Cutting experience - thigh
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I started doing self-cutting for aesthetic scarification purposes in March or April of 1998. I use the blood from the cuttings for artwork, and have done simple patterns on my left arm, left leg, and my cheek. Recently, I felt the need to make a new design - I chose my right thigh.
I doodled for a while, and came up with the design of: || / || / || / || / Since it was to be a larger cutting than I'd done before, I wanted to have supervisors (and the exhibitionist in me wanted an audience).
After gathering all the supplies, we went to the boiler room in my friend's dorm. Ambience is everything, eh? Since I was doing the cutting on myself, I didn't wear gloves - and I probably should have cleaned my hands before, but I didn't. I did the cutting sitting on a sheet that I've reserved for cuttings - it's had many different bloods shed on it, each time washed in a bleach wash to clean it. I made sure I had several gauze pads available, plus cotton balls, and 5 razor blades. As well, I had my tape, and vinegar for the scarring.
One of my friends drew the design on with a permanent pen while I was standing, since the shape of my thigh would change when I sat down to cut.
I used a razor blade to do the cutting - the brand I found at Canadian Tire, Richard single edge blades, are nicely sharp. I always make sure to clean my blades extra well, since someone mentioned that many of them have an oil coating on them - so I cleaned the area on my thigh, and my razor blade, with alcohol. I prefer to use benzalkonium chloride, but there wasn't any available.
The cuts weren't very deep - perhaps as deep as the bevel on the blade, if anything. I started with my inner thigh, so that I wouldn't have my hand in any blood when finishing up the design. The four diagonal lines were easy - short, and simple. However, the two parallel vertical lines were much more difficult, to keep straight, because of the change in my thigh shape. The lines that were straight when I stood ended up curving slightly, a curve which I was unable to match. Therefore, the original lines are slightly curved towards each other in the middle. I was immediately surprised by the slower bleeding time - my other cuts had bled much more quickly. However, I wasn't disappointed for long - by the time I was working on the second half of the design, the first half was dripping blood like crazy. We took some pictures of the blood running everywhere.. then I wiped it up and moved on to the scarification part.
On two of my previous scars, I'd used slash 'n' burn technique. However, this time I wanted to try something new. I've never much liked the idea of putting ash or clay into the cut, because I want to keep it 'scar' color, not darkened. So I decided on vinegar. The high acidity causes the scarring, so I didnt' need to use red wine vinegar - just white vinegar worked fine.
I soaked a cottonball full of white vinegar, and rubbed it vigorously on the cutting. From previous attempts with vinegar (on much smaller cuts) I knew it would hurt, but I couldn't have imagined the pain. The cutting, even the slash 'n' burn, was nothing compared to this. After the pain subsided, I did it again (I'm not a masochist for nothing) to ensure good scarring.
After cleaning it all off, some of the cuts looked too shallow to ensure a good scar, so I went over them again, with the blade and then with vinegar.
Now that I'm home (I was away for a week when I did the cutting) I've been taking care of it.. but last night, I felt like it was too small of a cutting for my thigh, so I extended the same pattern up and down my thigh - it now travels from just above my knee to just below my hip joint. It was interesting feeling the different sensitivities of my skin - higher up is definitely much much more tender.
I just removed the bandage that I had on it - I ran out of gauze pads, so I was using paper towels and cloth tape. I'm going to try to keep the bandage off as much as possible, to irritate/toughen up the wounds.
To further make sure that the wounds scar well, I scrub it with a scrub brush every morning in the shower, until it bleeds, and rub more vinegar in with my hand. Then I clean it well with antibiotic soap, and dry it carefully.
Cutting and scarification seems rather hard for most people to accept. Since several of my scars are visible, and at least one is rather obviously not an accident, I end up having to explain myself frequently. People's reactions vary according to their experiences, but by far the worst reactions I've had are from people who used to (or still do) self-mutilate. I draw a clear distinction in my mind between mutilation, for the purposes of hatred/punishment, and scarification for aesthetic/pleasant purposes. My scars bring me pride, beauty, and happiness. Nothing could be better than that.
May 13, 1999 Kieran Spencer email@example.com
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 June 1999