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Self Scarification

For as long as I can remember, I've felt a very strong pull towards body modification. I've been researching over the internet for a few years now, and since I turned eighteen, I wanted to do something to celebrate my passage into legalized adulthood. I have seen many images of scarring which ran the gamut from simplistic dots and lines, to more elaborate wings, religious icons and other things of that sort. I decided that I was going to cut a design into my leg, at home, in a ritual setting. I waited until everyone in the house was asleep, and gathered all of my supplies together, which included Bactine, the razor blades that I had pressure cooked, an enormous amount of gauze in sterile packaging, and a sheet of plastic bought at Home Depot. I covered the bed and surrounding area with the plastic, and draped the remaining portion over the night table which would be acting as my medical tray. The design is fairly simple, it is a spiral, which has a tail that zig zags twice and then trails off. I didn't really look at any thing beforehand, it is as if the razor was moving on its' own. I will be adding a picture of it as soon as I get a scanner, and finish recutting the tail end of it to give it more definition. For the moment it is a spiral with a tail, and I want to rub some ink into it the next time I add to it. Anyway, not to digress, I lit three candles and a stick of lemongrass incense, and I put Tool/Undertow into the cd player because I like that cd, and it relaxes me. As I made the first cut, I was surprised at how long it took for the blood to come to the surface. Then all at once, it welled up from beneath the skin, and I wiped it away with a piece of gauze. I then made the cut paralell to it, my intentions being to remove the skin between the cuts after I was finished, like peeling a section from an orange. The hardest part was getting the curves of the spiral just right. I went over that area several times, which resulted in a much deeper cut than the rest of the lines. I peeled as much of the skin off as I could, which resulted in a very raw section of leg. It stang and I could feel the nerve endings stinging, almost like it was burning. It's the same feeling as putting your finger on a blister that has burst. The entire time I was cutting, I felt dissassociated from the proceedings. It was like I was there and I could feel pain, but it wasn't me that was feeling the pain. It was just a sensation. The endorphins kicked in, and I felt like I was floating, almost ephemeral.. I put Bactine on it, and antibiotic ointment, and bandaged it. About three days later, I started picking the scab. I was careful to pick in one direction, and evenly over the surface. It took about three months to heal completely with me picking at it all of the time. Right now it is slightly raised, and parts of it are thicker than others, especially in the curved areas, as I have mentioned. In a month or two, I will be going over the lines, and possibly going around it and rubbing ink in, if I can do that.

I will send pictures of it as soon as I get a scanner and everything is healed nicely. It is the first scar of this nature that I have purposely put on my body, other than a ladder of five thin lines on my wrist. I can't explain the attraction to scars that I hold, but I will tell anyone considering cutting themselves to be extremely careful, as if you are not ever vigilant, infection can set in, and fluids and swelling can distort your scars. I have considered doing the other leg to match, but I don't want to detract from the meaning of this one. This scar is a badge for me, it is a constant reminder that I have waited my entire life up until this point for my body to be mine, and no longer does it matter if someone thinks that my scar looks gross, hideous, and that all the people in the world can cry out that it's self mutilation; for me it is self beautification. I wouldn't tell anyone to do this, I could offer advice, possibly help them consider why they want to do it, and I will say that the next cutting I get will be professionaly done. I was very reckless to have done it all on my own with no assistance or supervision. I could have cut too deep, and I completely exposed myself to infection in all manner of ways. When I redo it, I am going to cut with a scalpel purchased at a med supply store, and I will also be purchasing an autoclave and sterile gloves, and more gauze and ointment and things of that ilk. When I look at my leg, I want to be proud of what I've accomplished, and see a beautiful piece of artwork that will last forever. You may email me if you want to, and I will be happy to answer all questions.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 10 Aug. 2001
in Scarification

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Artist: Self
Studio: Home
Location: In+Texas

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