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The Beginning and the End

My two cents on the brands that I've had. They were simple strike brand affairs.

My first brand was the Alpha brand on the top of my hand. Actually, it was a group thing. I know it sounds silly, but it was a great idea when you're stoned. We were all going to get Alpha (beginning, start) brands on our hands. I'm not sure of the significance, but as I said - it was a good idea at the time. I was the resident 'brander', for no other reason than I "took control" of the group. With each person I made sure I knew where it was placed and at what angle, then I went about heating up a pre-shaped lighter head with the flame for approximately a minute. When it was obviously very hot, I would perform the brand. Basically pressing the metal into their skin until it cooled down, and their pain subsided into manageable levels. Actually, it was quite bad for some people, so we had to physically restrain them from lashing out while it was happening!

Then it came around to my turn. A girl who'd found it especially painful decided for a little revenge. Her boyfriend, Sam, held my arm out, and she grabbed it headlock style and drove the black-hot metal into my skin. For the first few seconds, I could actually feel my skin start to sizzle under the heat, Maybe it was my imagination, but I thought I could smell the sickening stench of burning flesh. The pain was like a white-hot rush, engulfing my hand, up most if my arm. It was an adrenalin rush of the highest order! After 5 or so more seconds of that pain, there were about a minute of throbbing pain, and that was it. When it was over, we all looked at each other, grinned, and carried on smoking...

Unlike some of the other guys, I treated my cute little brand quite well - i.e. for the most part, I let it do its work! (I guess that's pretty bad, but all I did was wash it gently with lukewarm water morning and night) It went white and sunken for the first part, then raised up to the same level as my skin when it scabbed over and went pink, then darkened to ruddy purple, which it stayed for about 8 months, then it just got lighter and merged with my skin. Obviously I avoided going swimming or anything that could transmit infection easily, but (probably stupidly) didn't use any products on it. Now it's so faded you can only just make it out if you stare hard at my hand. During the healing period, there was very little pain, and I think I must have fried the nerve endings in that part, because even when I touch it now, the feeling is dulled. It obviously itched like hell for quite a while, but I managed (for the most part) to restrain from scratching it to pieces.

I realise, looking back - that I had three brandings done at that exact time, however the other two, done in symmetry with the first, were done much too lightly to scar properly, and don't show up at all.

Later on, I got the second 'part' of the brand about 4cm further up my hand, just past my wrist line, which was an inverted 'A'. The feeling was the same as last time, a white-hot sensation, a rush of adrenalin, a heightened awareness, then a euphoric daze afterwards. Unfortunately for this branding, during the healing time an inquisitive friend decided to flick open the protective skin covering during a RMT lecture, so it's scarred a lot more. This brand is only about 18 months old and is quite pale around the edges, fading to a mid purple in the center. One side is healing better than the other, and I assume this is because the other side was exposed a lot more from 'the flick'.

The pain on either of them was a very intense feeling - not so much like pain from cutting your finger, or hitting your knee against something. It was much cleaner, a pure sort of pain. I really can't explain it any better. While the actual branding, whatever kind of feeling it was, was intense, it was easy enough to bear, and aside from that, it complained very little. There's nothing quite like the rush you get afterwards!

Overall though, I can't say I'm happy with them. Give the choice I would have refrained from doing them. In the end it was just 'the best option' at the time. I don't think that 'making do' is a good philosophy with mods anymore. Having said this, they're still a part of me, and I can't deny that. I guess they represent the beginning and the end of a part of my life which I guess I'm just not destined to have again - hedonistic parties, girls on tap, free booze, free drugs, new people every day. I'm not bitter about not doing that anymore - the option is still open to me. But the Alpha signified the start of that part of my life - and the 'Turn A' signified the end of it.

If anyone has any questions at all, then please email me at the address above or contact me through my IAM page.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 25 April 2002
in Scarification

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