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Everything fades.

The knife cut into my arm, leaving thin red lines. Parallel lines. Blood slowly seeped from the shallow penetrations, and I enjoyed the escape from everything – reality, life, problems.

I am a young girl. I'm very average. I'm your cookie-cutter citizen that stays out of trouble: white, middle-class, teenage, average grades, average school, average life. I had no reason to be anything but pleasantly content. And yet somehow I found sadness, emptiness, a void. I was dissatisfied with my life and with myself. I felt trapped, I had no freedom. I did and do, however, control my body. And I saw to it that I was able to do as I pleased when it came to changing this shell my soul resides in. It began with skipping meals, and ended with bloody gashes. Both had a lot to do with control, and even more to do with beauty.

Self injuring is not in any way recommended. I do not believe it is a useful way of dealing with one's issues. However, that's not what this is about. I would like to merely question why, in my adolescent angst, I chose to carve parallel lines into my left inner forearm.

I had cut myself before. It was yet another outlet for my anger and sadness; I was testing it out. Similar to how teens experiment with drugs or alcohol, I was inflicting pain onto myself. I needed to make myself feel differently, and pain offered that. Usually the cuts would be lines, scratched into my skin by a brand-new razor. I wasted a lot of razors that way, I was terrified of infection. But I digress. The lines were usually intersecting and haphazardly placed. But for some reason, my inner forearm was different.

I remember being at a barbeque. I was there with all of my friends. And the boy I love. I had downed at least 10 hot dogs, and I was depressed as hell. I borrowed said boy's extremely sharp pocketknife, went behind a bush in the shadows of the night – and I sliced up my inner left forearm.

With perfectly parallel lines.

Why did I choose to turn something painful into something artistic? It was not a conscious decision, but it happened nonetheless. The lines, of varying length, ran deftly parallel. I liked them. They were easy to hide, and watching them heal was to me – a form of beauty. I enjoyed it. My favorite part, by far, was when they were nearly completely healed. They had become faint white scars, scarcely visible except when in direct sunlight. And even then you had to know where to look.

And I was the only one who ever looked. It was never a showy habit, never a "call for help". It was something deeply personal. It was something beautiful.

And now they're gone. The scars faded, and so did my angst and depression. I don't think I can see them anymore. I'd like to get a star professionally scarred onto my inner left forearm, on that smooth pale skin that shows no reminder of my past pain. The cuts were shallow, and I let them heal with no intrusion... it is to be expected that they should fade so. But they will be replaced, this time with a happy kind of beauty and an absence of anguish.

Why did I stop? For one, it's no fun wearing long sleeves in hot weather. Nor is it fun having blood dry onto those long sleeves, and stick to your shirt. Or have scabs itch. Or worry about being discovered. Or being discovered, by your little sister.

I would love some day to get some scarification, but our society (in some circles) invokes in me a feeling of utmost shame. To do such a thing is "bad", "in all forms".

I believe that our world is sometimes crippled by generalities and narrow-mindedness. This is one such case, and I suffer by it. I care too much about what others think, especially my loved ones.

That boy is now my boyfriend, and will one day be my husband. I will see to that. And from him I gain the courage not only to cease cutting as a release for pain, but to endeavor to be true to myself and one day get some scarification work in order to complete this beautiful canvas, my body. It will be my slap in the fact to society; it will force them to see beauty in something that they will shy away from.

I honestly have no idea what provoked me to carve those lines into my arm, but it prompted in me a desire to adorn my body with visually pleasing markings. Thus began my journey, and it continues. Each bump and scrape and piercing and tattoo becomes something beautiful, a part of me, and a sign of having lived. And I appreciate having discovered that.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 06 Sept. 2006
in Scarification

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