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Enlightenment doesn't come without pain

I'll start at the end, I always think it's a good place to begin, as I'm writing this my arm is still pulsing and tingling from just having my upper right arm cut and quite a bit of skin peeling done by Luke in Leeds, UK, It all started about 6 weeks ago when I was trying to think about a design for a full arm tattoo and I just couldn't think of anything, then one day I came across a design on a DVD cover and thought it world look amazing as a cutting, days passed and I was still trying to think of a tattoo for my arm but couldn't, then all of a sudden it struck me that the picture I was playing around with for the cutting would look great on my arm, its here that the idea for a full arm cutting stared its life.

The next step was to pass the design on to Luke and see if he was willing and able to do it the way I wanted it. We discussed what would look good what wouldn't, which bits to leave and which bits to remove all was straight forward up to this point, that was about 2 weeks ago. Most of the last 2 weeks have involved me talking about want I wanted to people, talking to myself about getting it and basically not being able to do anything else in my life, at one point I was dreaming about having it cut, it had taken over my life so I NEEDED to have it done ASAP just so I could get on with the rest of my life.

So this morning I woke up from another restless sleep to the most beautiful day this country has seen all year and I thought today's the day I'm going to get my cutting and this is where the journey really begins. I set off from college at 12:00 noon for a walk to the train station a nice 40 min walk got to the train station just in time for the train to Leeds arriving at Leeds train station at about 13:30 to a welcoming party of no less then 15 police officers making people with bags go through an airport like metal detector and scanning bags, I'm guessing it was something to do with the local elections we had today. Another half hour walk to Luke's, don't mind this as you get to walk past the university and met and the all important Hyde park. I arrive at my destination at 14:00.

After arriving I was given my first piece of bad news, he wasn't ready to do it, my heart sunk I thought I've come all this way for nothing, I should of rung. I explained about the last 2 weeks to Luke and we arranged a time for later that afternoon, 4pm. Not a problem and off I went for a walk around Leeds. As the afternoon crept on and towards 4pm all I could think about was "this doesn't feel right" however this was just a very small voice that I quickly ignored, I'd been waiting to long to back out now, I just put it down to nerves.

Arriving back at the studio I had to wait another 30mins while Luke finished a piercing, while I sat there 2 lasses were looking at Luke's portfolio one of them recognised me from one of the picture's so we started chatting about my piercing's, when they came across the scarification pictures, shocked isn't the word, mortified would be a closer description they just couldn't believe that someone would want to do that, at this point they asked me what I was there for and when I said for some scarification the questions just flowed and I tried to explain to them the reasons behind doing something like that to yourself or more to the point letting someone do it to you, so that they would be more understanding of the whys and what for's, I don't think I did good job my speech had already been affect by the adrenaline.

After this agonising wait it was finally time to get started, it's a strange feeling going to get something like this done, you know it's going to really hurt, hurt a lot more then tattoos or piercing's, to late now the shirt was off and the stencil was placed, after a few attempts anyway. I've had a small cutting done before so I knew what the out line was going to feel like so when Luke said ready I didn't hesitate to just let him get on with it and so he began. And just as I remembered it wasn't as painful as you would expect so I just laid back and enjoyed the feeling of total relaxation that is similar to getting a tattoo, it just seems to feel a bit sharper, it is a scalpel after all.

He got about 2 thirds of the way through the out line he asked me if I was ready to start having the parts of skin removed that we agreed on earlier so I said yeah, that was the point of being there in the first place. So he started by lifting up a small corner and started to slice, I have not felt a pain like this in my life before, it hurt A LOT but I just grinned and tried my hardest to keep on breathing. The only way I can explain the feeling is it feels just like you'd expect (if you've ever seen a horror film where someone gets skinned a live and you've imagined what that feels like, its exactly how it does feel) the only problem he came across was the fact that I was bleeding more then expected so we had to rethink the amount of skin to remove (I wanted more in the beginning but it wasn't going to happen, there's always next time)

Luke had finished the first part of removal and the remainder of the out line I was differently feeling disconnected from the room and my speech was as if I wasn't in control of the things I was saying, apart from that all was going well. After our little break it was back to the task in hand, as Luke carried on, the pain was increasing with it being a lot more painful towards my elbow, the best thing I can say about going through this was that I felt completely and utterly cut off from the world, nothing to think about apart from the pain and when you turn that off the world just seems so calm and without any problems. Towards the back end of the 2 and a half hours that this took the pain was getting to be slightly unbearable but it's well worth the pain just to have a total release from the world around us.

After Luke had finish and I'd got cleaned up I was back off to Barnsley in a mood I can only describe as detached, I knew exactly what was going on around me and aware of the world but for some 5 hours afterwards nothing mattered not even the fact that I had no cigarettes. And that takes us to the end, neatly where I started, if anyone's considering getting this done all I can say is go for it, however I'd of picked a smaller design then the one I'd worked on (it looked a lot smaller on paper).

Have fun and play safe


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 25 Dec. 2006
in Scarification

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Artist: Luck
Studio: Physical+poetry
Location: Leeds

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