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Body Mods. Not sure if this counts.


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I've been thinking about this a lot recently.  I've had several friends and others ask me why I would want to be tattooed and/or pierced.  Interestingly, most are wigged out more by the piercings.  Weird to me, because the needle only takes like a second to go through.

What I'm wondering is this-- does body modification count as self injury?  Here are my thoughts:

It seems so beyond some people why anyone would want to "mark their bodies" or "punch holes in themselves", etc.  At first I had no explanation for them, other than aesthetics.  But after some thought, I usualy give the following reasons:

I think they are attractive.

They make me more of an individual.

I align myself with the tat symbols I use (rat footprints on my ankle= I love rats, also born in the Year of the Rat).

They are benchmarks of growth in my life.

I stand out to others like me.

They are protective symbols-- they cover me up in an almost folk-magic sort of way.

I enjoy the pain.

I like others to see that I withstood the pain.

With a couple of friends, I've tried to explain that I feel like allowing myself to be hurt by another in this way is almost like giving in to the inevitability of death.  A submersion of myself within the dark destruction/creation of nature.  It's a way of embracing my own end, getting a glimpse of it, and making friends with it.

I dissociate very easily, obviously.  I had visions while I was being tattooed (piercing is way to fast for my mind to go anywhere).  The pain was always there, sometimes slashing through my veil and insisting on being heard.  But it was good, because I was alive, I was subject to all the rules of the game.  I was not immune to pain and death. 

I am a former anorexic.  I've attempted suicide once.  I never cut or burned myself, but I've hurt myself on other ways, bad enough to bleed.  I was raped at 15 by an adult stranger at a party, while I was passed out.  I have plenty of other religious and sexual baggage.  For the first two thirds of my life I had a distinct death wish.  At this point, it comes and goes, but I've made promises to my husband and a couple of other people that I won't put them through it.  As a side note, it's only been since I've been feeling better about myself that I've started transforming myself via Bod Mod.

My total count so far:

two tats, one small and one medium.

piercings, 10 (no nipples or nether bits).

Total time in the Pain Chair:

five hours.

I want more tats, as soon as I can afford them.  I'm going to be graduating to designs in areas where they can be seen easily (hands, arms . . .).  All my piercings are standard size.  I don't have much interest in scarification, but it's just not my cup of tea (used pain killer and kitchen cleaner to attempt to off myself).

Anyone else have comments?  Can anyone relate to what I've said?

J.

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I just got a tatt last week as a replacement for cutting ( I hope) we'll see.

http://photos21.flickr.com/31597716_46f472b98c.jpg

thats my tatt

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

well, that's the one problem with getting tats instead of cutting--it's only a temporary replacement. so you end up having to get a zillion tats or you actually have to work on the issues involved in why you're cutting. But if the tats help as a temporary measure then that's good.

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It's pretty.  I like it.

I don't know if what I'm doing is self harm.  I think maybe it is, and is also a way to show people I've been hurt.  Also to make friends with others who've been hurt, although not all decorated folks are broken in some way.

A zillion tats isn't so bad, as long as you don't go broke getting them.  Has anyone ever gotten a look at "The Enigma"?  Look him up online, if you haven't.  The guy is tattooed with blue puzzle pieces all over his body (he appeared once on X-files as himself, in the role of a circus geek).  Now that he's run out of room, he's taken to scarification.

J.

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I consider body mods such as tattoos as good things, as long as you give a lot of consideration to them...lifetime committment, folks.

Um, I have a few/several/many tattoos.

One of my favs: www.seenster.com/julian_tattoos.jpg

My ex-fiancee/fiancee/ex-fiancee/I don't know anymore: www.seenster.com/melissa_tattoos.jpg

I had to blur her face out for obvious reasons.

xo

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I consider body mods such as tattoos as good things, as long as you give a lot of consideration to them...lifetime committment, folks.

Um, I have a few/several/many tattoos.

One of my favs: www.seenster.com/julian_tattoos.jpg

My ex-fiancee/fiancee/ex-fiancee/I don't know anymore: www.seenster.com/melissa_tattoos.jpg

I had to blur her face out for obvious reasons.

xo

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

don't get me wrong; i love my tattoos. i just really believe that one has to get at the underlying reasons as to why they want to SI because getting any type of body mod as a replacement for SI ain't gonna cut it (no pun intended) for long.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Years of introspection, therapy and apathy have pretty much gotten to the underlying reasons for SI...for me.  I totally misunderstood the point of this thread, but I don't associate the pain or scarring with any kind of SI.  I don't even feel anything at all...no needle or anything.  As for showing past emotional issues in art...I totally agree...all of mine take it into consideration.

At least I haven't gotten the name of a SO tattooed on myself yet.  I did want to get a Kate Chopin quote on my arm...but cooler (and less manic) heads prevailed.

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What I'm wondering is this-- does body modification count as self injury?

The general answer is "no".  For various psychological and what-not reasons.

But basically, it has to do with the "why" more than the pain.

We talk so much here about WHY we SI, about the pain, the yriggers, etc. that cause the acts of self harm.

But... body mods are, even in the case of branding, tongue piecing, and the like, not seen as a means to hurt oneself so much as to make a statement, both personal and to society (well, save for tats and peicings in, uh, socially covered spots, even though some will brag about those--but even then, it's a statement).

Oh, someone who SI's can go and get tatted up, branded, whatever, as a means to inflict the pain in a different way...but, *I* think that would be more of a thing where they have gotten to like pain (see threads about SI being addictive--not sure if they're here, but on the old board for sure).

Basically--SI is passionate, heat-of-the-moment, gotta SCREAM-get-the-pain-OUT.

Body mods are planned, enjoyed, something to be proud of--well, til you get married or get a "real" job and have to have to have that tat of a naked Valkrie on your bicep removed by a laser...

Anyways, just my take.

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I consider my body mods as part of my SI kind of psyche - I wouldn't do them if I was a  scaredy cat pain shirking person.  At the end of the day, though, I would rather that someone thought I was a pseudo-cool alterna-chick with piercings rather than a self-harming, attention-seeking borderline. My wrist scars speak volumes, and I hate what they say.

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Along with my arms and upper legs being covered (and I mean covered) in scars...I also have tats on me (7 I think) most I wish werent there...and most were done in the heat of the moment and I cant say were planned and were during a time when I was cutting very often. Whether this has one thing to do with the other is beyond me...I dont know.

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I have and still do stick pins and needles through various parts of my body. I use the big dressmakers pins with the pretty coloured ball on one end...sometimes it is very much SI and sometimes it seems more a meditation. I pour candle wax on my more tender parts too...so what is the line between sexual experimentation and SI???

Been toying with the idea of tats for a while, right now I'm too freaky and couldn't sit still that long. I'm also considereing getting nipple piercings... I'm curious if tweaking the rongs would be enough pain to ground me in the here and now, or shut off the chaos and screaming in my head...I still haven't made up what passes for my mind.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had one tat before and said to myself, if I refrain from cutting for a month, I will reward myself with another one.

So 2 days ago I went and got... THREE tats done, but since they're all smaller than my first one, they only count as one. Or something like that.

Although I can't decide whether or not my decision to have them done in some of the most painful places on the body were purely aesthetic, or if SI had something to do with it. Hrm.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I stopped cutting....last year sometime.  I don't remember exactly when, but it's been a damn long while.  I do plan to get a nipple pierced.  In my head, they're completely unrelated.  (I want it cause I was with another guy that had it, and....it was LOTS of fun.  FOr both of us).  I want the end result; if I could get it without the pain, I would.

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