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How I Got My Wings

For a long time, I've been interested in different body modifications. When about 8 or 9, I remember watching a TV show with my mom about people with the different body modifications. The show featured implants and transdermals as well as piercings and tattoos. Mom thought is was abnormal and told me a person would have to be out of their mind to do it. Now, I'm 22, and my mom thinks I've lost my mind.

When I was in high school, I went through a great phase of depression. I was a cutter. I went through periods where I truly wanted to die. I cut regularly for almost 3 years. Since then, I've been diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder. I'm working with doctors to fix the problems, but it's been incredibly hard to fight the urge to harm myself.

I wanted to do something special for my birthday. 22 has always been my number and this year, I was 22 on January 22. I'd gone almost a year without harming myself and I thought of being scared as an absolute end to my cutting habit. I wanted to try scarification, but I didn't know any place around here that offered it. It was like a sign when my piercer, Chris, posted on their website that he was now offering scarification. I knew it was what I wanted to do. I talked to him for a while about it and I decided I wanted angel wings on my back. He drew them out for me.

After several visits and many emails, I was set up to do it January 23, the day after my birthday. I took 2 weeks off of work because I didn't really know what to expect afterwards. My best friend, Aimee, agreed to go with me. I was so nervous and excited.

I arrived at the shop about an hour before it was to start. He cleaned the room and positioned the outline on my back. It took several tries to get in on perfect, but it was worth it. I climbed onto the table and laid face down. Everything was all neat and clean. It almost looked like a hospital setup. I was surprised. It didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would. Don't get me wrong, it did hurt, just not in the way I expected. It burned. Overall, it was just slightly worse than a tattoo. I tried to think about my past and everything I'd gone through and how this would be my closure. Aimee was there to hold my hand. Twice, she started crying and had to leave the room. It was kind of funny to me because she has more tattoos than anyone I know and it hurt her to see me have it done. But Chris tried to talk to me while she was gone. He talked to me often, making sure I was ok and keeping me up to date on progress. I could feel blood running down my side. After I got up when it was over, I noticed there was a lot of blood. I knew I would bleed a good bit, but until I saw it I didn't realize it. The worst part to me was the noise it made. I don't really know how to describe it. I can still hear it when I think about it. There's just something wrong knowing that noise is the sound of flesh being cut. During the entire process, I never spoke. I never cried. The only move I made during the entire thing was shaking. When I go through something stressful, be it a tattoo or an angry customer at work, I shake. To me, it only felt like it took about 20 minutes, however, Aimee said it was a little more than an hour. He gave me candy when it was over. It was to help with possible blood sugar issues, but it reminded me of when I was a little kid and I got a sucker at the doctors office after they gave me a shot.

I was awake all night. At first it was the rush from the procedure. 2 movies later, I just couldn't get adjusted to sleeping face down. The only time I've ever really gotten close to passing out was the first time I took a shower. I don't know why, because it didn't really hurt. It was just overwhelming. My back felt stiff for about a week. I showered 3 to 4 times a day because it felt better afterwards. It itched like crazy. I was happy it was something I could itch freely cause I did. It still itches on occasion, and I still scratch it. Several friends bought me back-scratchers.

It's been 6 months now and I'm planning on doing it again. I'm going to add more detail to my wings before I start a new project. When I originally saw the pictures of the experience, it didn't bother me. The odd thing is when I look at them now, it makes me cringe and think that looks like it really hurt. I still have the urge to harm myself sometimes, but I know it's not necessary. There are other options.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 05 Aug. 2007
in Scarification

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Artist: Chris
Studio: Underground+Art
Location: Memphis+TN

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