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Some wear their hearts on their sleeve....

To begin with, I do have a history of being an angry teenager. I do have a history of using cutting as a form of self-injury. But before you discount this as the work of an angsty youngster, please know that recently, I have also discovered it to be most effective as a form of art.

I became interested in body modification just over a year ago. At the time, I was really looking for other self-injurers. However, I came across BME and it caught my eye. Here were people who did things to themselves for the sake of beauty, not pain. I was intrigued, and have been learning as much about body modification as I can ever since.

At the beginning of this year, I was betrayed by one of my closest friends. It was a typical teenage girl situation; girl likes boy, boy likes girl's friend, girl's friend gets with boy. Only this hurt like hell, because my friend knew how much I liked this guy. So, I turned to cutting for relief.

With all the stress of the time, I did not know what else to do. The school year had just started, and I had college applications to work on, homework to do, tests to study for, and papers to write. All my other friends had similar workloads, so there was no one for me to talk to, and I needed immediate relief. So, I decided to cut.

Usually, I work by cutting a word or phrase. In a way, it becomes a banner of whatever I feel inside because I can't express it with words. This time, though, I didn't even know what I wanted to say.

I sat at my desk thinking about it. It was a situation where I wished my emotions were easy to read, because then I'd be able to understand myself. If only my heart was on my sleeve.

So then it hit me. I could cut a heart.

Only, I did not actually want it on my sleeve. Forearms are too easily revealed in California, and even though I wear a watch, wrists are too cliché, even for me. Last year I had taken to cutting on my hips, but in this dorm (I go to boarding school), there are communal showers, so someone would doubtless see. So, I decided to make my mark on my ankle.

I took a tack out of my corkboard and set to work. While I have a big knife, I couldn't use it. I am a horseback rider and use my knife at the barns, so it would probably be extremely unsanitary, and I have always used tacks in the past. Though it is probably a more painful, time-consuming method, it helped me focus and get the lines exactly the way I wanted them.

The next day, it was exactly as I wanted. In the days that followed, I let it heal, occasionally picking at the scab. By the time the last of the scab was gone, my friend and my crush had long since broken up, and she had reconciled with me. That issue was no longer a problem, but I still had a translucent heart on my inner left ankle. And I loved it.

Though created out of pain, it was now a sign of my strength. I was able to get myself through an unfortunate situation with minimal damage, and I was left with something beautiful. The heart represents inner strength, and this was a physical symbol of the love I owe to myself.

I have since almost completely stopped using self-injury as a way of coping with emotional distress. I still have scars, but instead of being reminders of pain and misery, they are marks of survival and a way of saying goodbye to the past. My scars are pieces of art. They are a tribute to the fact that I lived through emotionally dark times.

After a few months, the heart on my ankle began to fade, and I decided to re-carve it. Only this time, it was not out of emotional pain; instead, it was because I wanted to remind myself of the fact that I deserve to be loved, and everyone should see that.

The heart is a simple, reddish design, and is obvious to anyone looking in the general direction of my ankle. Since I did not spend much time irritating it, it did not keloid, and there is a chance that it will not last forever. I may let it just fade as time goes by, but for now, it stands as a beautiful tribute to my self-worth and just how much I deserve love and happiness.

Though I do not necessarily recommend doing your own scars, mine was a positive experience. To everyone out there, love yourselves, no matter what happens. Good luck.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 22 April 2006
in Scarification

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Artist: self-done
Studio: boarding+school
Location: CA

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