Preface: I am adopted. I was adopted before I was a year old. I still suffer from the mental health consequences as a person in their mid-20s.
I once read a fascinating article online. It was about the horror genre. It was why (effectively) about why some people love the horror genre and why some people naturally flock to it, so to speak. The article (I can’t for the life of me re-find it) was stating that people who have gone through hardship in their life often find relief in the horror genre. It is like they find catharsis in the horror genre because it allows them to feel a sense of control over their own brutal history.
I have always been attracted to the horror genre for reasons I could never quite explain. I believe that horror article really put everything into words that I could never find the explanation for. As I grew older, I always enjoyed looking up spooky paranormal related art and writings. I loved playing horror video games. It made me feel on the edge of my seat, but looking back, in a way, I feel like it was a way to release all this bent up, negative energy that my brain was clinging onto due to bad instincts that manifested in the worst way possible that caused me even more psychological trauma.
Body modification has similar psychology behind it for the kind of modification that involves some type of pain (scarification, tattoos, piercing, gliding, etc.) When we feel physical pain, the short and simple version is that our brain creates a hormonal-chemical cocktail to help give us pain relief. It is our brain’s way of trying to relieve the physical body of the immediate trauma. Many people use body modification as a way to “purify” and/or create beautiful artistic designs to help them feel better.
Body modification, in of itself has a fascinating history across the globe. Every culture has viewed them in a slightly different light. To give a brief history for the USA: body modification has been frowned upon due to it being associated predominantly with criminals. Military people (in particular, sailors) would often get tattoos in “traditional designs” (they are known for their bold lines and bright simple colors like green, white, red, and yellow — you’ve likely seen them at some point in your life with them often taking on the visual of an eagle, pretty woman, or some kind of ship design). It wasn’t until the 90s roughly where tattoos, in particular, became more of a common thing among other people. It practically exploded in popularity during the 2000s.
I was born in the mid-1990s. I have always been fascinated by tattoos and body modification. I didn’t get a tattoo until my early 20s. I have plans for many other types of modification (scarification, more tattoos, more piercings), but right now my next idea is to use scarification to help release the negative energies and emotions I still have been carried around with me because of the very traumatic experience I went through with cancer and chemotherapy.
My body is a temple that’s constantly in pain because of my chronic health conditions and I am finding a way to cope and make it beautiful in my own way.