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Musings After My Scarification

I was scarred by Brian Decker on October 31, 2009 during his visit to Austin, Texas. My scarification is of a blue jay. It is placed on the left side of my torso; it is approximately eight by four inches; and it is incredibly detailed. The process lasted just over four hours. Decker used cutting, skin removal, and shading techniques.

As time progresses and I surpass the five week mark of being scarred, I keep reflecting on all the things I failed to realize before Brian Decker removed some of my skin...

As far as cleaning: I washed my scar with Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap in the shower, which burned like hell. If I could go back in time, I would listen closer to all those warnings about the first shower. It was painful enough before I introduced peppermint soap. I waited until the end of my first shower to really clean my scar. My world started spinning with pain; I sat down on the edge of the tub, leaned over and threw up into the toilet. This happened the second day of showering as well. I have never thrown up from pain before. The experience lost its novelty, and became more tolerable. I continued using Dr. Bronner's. I planned on using lemon juice, because I dig the idea of natural irritants, but peroxide and Dr. Bronner's seemed to be all the pain I could handle.

As far as care: I found out in the first week that Vaseline liquefies with time and body heat, and it stains clothes permanently. I also figured out that I am prone to heat rash and zinc oxide does not fix the problem. Decker recommends keeping the scar covered with cellophane for seven to ten days, but after six I quit. I think on day four I attempted the switch to toasted sesame seed oil, but the smell grossed me out too much. Having it sealed in close to my body with cellophane, without any room to breathe made the smell even more intense when I would get a sniff of it. So I went back to Baseline. I contemplated mixing in sugar, but because my scar is so detailed I worried about losing some intricacies with rough and abrasive irritants. But, as I mentioned before, I quit covering the scar with cellophane on day six and at that point I committed to toasted sesame seed oil. I spent a lot of time the second week with my shirt off. I cleaned it about every four hours. By clean, I mean I would wipe away excess oil with gauze, spritz on a generous amount of peroxide; wait; feel the burn until I couldn't stand the bubbles anymore, then absorb the peroxide with gauze, fan it dry and reapply toasted sesame seed oil with another piece of gauze. I went through a lot of gauze. I did this whole routine until the end of week two.

As far as the temptation of picking scabs: I gave in. I got distracted from my homework one day, and focused on picking those scabs. After I started, I worried about uneven scarring so I picked the whole thing. And I was late for work. I tried not to pick at it after that, but at times little pieces of scab would tug on my shirt, so I'd reach under my shirt, find the culprit and rip it off. I probably did more picking than what's kosher, but I think it only enhanced the keloiding. At least this is what I will believe.

As far as scar tissue goes: it doesn't stretch. I stretch a lot. During the healing process, I stretched the area quite frequently by pulling my stomach skin in all sorts of directions. This is different from the everyday sort of stretching I'm talking about though. I sleep on my stomach with my left arm above my head, at least this is how I fall asleep. It takes me an incredibly long time to fall asleep (if I had quit taking sleeping pills before my scar, I would have lost a lot of sleep during the initial healing, but luckily I waited until two weeks after to quit). So when I am tossing and turning, trying to get to sleep, I go into an in between stage. I stay there for a while, but every time I raise my left arm above my head the sensation of scar tissue being pulled and stretched is enough to take me away from that place of almost sleep. It isn't entirely unpleasant, just a jarring sensation that I am getting used to. I hope with time the scar will stretch with l ess discomfort.

As far as pleasure goes: I like to be touched, just about anywhere. I like skin and I like my skin. I like it when flesh meets flesh. Anyways, I never anticipated that I would enjoy touching my scar so much, or that it would become my new favorite place to be touched, or that the effects of it being lightly grazed over by fingers, lips, facial hair, or warm breaths would make me shiver. I am not a cutter, nor have I ever really been, save a few times when I was on a lot of pain killers and carved lyrics into my skin with a safety pin. I didn't anticipate the range of feeling that comes with a large scar. Admittedly, the sides of my torso are ticklish by nature and sensitive, but my scar adds another element of pleasure to being touched.

As far as healing goes: I thought it would be more even. The variations in my scar are endless right now. It could be for a number of reasons: the depth of the cutting, the use/lack of use of muscles underneath the scar, the potential that my bra rested lower than we anticipated and put pressure on the head of the bird and prevented raised keloiding, etc... The scar tissue on the top half has already turned white; the bottom is drastically redder. The nature of the cuts varied a lot to begin with. The top of the bird is more detailed, with lots of shading to give a feathered look to the body. I lost a lot of this detail. I know that Brian started at the top, and worked his way to the bottom. I have to consider that maybe he got more comfortable cutting deeper as he progressed and got used to my skin. Also, by the time I picked my scabs, this area had already healed for the most part and therefore wasn't forced to re-scab as much as other areas. There are some areas of
the bird, for instance the vertical line of the bird's body which is near the front of my body, that raised significantly more than others, like the vertical line closer to my back. The variations are endless. I can't figure out what caused them, but I am okay with that. At this point, I am still enjoying the healing process and getting used to my scar. I know there is a lot of healing and changes I can't see yet. I plan to visit Brian over spring break to retouch the head of the bird, because I am afraid as time progresses those areas of the scar that are already white and not raised at all will heal more than I want and become almost invisible.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 21 Dec. 2009
in Scarification

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Artist: Brian+Decker
Studio: +
Location: Austin%2C+TX

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