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Big ideas, little scar

Time, they say, is relative. I was living in an eternity. Each day was like the last, endless monotony stretching far as I could see in every possible direction. I had gone mad.

It was early October, freshman year. I was enrolled in a mediocre university following my mediocre secondary school. It seemed my whole life had been marked by mediocrity. I was never one to live up to my potential, always one to follow the easy way. It made sense to me easiest was best. Mediocrity was the logical route to follow.

My life was filled with absolutes like "always" and "never"; "cool" and "lame"; "Drunk" and "Sober".

Dormitory life was getting to me. Enveloped by blonder, thinner, happier, religious, right people, I felt alone. Surrounded by stinking, burping, fucking, farting, sniffling, snoring people, so many people. And yet, they were not people to me, merely animals to which I felt no kinship. I felt like a sheep in the wolves' den, but no one had yet discovered me. Paranoia was my companion.

With no one but myself in my universe, I conversed and argued with Me constantly. Many things I'd contemplated, and egotistical as I am I was convinced I'd contemplated All That Is. I decided it was time to end it. There was no reason to continue I thought. I had no new endeavors to pursue.

But then, a new challenge.

I spied my pink disposable razor dangling from my shower caddy. I used pliers to break the flimsy razor from the plastic and I examined it. Very sharp, very thin, and flexible.

I began to think, why does pain exist? What does it do? "Well," I thought, "It tells me when I'm hurt, when my body is being damaged." "It tells me when to stop." Then how do mothers deliver their young? Why do teenagers pierce themselves? Why do women subject themselves to corsets and high heals? "Perhaps pain can be controlled by the mind?" I thought.

I took the razor in my hand and made a few light scratches across the top of my forearm. I was amazed at the blood that seeped from the invisible cuts tens of seconds after the razor had cut the skin. Pain had not worked; I hadn't stopped before I damaged my skin.

I turned my wrist up and examined it. I set about to cut a straight line with the intention of a scar.

This was something new. This was different. This was feeling.

It was pain, deep searing burning pain. I could feel the fibers of my skin separating as I scraped the razor slowly down the cut, not in a single slashing moment but in hundreds of rocking movements of the blade. Blood, so much blood.

In later sessions I set about to make a design from that first line. I ended up making first a triangle and then an inverted triangle behind it. I tell people it represents change, but that's a superficial and incomplete explanation. It's still visible on my wrist, although I can tell that all but the first deepest cuts will eventually disappear.

That first raised scar will remind me forever how insane one can be without knowing. I had always assumed that people knew when they were crazy, that they could always stand outside themselves and tell that they were not thinking rationally. But that's not the way it works. Our minds are our prisons and we are both the inmate and the warden.

I've had several comments on the cutting since I put it past me and stopped being constantly aware of hiding it. Those I love are confused, some think I did it to hurt them. I'm constantly amazed at how self involved Man is by nature. We will never realize that the world may not revolve around us; I say "may" because there is no way to know for sure. After all, this could be all a dream, a figment of your imagination. You have no way of knowing if you are actually reading these words written by another or if they are your own thoughts your mind has fooled you into seeing on the computer screen.

I've stopped cutting myself since the last line of my symbol was complete and now I'm faced with questions. Why did I cut myself, isn't it human nature to avoid pain? Did I cause myself greater pain than pleasure? Would this be "self injury" or "self exploration" or "self expression"?

I realize that there are other, healthier, happier motivations to self-scarifications. Please realize though that my motivations are valid as well. The experience marked a profound period in my life and I use my scar as a reminder of the lessons I learned from that time.

I wish you peace of mind.

(to comply with submission rules I must warn you that the preceeding self-cutting was "not a good Idea". Please do not use this personal experiance as a how-to guide.)


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 06 May 2002
in Scarification

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Artist: Myself
Studio: My+room
Location: St.+Cloud

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