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Birthday Cutting

I got my first non-earlobe piercing (eyebrow and nostril) for my 25th birthday. I wrote that up for BME as well! It seems like so long. So much has changed in my life (I've gotten a divorce, for one) and BME itself has changed a great deal also. In the meantime I've gotten dozens of piercings and over a dozen piercings. So for my 36th birthday, I wanted something new.

It wasn't hard to pick what design I wanted. I'd recently come up with a sigil for a story I'd been working on; a very simple mandala made up of lines and circles. I'm not very good at describing such things; sort of a plus sign with a circle around each arm, the circles overlapping. Since my drawing abilities are practically nil, I asked a friend of mine to draw it up for me, and she did a great job!

Next choice was what medium to go with. The character in my story had it as a cutting on his leg, so I was leaning towards that, even though I found the idea more intimidating than a brand. I'd gotten a fairly severe accidental burn when I was about twelve, so I was a little more sure of what to expect from a brand. I got the opinions of various friends, even the ones who thought even a tattoo was a bit intense. But in the end, what I really needed was a professional opinion.

I'd been to Industrial Primitives (inside Black Cat Tattoos) on Sixth Street for several piercings and found the staff pleasant and professional, and the piercings themselves had turned out well. It's also convenient for me to reach by bus, something I need to take into consideration since I don't have a car. There I spoke to Rick about what I wanted. I showed him the design as my friend had drawn it for me, and asked if he thought it was better suited to a brand or a cutting. He said it was about equally suited to both, and the healing period would be about the same length. Even the dreaded consideration of price was the same! So it was decision time. I took a deep breath and decided; it was to be a cutting. I set up an appointment for the afternoon of my birthday and left a deposit.

That was about a week and a half before my birthday, and I found myself obsessing about it all that time. Interestingly, it wasn't fear that gripped me, but an intense excitement and anticipation, and an odd lightheartedness. I lay awake night after night, trying to imagine what the experience would be like, what the finished result would be like.

Finally, the day arrived. A new friend (not the one who'd drawn the design for me) was accompanying me, yay! We preceded the big event with a hearty, protein-rich lunch and a peaceful unwinding at a coffeehouse. Well, as peaceful as I could manage!

Then it was Time. We made our way to Sixth Street, to the studio, only a little early. Rick was there with the stencil for my approval. It was finally happening! The tattoo artist (whose name I didn't catch) put the stencil on my leg while Rick readied his tools. Once it was in place he had me lie down, and soon enough we began.

And oh yes, it hurt! I'd read the pain of a cutting compared to the outline of a tattoo, and there's something to that. It's similarly sharp and quick-moving. At the same time, it's deeper, and there's the psychological factor of knowing you're being cut with a scalpel. I found myself unable to watch, even though I usually watch with interest when I'm getting a tattoo. I didn't want to see the scalpel at all.

For all it hurt, it wasn't too dreadful. I certainly didn't have any trouble keeping still, and I don't think I made too much noise (although enough for Rick to comment that the noises people made while getting a cutting tend to be the same noises they make during sex -- good thing I'm not a screamer!), mainly the occasional 'ow!' and my laughable attempts at slow, deep breathing.

All the while, my friend took pictures, so I'd have a memorial of the occasion. I was even smiling in some of them. I was surprised that it didn't bleed more, and also by how quickly it went. Immediately after, as Rick was bandaging it up, it didn't hurt at all, almost as if I hadn't just been cut.

It's been three days and so far I'm very pleased. It's a bit sore of course, but not unbearably so, and it's scabbed up. I'm delighted to have faced down my fear and gotten an image cut into my flesh!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 21 Oct. 2008
in Scarification

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Artist: Rick
Studio: Industrial+Primitives
Location: Austin%2C+TX

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