I wanted to do it myself. Looking around, it was obvious that most attending this class came with their partner. This was not surprising; the ultimate goal inherently could be a very bonding activity between two people.
But I came for me, to explore something I had recently found as fascinating, alluring, something I wanted.
When it came time, I sat down with the kit provided. I explained to the instructor my intention. They were very encouraging, sitting in front of me just in case I needed any help.
I’d waited til most of the couples were done, knowing I might need that one-on-one time with the instructor. The couples at least had each other to lean on. I was flying solo.
My nerves started growing as soon as people stepped up to start. When I broke out all the pieces of the kit, sitting them on the table beside me, my heart fluttered. I made a decided effort to slow my breathing, to remain calm. This was not an activity I wanted to fuck up.
I wrapped the tourniquet around my arm and felt at the cleft for a vein. Just as I was instructed, I found the spongy spot. There it was. I chose my right arm because every time I’ve had my blood drawn (every time) it has been from my right arm. My left arm’s veins are not pleasing.
I cleaned the area. I picked up the needle with my left hand. I took a deep breath.
Slowly, I inserted the needle into my skin, working millimeters at a time. There was no pain. When almost all of it was inside me, and yet I still had not drawn blood, my instructor suggested a different angle. Still no good. Then they asked if they could try. One small move and I saw it; the line of blood appeared in the plastic tubing.
I slowly pulled the syringe, extracting my own blood. As I saw my life force exit from my body, my other instructor came over, caressed my hair, and sweetly said, “Pretty girl.” When the syringe was nearly full, my instructor removed the needle and I immediately placed gauze over my skin.
I didn’t want anti-coagulant, so I capped the syringe with the blunt tip needle and made my way over to the second station.
There were two options; I chose the simpler holder. I pushed the plunger, filling the pendant with my blood. With the assistant’s help, I capped the top, melted the plastic, and added the metal fastener. In my hand was my blood pendant.
But, in the other, was the syringe with the remainder of my extracted blood. I’d seen as others discarded their extra blood or drank it quickly back into themselves, but that didn’t feel right to me. It needed to be more sacred, more special.
I got down on my knees, tilted my head back, and opened my mouth. As I pushed on the plunger, the first drop dripped into my mouth, landing on my tongue.
The taste was familiar, yet amazing. The depth of the mixture, the nuance of the flavor, the thickness of my body coming back into me.
As drop by drop I drank my blood, my thoughts were of my year and my goals: Bravery, Endurance, Forgiveness. A refrain of those words cycled through my mind as I remembered my adventures, the people I’d met (including my instructors in that room), the memories I’d made, the life I had lived from January up until that moment.
When the last drop fell, I felt full of self love.
I stood. I discarded my expired syringe.
I held my pendant in my hand, turning it over and over. In the small vial I had captured myself in a moment, myself from this year, a piece of me.
It hangs now on my wall above my bed. So many memories, so much of my life captured in one small little pendant.
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