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An Anchor for Strength

What started out as being just an idea for something I thought would look cool, ended up being an endurance test far beyond what I'd foreseen.
Having recently taken an interest in skin removal scarifications, I had tried a small project on myself with good results. Shortly after, the wheels in my head started turning until I decided firmly on cutting the shape of an anchor into my leg, above my knee and a bit to the outside. I thought about it all day at work, planning it out, strategizing the process. I found a graphic of an anchor that I liked, I reduced it in size on the copy machine at work, until I had a good size -- not to big, and not too small. I thought I had it all figured out.
Tonight, after ensuring my work area was and could be kept reasonably clean and safe, I sat down with the supplies I needed for the project. A roll of paper towels, a pair of tweezers, and a box of #10 scalpels my fiancé bought off of the wonderful bmeshop. He sat with me for support. I cut out the outline of the photocopied anchor with scissors, laid it on my leg, and used a sharpie to get the outline onto my leg. This was definitely not something I wanted to freehand. Then, I made the first cuts.
The cuts weren't so bad, but when I first pulled an edge of skin up and began to slice it away, the pain was more than I had expected. (For some reason, when I'm daydreaming about mods, the pain factor mysteriously always gets left out!). With that unexpected pain, I hit my first wall. Holding my tools, I put my hands down and looked up at my fiancé. "I can't do it", I said. He gave me support and encouragement, and also reminded me I'm not wrong to stop if I needed to. Between his words and my thoughts, I was able to push on, through the pain.
I got the top crossbar done with little problem, and started down the main bar of the anchor. I cut little sections into it to break it down into smaller tasks and make it seem less overwhelming. Even so, when I reached the bottom of the anchor and the time came to start the first arm, I hit my second wall.
I was probably at least two hours into the process at this point, and had not expected it to even take that long, and what's more, I still had a ways to go! I had by this point become well aware that I was only able to remove miniscule pieces of skin at a time, and it seemed like it would take forever at that rate. I felt very discouraged. I was also getting closer to my knee, and more of the cuts were making my leg twitch and my nerves twinge. I was getting annoyed, and just wanted the project to be done. But I wasn't going to let myself give up, so I continued on.
I completed the first arm, with much tense twitching (my fiancé assured me this was not unheard of, and said he twitched when he got his knee tattooed) at a sluggish pace, for while I wanted it to be over and done with, I didn't feel like enough of a masochist to just soldier through it at a steady pace. But I got through it. After completing the first arm, I hit my third and final wall. I was surprised and honestly kind of angry that it had been taking so long. I was roughly three or three and a half hours in. I was starting to get sick of the project in general.
But why had I chosen an anchor in the first place? I'm not a horribly nautical person; I'm not in the navy, or anything like that. I chose an anchor because I once read that anchors symbolized strength. They are solid and stable. They keep things where they're supposed to be kept. They're definitely symbols of an unshakable kind of strength. That had been the whole point of choosing it. And with that final reminder had, I finished the last arm of the anchor, and the piece in whole was complete.
My fiancé helped me wash it off and bandage it up. It took four and a half hours, all told. And when it was over, I had a greater understanding of the symbol of the anchor than I had ever had before. It reminded me to be strong, and helped me to endure, and I feel changed for the better because of this beautiful cutting. And I did it all myself!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 23 Jan. 2007
in Scarification

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Artist: me
Studio: home
Location: Columbia%2C+Maryland

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