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Impulsive, yes (self-branding)

(yes, I do believe that it is self-mockery I hear in my voice)

First off, on the day before I got my brand, the word never would have crossed my mind. Nor on the day before that, nor the week, nor the month.

I had first heard of branding a few months back when I was searching up tattoo information (another impulsive act), but when it came to actually branding myself, no, the idea wasn't there. So, how did it happen to enter my mind?

Well, like many others who decide to go for the self-modification, it was one of "those" days... you know, those "dark, dark" days. I didn't do it to hurt myself, or make myself feel worse; I wanted to do something productive to make myself feel better (at this point, therapists all over the place are raising their eyebrows). What I had felt like doing actually, was getting another tattoo, but seeing as that option was unavailable, a little demon on my shoulder happened to slip the idea of branding into my mind. (I mean that as a metaphor, so no, I don't see demons everywhere).

So, my tools of choice? To those who are wondering, I didn't really think this through before I did it (so no, it wasn't terribly hygienic, meaning "yes, I'm a dumb-ass!!"). So please, don't copy my actions! I've yet to discover if I will get an infection or not. What I did was go out and buy a lighter (no candles allowed in dorm rooms, and holding the lighter has given me a thumb bruise.... I don't recommend it.... and I just read the label on the lighter the other day. It said: Don't leave flame burning for more than 30 seconds. Oops...) and.... a metal nail file. Yep, just a plain old metal nail file.

As for my design, it was one I was considering for a tattoo. So it isn't a design I will regret in 3 days or so. To be honest, I really do love it.

I chose to put this brand on my left shoulder, and to those who are considering this location, it's difficult to work with! You have to twist your hand in odd directions, and it gave my neck cramps. I drew the design on my body with a felt calligraphy pen (didn't even check if it was non-toxic) and I didn't even make sure the design was even. (everyone is shaking their heads in dismay...) Then, I lit the lighter (those things can be evil!!), and held the tip of the nail file to the flame for about 30 seconds... maybe more...

When it first touched my skin, I didn't flinch. It didn't hurt too much, and after about 4 seconds, the pain was gone. Personally, the pain wasn't anything I feared. But to be honest, it's not a feeling you get used to after a while (as with tattoos, which can be relaxing). But the rush!! Wow...

And yes, there was the popping sounds, and the funny smell which started out smelling like burnt hair and then eventually started smelling like barbecued meat (yum... grins). I could only do about a half a centimeter of the design at a time, so it took a while but within an hour and a half, I was done! And hell, were my hands sore!! I noticed too that my hands and feet were rather sweaty afterwards, though I wasn't feeling terribly nervous ("gross" everyone thinks to themselves).

I don't recall reading about this anybody's personal stories, but by the second day, there was a lot of clear, yellowish pus. Is it supposed to be like that? Did I do something wrong? Only time (or an expert) can tell. I also went over it again the second day to, just to "makes sure". Whether my "making sure" was successful or not, I haven't a clue.

At this point, I just finished peeling of the first scabby layer, and I'm contemplating the method with which I will allow it to heal. Of the methods I've read, I think I'll go for the peroxide and toothbrush. (goody...)

Hopefully, if I can just find my misplaced sense of responsibility, I'll take good care of the brand, and we'll see what happens! And if there's anything to be learned from this story it's this: 1.) You may have just wasted about 5 minutes reading it and 2.) If you're intelligent (unlike me) you wouldn't do it yourself and 3.) If you do it yourself, gather information on it beforehand. At this point, I'm not sure if I did anything right at all! So at least you know what NOT to do.

Seeing as I have barely begun the healing process, I do not have anything to say about that, so I can't tell whether the pain was "worth it", but thus far, it's been a great experience. (yes, the therapists are rapidly writing down notes and looking at me with concern, laughs). Great indeed....


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 10 Jan. 2005
in Scarification

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Artist: Myself
Studio: My+dorm+room
Location: Canada

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