Before and after

I realized as I was writing this that I’ve been talking a lot about the process of being modified.  The way I see it though, the process is just as significant, and possibly even more so, than the final product.  Heck, sometimes the process IS the final product as is the case with some of the harder mods.  We’ve all gotten the questions from non-modified people, “did it hurt?”, “how long did it take?”, etc.  So while people may admire the finished product, they always gravitate to the process.

We all have our own little rituals as well.  Be it through meditation, conversation, aftercare procedures, and so on.  Part of the experience is the ability to relive these moments that can seem so fleeting when looked back upon.  I know that when I look back on some of my longer tattoo sessions, it doesn’t seem like I was there for over 6 hours;  I can remember everything that happened before during and after, but for some reason time has become condensed.  Which may be the reason a lot of modified people continue to be modified.  That rush of endorphins that comes when the needle or blade breaks the skin can’t be recreated through memory alone.

Last week I talked about the moment right before an event.  Those few precious seconds of anticipation where your mind goes into overdrive with anticipation.  Today it’s all about the time between the before and after.  The experience.  If you’ve read some of the stories in story section of BMEzine.com you’ll see that a good deal of them center around both the before and after, but all of them talk about the “during”.  It’s as if your vision of yourself enters into limbo.  You’ve prepared yourself however you see fit, and now everything is changing.  At the end of the process you will have changed, but while it is going on, you are no longer your former self, nor are you the person at the end of the transformation, you are a completely separate entity that can only exist in the time before and after.  This transitional period can mean everything to a person.  I hate to use the butterfly metaphor, but it is aptly appropriate.  You are essentially the cocoon (not the Steve Guttenberg film).  This transformational state that is neither the caterpillar or the butterfly.  Not to say that when you’ve finished getting your mod you become something radically different, although that is the case with some mods, but you have changed your body in a way that you controlled.

Control is definitely another part of the changing process.  The very act of modifying your body is an act of control over who you are as an individual.  The time spent in the process is basically you seizing control of yourself and making your vision of you become reality.  This applies not only to long tattoo sessions, but also to piercings and other modifications.  In the case of a piercing, the moment can be very brief, but you still go through the exact same transitional state that everyone else does.  Of course everyone’s experience is different, so I can’t state that everyone goes through the same thought process, but to everyone there is something that goes through your mind in those seconds, minutes, or hours.

So ModBlog, what goes through your mind during your modifications?  Do you experience the same thing each time, or is every time unique?

While your ponder your answer to that, take a look at these images from Miss September.  I’ll put the after image after the read more button so you can use your imagination to fill in the process between the before and after.

before

And now the finished product..

after

So let’s hear it.  What happens to you during the process?

5 thoughts on “Before and after

  1. At the start of every mod I always feel a bit of fear. It’s not self-doubt, nor is it a lack of faith in the artist, just that tingle of “oh my god what am I doing”, kind of like when I used to disobey my parents as a teenager. The thrill of doing something different, I guess.

    During is the gorgeous adrenaline rush, and this wonderful detachment from self. Rather than a transition I usually call it shedding, getting rid of all the old skin and self and becoming something new. Another layer scrubbed off to show what’s underneath, you know? I don’t realize I’m doing it, but I usually grin like an idiot the whole time (except for when I got my ribs tattooed, that was mostly cringing). With longer sittings I completely detach from myself – I feel the process but it’s not entirely me, it’s me and the needle and the artist and the other people in the room and the building itself… I start feeling just like I’m part of everything. It’s euphoric and wonderful!

    The ending is like the last few seconds on a roller coaster before it rolls back into the platform – it starts to slow down and gradually the blur of the ride smooths into the solid shapes and colors of “real life”, and when the ride stops I’m suddenly me but not entirely me – me in a new skin, in a fresh start. It’s like being born and walking out of that small room ready to take on the world all over again, feeling powerful and beautiful and excited about everything.

    29 days and counting till the next ride!

    PS. Rob, reading the things you write is just wonderful. You have such an excellent way with words that I sit and read your posts two or three times, just to get a feel for them.

  2. I agree; Rob, you’re one of the remaining reasons that I still read modblog. Thanks man.

  3. rob, great stuff. it’s nice to see substance on modblog. not to mention the frequency of updates. thanks for the entertainment =]

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