I Love My Arm
I am not entirely sure if my story will fit in with this site, since everything on my body, from piercings to scars, were done either by me or one of my friends. Since I've never been to any body modification sites until recently, and I don't quite have the terms down yet, but here goes.
When I was younger (let's not specify age or anything) I was pretty screwed up, and for some reason or another, I began cutting because it helped me feel better about whatever situation I found myself in.
After a while, I began to get tired of the constant questions about the randomly arranged scars on my left forearm. During a particularly boring English Literature class, I started "connecting the dots" on my arm, and I made a decent looking butterfly out of the existing scars using lovely green ink. A few boring lectures later, I had a butterfly pattern I liked using nearly all of the existing scars. After some fairly serious consideration, I decided a permanent decorative butterfly would be better than a permanent array of slash marks left over from screwed up teenage years.
The only thing left to do was make my arm the butterfly. Using my razor blade, I started cutting out one of the wings, trying to maintain an even depth and width of the cut. I almost stopped when I was only done with one of the wings because all of the blood was really scaring me, but I told myself that I would regret it if I didn't continue, so I kept going. About an hour later, i had a finished butterfly, and several bloody tissues. I was really scared at this point, and I wished I had someone who actually knew what they were doing making the butterfly come to life, but it was too late at this point. I used what little first-aid information I knew, and hoped my arm would be alright.
While my arm was healing, I wore long-sleeved shirts nearly everywhere, regardless of the weather. About four weeks later, I had a nice, even scar outlining my butterfly. I soon felt comfortable enough with my arm to switch back to wearing shirts that exposed my forearms. I got some complements on it, and some people looked at me like I was insane, but it's my body, and I like how my arm looks now. I tell most people that I had it done by a professional to keep nosy questions to a minimum, but the people I've told the truth are generally impressed that I can draw a butterfly, let alone carve one into my arm. If I turn my arm just right I can make it look like the butterfly is flapping its wings.
I wouldn't recommend to most people that they try to cut or scar themselves at home. Looking back, I wish I had at least consulted someone other than my best friend, because the scarring is not entirely consistent, and there are still some stray scars not incorporated into the butterfly design. If people ask, I generally attribute them to clumsiness over the years, but someday they might become a branch or a flower for the butterfly to rest on.
Since the scars are only the outline of a butterfly, I usually color it in with sharpies or markers to make it colorful and more lifelike. I considered a tattoo of the colors, but I like being able to change the colors every couple of weeks. My arm is now my own personal mood ring. My friends can generally tell what mood I'm in by what color my arm is. It's usually red and orange when i'm mad, blue and green when I'm happy, or a mix of random colors when I'm in between moods. If I'm feeling really creative, I can make my butterfly wings match my hair color of the week.
If nothing else, my arm is a topic of conversation whenever I meet new people. It also classifies them into different personality types. Some people ask about my arm right away. Some people stare at it, but avoid mentioning anything, and choose to instead comment on the weather. Some people don't notice it at all, and treat me like a normal human being regardless of what my extremities look like. I generally dislike people who stare but don't say anything. A piece of advice to anyone who reads this: don't be afraid to ask questions! If a person likes something enough to make it a part of his or her body, the person will not be offended by tactful questions. Staring is rude, talking is not.
I'm very happy that I was able to turn the arm I was ashamed of into a work of art I can be proud of. I know other people who have done similar things to birth marks, moles, or scars from surgery, and I hope someone reading this will be able to improve his or her self image with a little simple body modification by a professional.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 18 Jan. 2005