it has always been, were four blades removed from fresh, new shaving razors... they are very sharp, they are thin, easy to maneuver, and cuts as deep as you need it to. I sterilized the blades with alcohol, and made sure I had a lot of paper towels on hand. I cut the symbol out of paper and glued it to my arm with tacky glue (comes off easily... hey, it's hard to do some things by yourself!), then traced the design with a ball-point pen. Then I took the paper off my arm and began.

The process was fast, about 15 minutes. I did the outside part of the heart first... it's a basic heart shape, but with what looks like the bottom half of a star at the bottom. Then I worked on the inside, a loopy bunch of twists and turns. It didn't hurt me at all, but started to burn a little towards the end. It did bleed quite a bit, but that was just fine with me. I spent another 10-15 minutes irritating it with a new toothbrush and salt, scrubbing the salt into the open cuts. Scrubbing it with the toothbrush produced a lot more blood than I had expected. This burned more than hurt, but I have a higher pain tolerance.

Some good forms of irritating the cuts are salt, vinegar, alcohol... basically anything that will burn.

This all happened last night. Tonight, I re-traced the lines with a fresh blade again, taking care to get the spots I had missed the first time. After doing the irritating process, I wrapped my arm with gauze and an ace wrap, to stop the bleeding. When I woke up this morning, it looked amazing, almost professional.

I will warn you all out there that you need to be aware of how much blood you are losing during this process. If you feel coldness around the area you are doing it, or if you become dizzy or light-headed, stop immediately and get the bleeding to stop. Always let someone know when you're going to do it, and have them check up on you, just in case.

Overall, I am VERY pleased with the results, and look forward to doing more in the future... that's IF my mom doesn't kill me when she sees it.

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 26 Sept. 2005
in Scarification

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Artist: Me
Studio: My+bedroom
Location: Pennsylvania

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