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The Addiction of the Nineties: a Trip through the Dark Realm of Body Modification

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The Addiction of the Nineties: a Trip through the Dark Realm of Body Modification A fifteen year old girl named Lindsay walks into a bathroom and stares at herself in the mirror. She notices the razor blade and looks at herself again, seeing nothing more than a body without a soul. Her parents divorced and seeing herself as completely unattractive, she starts to cut herself. At first it hurts but she continues to cut until she bleeds and realizes that there is life within her. She has never felt so alive (Strong 36- 37). Lindsay was displeased not only within the life she lived, but within herself as well. To prove to herself that she was indeed alive, she chooses to cut herself. In the book A Bright Red Scream, by Marilee Strong, it explains that, "researchers have begun to uncover the complex ways in which cutting provides both psychological and physiological relief from states of overwhelming tension and arousal" (43). It continues by explaining that, "cutting redefines the bodies' boundaries, differentiating self from others. Blood flowing from wounds proves there is life inside the body instead of nothingness" (47). ...read more.


Body modification doesn't just cause these feelings it is also a result of these feelings. There are some people, however, that feel that body modification can be a form of therapy, especially when a person has had an abusive childhood. In her book, Mutilating the Body: Identity in Blood and Ink, Kim Hewitt states that body modification may be "attempts to self-heal, or at least self-medicate," (6). Favazza agrees that self-mutilation and/or body modification can provide "temporary relief" and control of the pain caused by the stresses of everyday life. However, he also believes that this relief is only temporary and deep down a self-mutilator feels miserable (288). Body Modification can not only leave the self-mutilator feeling dismal, but their friends and family as well. Cathy Collins boyfriend of eight years had left her after her self-mutilation had left him with feelings of misery and unhappiness (Edwards 1). From time to time, people who engage in body modification claim that during body modification they have a feeling of transcendence and a sense of control, the ability to abolish any boundaries in their way. ...read more.


The feeling of turning flesh into an open wound would give her an endorphin rush, the power to control. There is some confusion about people who engage in body modification; a general belief is that they have suicidal tendencies. However, this is not the case in most situations; Collins explains how she did not want to die, "What people didn't understand was this was my way of staying alive." It is true in most cases, if some one wanted to kill themselves they would go ahead and do it. Body modification is a cry for help, and there is help out there for those who seek it. Project SPEAR an organization founded by Sue Ozolins, is a self-help group for those who deliberately harm themselves and others. Project SPEAR offers strategies to assist in solving individual and present day problems (www.projectspear.com). Project Spear is not the only organization out there, "Karen Conterio and Wendy Lader started S.A.F.E. (Self-Abuse Finally Ends) Alternatives, the nations only inpatient center for self-injurers, in Chicago in 1985"(Edwards 3). For Collins, the S.A.F.E. program had proved to be a successful one. "I don't believe I'm cured. But I feel like I have a choice not to do this. And I have a choice now to let myself feel."(Edwards 3). ...read more.

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