Scar Stories → Amanda

I have always been very interested in scars, recognized them as markers. I have always scarred easily (only as an adult have I found out it is due to keloiding) and so I had to become comfortable with imperfections early on in life. More than comfortable really. I always felt proud of my scars. Since childhood I liked to pick my scabs, the warning from my mother “Stop picking it will scar,” was encouragement she couldn’t grasp.

To me they are visible symbols of the events we have experienced, an incredible reaction to our environmental interactions. On more than one occasion I have too eagerly inquired about the scars others have, or don’t have. (I dated a guy once who did not have a single scar on his whole body. I remember thinking “Haven’t you ever fallen? Where is the proof?”) Scars began to find their way into my healthy appreciation for body modification, and in my own art as I pursue my deep appreciation and curiosity of the body.

So it was on one stormy Halloween night (don’t make too much of that) that a”friend” of mine and I decided to participate in a scarification ritual. For me it was to be an annual marker, an eventual segmented band around my arm, to grow over time. We had discussed what and where was to pass, but despite our preparations and discussions he took the opportunity to slash me. I was unprepared and looking away in mid-sentence when he swiped the blade across my upper arm. It was the deepest cut I have ever seen in my life. I was staring at my muscle, all fat peeled back in layers, blood and pain all over my world.

It did NOT go as I had hoped. But I must say it provided me with a very intimate view of myself. I was in awe for a few days at the pure fleshiness of my body – that I am just meat and bones and some thing that makes me … me. My arm was useless for days. However, I did not get stitches, I chose to deal with it myself and embrace the scar that would be. Because of the keloiding, it was a giant veiny purplish mound on my shoulder for many many many years. It has toned down a bit, not quite so purplish or veiny now. I like it when my friends touch it or my lovers hand goes over it…. my very complicated beauty mark. I find myself now receiving those eager inquiries and I don’t always want to answer with the whole truth. But my scar was a choice I made. And I love it like all of my other scars, like all of my other choices. It has led me here…

20th century medicine