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A Cautionary Tale Regarding Scarifiaction, and the reactions of those you care about.

My first attempt at a scarification was not a ritualistic one, nor even an attempt at suicide, as appears to be so common these days. My first scarification was not even intended to be a scar. It was a much more mundane affair – an attempt to refocus my boyfriend's waning attention back upon me.

I had my first affair at the tender age of 18, and I had assumed, at the time, that my partner held the same assumptions about sex as I did – that it was a release of energy, of hormones. In my young mind, my adulterous liaison with my best friend had meant nothing significant in the long term effects of our friendship. Unfortunately, both my friend and my boyfriend seemed to have got the two mixed up, and they both got a little... confused... I had to have a talk with the two of them, explaining that I loved my boyfriend, and that any intimate feelings that my friend had experienced had been simple friendship and sexual gratification.

I had no feelings other than friendship with the young man I cheated on my boyfriend with, but it seemed that this simple act of sexual pleasure had complicated the relationship I had with my boyfriend – almost irreparably, it seemed at the time. He found it very difficult to trust and confide in me for a number of weeks after I had 'cheated' on him with my friend, during which time I became quite miserable and hopeless.

I had known my boyfriend for over a year before this turbulent period, and had already heard his tales of self harm, from before I had met him. He had been bullied and ostracised for most of his life, and had been picked on for his intellect and nerdishness. He had begun cutting himself at a young age, and had told me of this turbulent period in his life at the beginning of our relationship.

He had first informed me of this dark period of his life when he was tidying his bedroom for the first time I would be sleeping over at his house. Among the debris that littered his bedroom floor, he found a razor blade which he had used to relieve his feelings at the time. He told me of the upsetting things he had done for many years before meeting me. It had upset me quite a lot at the time, as he had been the first person I had met that had injured themselves, to my knowledge. I swore that I would forever keep him happy with me, so that he would no longer have to do that sort of thing.

However, when I cheated on him, I was filled with a sense of guilt, and, recalling his tales of coping with bullying, I began to cut my wrists. I remember getting a brand new unused razor out of its packet, cutting the plastic which bound the two blades together, and slicing six deep cuts into my right wrist, and three into my left wrist. It surprised me how little it hurt, at the time, and also how much it bled. I stopped the bleeding, and just ended up with scars on my wrists. Whenever anyone asked, I blamed my aunt's cat for the scratch marks.

My boyfriend was incredibly disappointed in me for having cut myself – it turned out that his first girlfriend, at about 13 years old, had had an abusive father, and had begun to cut herself. My boyfriend had been a sympathetic ear to his friend, and had begun to cut himself at the same time. He had told her how he relieved the tension he felt, by cutting his wrists with razor blades, but then felt guilty when his girlfriend began to do the same, feeling guilty for her actions. When he discovered that I had begun to do the same thing, he blamed himself – he was the link in common between the two of us.

Eventually, he got over it, with many apologies and demonstrations of my affection (which I shall not go into here). Unfortunately, this summer, I unwittingly brought all of these memories back to the surface again, when I prepared to give myself a small-scale scarification.

Opening a fresh scalpel blade, (I am a Zoology student, and therefore have access to these every day) I cut a circle into my right knee. It was an imperfect procedure, as I was drunk at the time, and the circle's outline was uneven. However, it healed perfectly, leaving a faint pink scar. Unfortunately, my boyfriend still ignores it, as he associates voluntary scarification with a suicidal state of mind.

I, on the other hand, see scarification as a valid form of body art, but am limited in my acquisition of it to designs that my boyfriend can accept and learn to ignore.

So, when you are planning a scarification piece, make sure that anyone who is important in your life at the time knows about it, as they might not approve. Especially if they have been involved in self-cutting in the past.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 04 March 2008
in Scarification

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Artist: Me
Studio: At+home
Location: Limerick%2C+Ireland

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