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Only I can Absolve my Sins

Background

I'm not a Christian and I haven't been since I realized I didn't believe when I was only 9. I am however fascinated by Christianity. I spend a lot of time studying both the religion itself and different Christian cultures, the later of which interests me the most. I often discuss these topics with Christian friends of mine.

A couple months ago I brought up an observation I had made. I didn't understand how Jesus could possibly die for our sins. How could punishing the only innocence individual on earth possibly have a positive benefit for the guilty?

I didn't understand it. I firmly believe that each individual should be responsible for their own sins and not expect the to find absolution in something external. Each individual should endure their own metaphorical crucifixion. I felt this so strongly that I decided to physically alter myself as a reminder to take responsibly for my own mistakes and not expect others to take the blame. I decided to cut my wrists as if they were scars from a crucifixion.

Preparation

First of all I knew that I had to do this myself. I know wonderfully qualified professionals but having someone else do this to me would rob me of the profound experience and render the entire thing meaningless.

Having surgical markers from BME shop I used them to mark my wrists. I spent an extraordinary amount of time attempting to get the placement exactly right so that it would be even, in a logical location and, more importantly, not directly located over veins or too near them. In this case meaning I actual though "what would be the easiest place to drive a nail through?" For a full month I continued to alter the placement bit by bit everyday or so in an attempt to get the placement just right. I was finally happy with the marks and ready to proceed.

The Process

I don't scar easily. At all. The only real scar I have on my body is from a bike accident when I was young. I was slung underneath a car and my hand hit something sharp on the undercarriage. A chunk of skin was cut out and the wound was instantly cauterized. I've attempted scarification pieces in the past and they inevitably heal over and never leave a mark. This time I thought of a different approach. I would continuously recut it. This was all the more important given the location. I wouldn't feel comfortable cutting deeply into my wrists, so cutting it over and over day by day would allow me to take it slowly and make it more safe. With this plan in mind I was ready to begin.

I have a stock pile of one time use scalpels from BME shop. I washed my hands well, cleaned my wrists with rubbing alcohol (which will not sterilize anything, but it's still better than nothing) and dotted the area one more time to make sure I could see it well. I chose not to use gloves because it gave me better control of the scalpel which would be extra important since I'd be working in a tight space.

Because scars tend to expand I chose to cut very very small dots. I pressed the very tip of the scalpel straight down and made a cut between one and two millimeters, if even that long. Then I rotated it a few degrees and repeated the process so that in the end I had an incredibly small eight point stars on my wrists. There was very little pain involved in the process (though it sung for a few hours after it was finished.) The bleeding was extremely minimal given the cuts were so small and not that deep but the blood seeping from the wounds was astonishingly beautiful.

Twice the next day, once in the morning and once in the evening, I scrubbed the scabs and reopened the cuts. It wasn't too difficult, once again due to the size. Then on day three I recut them just as I had done before. I have continued following the schedule of one day scrub, the next day cut for the last month. I may have a lot of scalpels but I don't have enough to use a new one each time so I reuse each of them twice, each time disinfecting it with alcohol just after use and just prior to it.

The more recent recuttings have been different from the early ones. Scar tissue is now (thankfully) forming and getting through that is at first numb, then more painful than normal. At this point the scabs are also about equal parts lymph. As I hoped the little stars aren't visible, it looks like prefect dots.

Over the course of the month and something like 15 recuttings it's now very clear that it will scar. I'm still doing it and honestly have no idea when I'll see fit to stop but at this point I love the ritual of it, which has grown to have a powerful meaning all of it's own. This has been my most meaning, most time consuming (now at two months, one of placement and one of cutting) and paradoxically most simple modification. Only a few people notice the scars and realize what they are. These still forming scars are beautiful to me and I love explaining the meaning behind them to the people that no notice them. They seem to be fulfilling their original propose.

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 05 Aug. 2004
in Scarification

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Artist: Myself
Studio: +
Location: North+Carolina

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