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Too White to Keloid.

apprenticing as a body piercer I fell in love with scarification and branding. I had asked my instructor and the tattoo artist from the shop I worked at what they thought of it. The responces ranged from "Very unsanitary and ugly" to "Teenage rebellion garbage". But I was seeing the most beautiful forms of skin art from HTC and Keith Alexander in different magazines and online. I finaly called an artist in California and asked him for some suggestions. His first question was, "What is your ethnic background?".
"Well...ummm Irish." "Oh," dead silence. "Is that a problem?" "Yeah, you're sorta screwed...you are too white and you won't keloid up as well. You lack melanin." Cursing my pale-ass ancestors, I refused to give up. A lot of the folks I saw in the magazines looked pale as me, if not paler. Then I read an article about red wine vinegar. Apparently it adds a red or pinkish color to white scars and keloids. But there was nothing about how long I should expose the cut to the vinegar. Taking my chances I autoclaved a brand new x-ato knife and blade and drew a design on the back of my left hand with a sharpie. I picked the symbol for the phases of the moon, also called "the horned moon". The scarring itself was rather painful and took a lot of will power to complete. The problem was the x-ato blade is too fine for the design I wanted and I had to go over it many many times. When I had finished a few hours later, I wiped it clean with some alcohol (feel the burn baby!) and the submersed in a pan filled with the red wine vinegar. The stinging was so intence that I got dizzy and broke out in a cold sweat. When the pain subsided I looked at the scar under the dark reddish liquid and I couldn't see too much to tell if I was succesful or not. I put on "Witches of Eastwick" while I left my hand soaking. Damn Cher really got on my nerves! When the movie was over I took my hand out and I couldn't tell if the angry redness was caused from the cutting or the vinegar. I kept my hand bandaged for a day and then when I removed it I could see that the cut was much "redder" than any other cut of the same depth I have ever recieved. The scab grew thick and heavy. I did cheat once and picked. I was surprised how much it bled. More than when I originally cut it. Two weeks later I had the desired results of a red, slightly raised scar on the back of my hand. Then the curse of my Celtic ancestors returned with a vengence. The scar bagan to disappear. About a year to the date the scar lost its raise and color completly and it was now a whitish, moon-shaped blemish. Some of my friends thought it was cool because you could barely see it except in certain lightly. I thought they were morons. I re-attacked my scar, this time with a large thorn from a rose (please don't ask me why but it was symbolic at the time). The new scar definenly had a larger raise on it and this time the color from the red wine vinegar (I added prune juice to it for a darker tint) stayed a bit longer.
Here is the thing though: I have to do this about every six months to maintain the scar. Every time I do a cutting and a soaking, the scar gets darker. I use blackberry thorns instead of x-acto (again this is just personal symbolism for me, I don't suggest it or recomend against it either). I figure in about couple years I will have something more permanent and noticable. If not, then I better learn how to cook with red wine vinegar. I am, in a way, happy that I have to go through so much trama to gain the results. The ability to overcome my instincts and to cut into my own flesh taught me that I have a large reserve of will power and self control that I did not think I had. Because my skin is so pale I have to work harder than most to create my work of art. It made me think about dieting, body building, tanning, hair cutting, and other mundane forms of mody modification and how they all tie in with the grand design we are all trying to acheive. I began to feel sorry for people who say "the mind and soul is all that matters". How could anyone ignore or hate this incredible canvas we were all born with? I started to pay attention to how everyone presented themselves physicaly and what they were trying to say. The experience of one little three inch scar has caused a sence of self appreciation and pride (Irish pride too?) unmeasurable.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 24 Sept. 1999
in Scarification

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Artist: Me.
Studio: Here+and+there.
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