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Scars over scars

When I was younger, I went through some bad times, and, as some teenagers do, I picked up a razor. I also tended to pick up knives, glue guns and cigarettes when a razor wasn't available, but I gravitated towards the razor when I was really down. There was something about the speed and depth of a cut that razors made that was just what I needed when I was spiraling out of control. For people who have never cut, it is impossible to understand. There was a calm that would overtake me as soon as I could see the blood.... but I had to see the blood. Which meant I cut in fairly visible spots.

I stopped cutting when I was 22 years old. It wasn't a conscious action; I just didn't need it any more, at least not in that point of my life. Of course as we all know, cutting leaves scars. I had over 80 scars on my left upper arm, ranging from the width of a hair, to a width of close to half an inch. I also had scars on my legs and my shoulders, but there were four on my upper arm that were very visible, two of them below the sleeve of a regular t-shirt.

As I moved on in my life I was questioned regularly about the scars. Usually it was "oh my god what happened to your arm". At first I was ashamed, I would make up a quick lie and change the subject as fast as possible. But I knew it was an issue that if never confronted and talked about, would haunt me. No one wakes up in the morning and says "WOW what a beautiful day, I think I'll slice myself up!". Cutting is typically born of depression, frustration and feelings of loss of control and until you are able to say, " This is where I was, this is what I did" you can never heal the internal and psychological wounds that lead you cut in the first place. So I started telling people, I was hurt, I was depressed, I didn't drink, I didn't do drugs.... I cut myself, that was how I dealt with it all. That was my vice, that was my addiction.

After telling a few co-workers I was introduced to a friend of a friend who had previously owned a tattoo and scarification shop. We became good friends. I began going through another rough patch in my life and on and off, the thought of cutting myself would pop into my mind. I called my friend and said you know what, I don't want to cut myself this time; I want you to cut me. I want you to use these scars and make something beautiful out of them.

So after talking for a while we decided on a Celtic trinity knot. She no longer had a studio so I went to her place where she was in the process of setting up a studio in her basement. She drew on the design, I approved and she got down to work. The first cut stung a bit, but wasn't bad. The next few cuts were much more intense, mostly because she was cutting over and through previous scars. At times, I wasn't sure I had made the right choice, when some one is cutting down into a previously made incision, it can make you think real hard. I thought about all the other times I had cut myself, how it never really hurt, I was always too amped up to actually feel what I was doing to myself. And I was glad, sitting there in that chair, that it did hurt, that I was feeling, finally, what I had done to myself for so long. It helped reaffirm in my mind that mentally, I had weathered the storm and come out on top. It was a completely different feeling than cutting myself, it was controlled and slow, and not the semi-manic slashing I had taken to as a youngster. When she was done with the first phase I was thrilled. My haphazard cuts were being born into a beautiful design.

Unfortunately I moved across the US soon after and still haven't had the remainder of my scarification completed. But I am content with where it is, I still get remarks, and I have stuck with my promise to myself to be honest with people when they ask what happened to my arm. I don't know if I will ever get the design completed. I don't know that I need to, cutting for me, whether by a professional or myself has always been associated with down points of my life, and I'm just not there at this point. I can't say I'll never cut again and I can't say I'll never let someone else cut me, all I can say is that for me, its a need based release that


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 19 Feb. 2006
in Scarification

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Artist: Tashi
Studio: Home+Studio
Location: East+coast

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