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Strength for the Journey

    To be honest, this modification began a few years back, and was really never intended to be a skin removal. However, as the years passed, I began to take notice of the beauty of flesh removals, and decided on it.

I had seen a symbol for 'strength', and had felt that certain, curious familiarity with it. At that point in time, I was recovering from cutting and some mental health issues, and having this symbol on my person felt like the perfect way to remind myself that I am a strong individual, having come thus far in life. I made a sort of stencil, and transferred the symbol onto the outer part of my upper right thigh, not realizing that this is a highly sensitive area. I cut the outline of the shape, and called it a day.

Soon after I had healed the outline, I wanted it to be more pronounced, and re-cut the shape. However, this time I slipped slightly, and cut diagonally into the skin, instead of straight up-and-down. This made a very interesting scar, and from then on, this became the area that I used to experiment with different sorts and variations of cutting, trying to determine how my body would react. I tried to do a flesh-removal on myself shortly afterwards, however, I discovered that this would not be possible on my own...the area that I had chosen was not only painful, but it was also awkward. I got a small corner of flesh removed, and then had to quit.

Over time, the area healed up, and of course scarred. It was there, unfinished, and in the way that unfinished things do, it taunted me. I wanted to finish this, and be able to look down to see this scar, this thing of beauty, completed. I felt that I owed to to myself, and to my body.

About four months ago, my friend (Mistress Ria on IAM) and I began to seriously discuss the completion of my flesh-removal. She knew how much I wanted this to be a finished product, and she was also willing to help. Since, by this time, she had done a number of other mods on me, and I trusted her, I felt that she would be a great person to do this. We began to do some serious planning, and I began to feel a sort of calm about the project as the pieces fell into place.

We ordered scalpels from BMEShop, and Ria picked up a box of gloves, alcohol (not liquor, although I'm sure I'd have felt better with some), and nonstick gauze. After doing as much research as we both possibly could, we felt that we were set.

The night we did the flesh removal, neither of us knew exactly what to anticipate. There is the stigma of DIY jobs, of course, where a person is told that if you do not know what you are doing, then you probably should not do it. While there are a few things that I would not attempt to do at home, this is obviously not one of them. We both were former cutters, and knew where 'too deep' was, and she could read my body language incredibly well. After gathering supplies (and food for me), we set to work. However, I don't recommend that anyone try this sort of thing at home, since it can be potentially dangerous with a high risk of blood loss.

After a quick smoke before we hustled downstairs to begin. Ria prepped the area by washing it, then with alcohol. I lost count how many times she changed gloves- I was feeling the adrenaline, and was not paying the closest attention to her gloves changes. I drew on the stencil, having become quite adept after drawing the design all these years. She began by cutting the outline of the area that she was going to do, and then picked up the tweezers. She began to remove the flesh by grasping the corner of skin with her tweezers, and pulling that up while cutting the area under it. At one point, she asked what it felt like. I told her "it feels like you're cutting my skin off". While that may seem trite, it's true-- that's a feeling that I have no other words for.

The only unfortunate part about the entire situation was the next morning, when we tried to remove the gauze so I could clean my wound. The "nonstick" gauze wasn't so nonstick when all the blood had seeped into and dried. Ria had to come into the bathroom and literally rip off not only the gauze, but all the dry, matted blood and scabs. Very, very painful. I had figured that I'd do that to irritate it....I quickly changed my mind.

All in all, healing the piece wasn't horrible, except for the irritating of it...the point of irritation is to make the wound miserable, so that makes sense. I didn't let it heal for around a month or so, and it keloided beautifully. The scar is raised to the point that I can easily feel it though jeans, and every so often, I'll touch my thigh to feel it, and I smile.

It is, at last, complete.


submitted by: thepiercedbird
on: 23 March 2006
in Scarification

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Artist: Mistress+Ria
Studio: Home
Location: Kansas

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