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Spreading my wings

I consider myself to be a rather expressive person. The biggest way I have found to do that is through tattoos. They express my different thoughts and feelings, and become a part of me. And while I am no done decorating my skin with tattoos by a long shot, I wanted something different. So I started looking into other ways of having art on my skin. I started looking at scarification. I'll admit the thought scared me at first. I was a cutter for awhile. I had spent years battling with harming myself and I still have scars that show what I've been through. I was afraid that doing a scarification piece would stir up those feelings again. But the more I thought on it, the more I wanted to do it. I wanted to have a piece that would take that dark place and instead make it something beautiful. I was going to reclaim my body and not be afraid of those feelings.

So I started to do some research on scarification. I had been browsing online one day, and I came across a piece done by Brian Decker. It was amazing, and fell in love with the idea of having this done on myself. I knew the instant I saw the picture that it was time to do this. I already knew where I wanted the scarification to be. I wanted something done on my abdomen, and now I had found my artist. The last step was the design. I had decided on a phoenix. It represents a change in my life as a whole, me becoming reborn as a person into my true self. Having done as a scar rather than a tattoo was exactly how I saw it should be. The beauty of the bird would be brought out by the individual ways the lines healed. So I took a ride out to Brooklyn to meet with Brian. I asked him questions about the procedure, and we discussed my design idea. We found some pictures to work from, and I made an appointment for a few weeks later. I could barely stand the waiting.

The day of the appointment finally arrived, and I was nervous and excited all at the same time. I was fortunate enough to have two friends that were willing to come with me. It meant a lot to me to have them there. So we all went out to Brooklyn and arrived at the studio earlier than expected. We headed inside the studio, and there on the table was a picture of my phoenix. I had been e-mailed a picture of the design, but to actually see it on paper in person got me excited. I was ready to go. Brian went down to set up the area and myself and my friends headed downstairs for my transformation.

I'll admit I was quite nervous. I had never had anything like this done before. I was assured that it wasn't as bad as I was thinking it would be. The stencil was applied to my abdomen, and it was absolutely perfect. Just looking at it made me happy. I lay down on the chair, and it was time to begin. Brian picked up the scalpel and explained that the initial cuts were to just open up the skin. Honestly it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. It burned a little, but it was bearable. Brian took his time scoring each line carefully. Once the outline was finished, it was time to apply the numbing gel, which did burn when it came in contact with the cuts, but then everything went numb. I didn't feel anything after that. I watched when I could, and would glance down from time to time. My entire belly was red, and I joked with my friends that I looked like a crime scene victim. Inside I was beaming just knowing that I would soon have a one of a kind amazing piece of art carved into my

The whole process took around 6-7 hours. The worst part was towards the end when the numbing gel was wearing off a bit. I had several small pieces of skin removed. Those were pretty intense, I could feel them coming off. I felt a little off because my brain was trying to process the sensation of the skin being open, but couldn't figure out why there was no feeling in the area. The clean up was probably the worst part of the whole ordeal. I was bandaged and sent on my way. I was exhausted and thankful that I had friends with me to get me home. The shower the next morning was pretty intense, I almost didn't think I'd be able to manage it. The first couple of days the skin felt weird when it touched the air. I'm on day ten right now, and it looks really great. I can't wait for it to settle down.

All in all it was an amazing experience. Something I would do again in a heartbeat. I found a way to take something that was painful for me and turn it into something beautiful and special.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 23 Nov. 2009
in Scarification

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Artist: Brian+Decker
Studio: Pure+Body+Arts
Location: Brooklyn%2C+NY

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