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Self-done Ink Rubbing on Hand

  About three months ago, I became interested in body modification. I had never done anything before that, except for getting my ear pierced, multiple episodes of cutting, and some play (surface) piercings. I kept the idea in my head and looked through all of the possible options, and none of them really seemed very interesting to me. Until I found an ink rubbing. For some reason, the idea itself seemed so... romantic. That I could keep a little bit of something encapsulated inside of me, as if my skin would be a permanent scroll, denoting a part of my life. I decided an ink rubbing was a perfect start for me, and started to research them.

After some time, I went to Michelle's, a hobby store, and bought 2 ounces of black carbon pigmented India ink and some replacement razor blades. (All for about $6.00) Though the Scarification FAQ advises against using standard razor blades instead of surgical blades, I found them perfectly fit for this use. (I also went online and found out whether the ink was non-toxic, since this is an obvious requirement for anything that you put into your body. I found the MSDS data sheet for the ink on the website of the company that makes it and found it to be non-toxic.)

I tried to think of some designs, but I came up with nothing, lacking significant inspiration: I did not want to write someone's name or a date or something transient or insubstantial like that on me. I wanted it to be the story of my life, written out on my skin. Eventually, I dropped the idea... Until one night, after a series of events and realizations about my life, in a moment of desperation and rage, I punched a concrete wall. I punched it hard enough to neatly tear the skin between the knuckles of my middle and index fingers on my left hand. Two hours later, I was in a much better mood, and I had my inspiration. It was as if all of my viewpoints in life: my atheism, my personality... EVERYTHING about ME, had been cleared up that night, lined up. A fog had cleared, and I saw the world from a whole new perspective. I felt as if had become Ubermensch. I had reached Perfection. Enlightenment. Happiness.

At two in the morning, I decided that was exactly what I wanted. I got out some bleach and triple antibiotic ointment, Band-Aids, a few sterile cloth dressings, along with my blades and ink, and got to work. The entire process went very smoothly. I made a 10% solution of bleach and soaked the blade in it for 5 minutes while I had a bidi cigarette (to calm me) and cleaned the area, as well as deciding, on the spur of the moment, to disinfect the ink, per se. I mixed it half and half with rubbing alcohol, and it worked surprisingly well: it made the ink more fluid and it kept its dark tint. I know that rubbing alcohol is not a great disinfectant, but I figured it could only help.

The cut was made extremely easily, probably because of the chemicals running rampant through my brain, making the task much easier. I felt absolutely no pain (Ironic considering my dark past with razor blades, where I cut myself for the pain) and was surprised and delighted with my own accuracy: the cut had opened the previous cut perfectly, and was a perfect depth. I found this ironic as well. Instead of random, ugly slashes, I had created something beautiful... through destruction. It may have been a bit deep, but I would rather it be too deep and have a few side effects than be too shallow and have the process be a waste. I was surprised by how much the re-opened cut bled, so I applied a little pressure to it with a sterile dressing covered in rubbing alcohol. I let it bleed a little bit, because I had heard that the blades could still have oil on them, probably from machining. I figured letting it bleed a little bit would give me a nice adrenaline rush, as well as hopefully bleeding out anything that I could have accidentally put into the wound. After those few minutes, while it was still bleeding freely, I started to apply the ink. I took Q-tips and dipped them in the dish of ink/alcohol, dropping it into the cut, and then eventually using them to (very gently) apply ink directly onto the cut, rubbing it in to stain more completely and to get it into every space it would fit. Even after the wound was saturated with ink, I continued to periodically pour the ink/alcohol solution over the wound, not only to (hopefully) sterilize, but to keep the ink wet so it would (hopefully) stain the wound skin better and stay inside the cut longer. I continued this until the bleeding had stopped. At this point, I coated the padding of a band-aid in the ink/alcohol solution and rubbed a layer of triple antibiotic on top of the wound, applied the Band-Aid, and went to bed.

I washed the ink off of the rest of my hand the next morning and was surprised how well it had worked. I applied the triple antibiotic ointment twice a day for the next week until the wound was practically healed. I did not use a bandage, irritate the wound, cover it, apply extra ink, or anything like that. Today, I must admit that I am impressed with how well it has healed and how it looks. It is almost 4 months still I did it and the ink seems just as vibrant as before. The line is not blotchy at all and is well defined and consistently dark. The mark has become my most prized modification. In the time since then, I have done a few other mods, but this is by far my favorite: despite how easy it was to do and how simple it is, it has so much meaning to me that it is much more than a 1/2" black line, it has become a representation of everything that is ME.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 24 Oct. 2006
in Scarification

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Artist: Self+done
Studio: Home
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