last 6 years I've had a total of 10 ear piercings, a navel piercing, a nose piercing and a tongue piercing. The ears and nose I did myself, but the navel and tongue I had dnoe in a studio. I also have three tattoos and a myriad of cutting-and-burning scars, some done for self-destructive head-fuck reasons and other done for creative reasons. I really don't want to link branding to self-injury in the depression-and-mental-illness sense, because it's not a connection that's relevant to everyone. The only reason it's relevant to me, was that self-injury was how I found out that I don't really feel self-inflicted pain, and that burns leave better scars on my body than cuts (although I tend to heal really fast and not scar). Anyway, I was feeling bored with myself for a few weeks and wanted to do something to my body - get another piercing or tattoo or something - but I couldn't decide what. I only get something done if it really 'calls' to me, and as nothing had yet, I dyed my hair pink to alleviate the boredom and tried to forget about it. While I was surfing through bodmod sites, I started to read into branding. I liked the idea of having a 'pretty' scar on my body, and decided burning would be a practical way to get it there. I'm not really sure why I chose to do the brand on the top of my left wrist, just by where I wear my watch. I guess I just like the way my wrists look and wanted to enhance their appearance. I already have some straight-line scars there from cuts and stuff, and I reckon stuff like that looks 'interesting'. I'm not even going to try and figure out how my mind works. I did the brand with some pieces of metal jewellery heated for a while over the flame of a lighter. The whole thing took about 10 or 15 minutes - mostly heating-stuff-up and sitting-there-waiting time - and involved a total of 9 strikes. It felt really strange...like nothing else I've ever experienced. This make it a little hard to describe, but I'll try. Holding the hot metal against my skin for the first time was burny (obviously) but not like burning myself on a cooker or boiling water. It was controllable and therefore tolerable. Maybe it was easier cause I was doing it myself and it was an informed action, rather than a bout of anger and self-destruction. I was very calm throughout, and kept thinking about how pretty the brand would look when it healed up. After the first strike, it was a lot less uncomfortable. I could feel what I was doing, but in a very detached, out-of-body kinda way, which was how I felt having my tattoos done and when I was piercing my ears and nose. I've had the brand for 3 days now, and it's still blistered. I'll scan my wrist and send in a couple of pictures of it in various stages of healing. It doesn't really hurt unless something rubs against it, but it's been a bit uncomfortable in the shower when the hot water hits it for any length of time.
The way I felt when I was doing the branding was completely different from the way I feel when I hurt myself because of depression. I can't stress the separation of these experiences enough. I HATE the thought of beautiful, creative, artistic body modifications being linked with scars that are there because of anger and hurt. Art can take many forms, and I truly believe that bodmods like branding and creative scarring are ART. It annoys the hell out of me that stupid 15 year olds who want to appear all tortured and depressed and wear black all the time cause they're oh-so-fucking-goth make a big public deal out of cutting and burning themselves. This trivialises the experiences of people who self-injure cause of depression, and gives branding/cutting a bad name. I'm SO getting off the point here... (Note - I found out recently that it's ILLEGAL to perform brandings and cuttings for money in the UK. I couldn't believe that when I first heard it! I live in Northern Ireland, home to the most socially backward people in the whole world (this country is like a very big small town) so even my more mainstream bodmods get me some really funny looks from people. Pretty much everyone who's ever seen my scars has been repulsed by the fact that I cut and burn MYSELF (uh...wake up people, some of us suffer from this little thing called 'depression'...) and, strangely, even MORE repulsed by the fact that sometimes I do it for creative (as opposed to self-destructive) reasons, cause I think it's pretty ("But it's not pretty...it's SICK!"). So I reckon branding and cutting might take a while to become socially acceptable here, like tattoos are. But what's so great about social acceptance anyway...?)
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 08 June 2000