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My fingers

People keep asking me why I decided to get three lines branded on my fingers. As usual I have many reasons. But the main on is the fact that I use three lines in my drawings to symbolize pain, past pain, present pain, ANY pain that I've held inside. It has become my symbol for healing over the years since I got my three lines on my chest (tattooed) and now my beautiful brands. The last year was hell on me, I'm manic depressive so I always have ups and downs, but this last summer I got stuck in a miserable depression, I was homeless, having a hard time finding work with all my facial piercings and tattoos and got to one of the lowest points in my life. A few months ago I finally found a good job, good pay, got a place to live, things were going good. But I couldn't shake that horrible feeling my depression had left.

About a month or so after I got my job I was sitting on the bus from northgate to downtown Seattle to go to work, I got bored so I was digging my fingernails into my upper knuckles, three lines on each. It took me all of about two seconds to know that was what I was missing, what i needed. A tattoo wouldn't look right, wouldn't be the right way to heal all the crap inside that I was carrying around. At first I had wanted the lines cut into my fingers, to let my blood flow to release my inner pain. But of corse after talking to a few artists I know, and being told that my hands could end up crippled from cutting, I decided on branding. Until this point I had never thought of getting branded with to much seriousness, I was fine with being burned, it just had never crossed my mind before.

After paying off some bills and getting a place to live, and thinking it over and over, making sure this is what I wanted, needed, I asked John if he would do it. I've always heard good things about Laughing Buddah and after talking to him a bit at my favorite watering hole (the noc noc) I decided my fingers were his to scar. I didn't want someone with little to no experience to work on me. So I got some extra money together and went to set up my appointment.

When I talked to John at the shop he told me the best and easiest way to do it would be strike branding because the lines would come out better, I loved the idea. Much more basic, primal, I have nothing against cautery pens(or whatever they are called) but something about a blowtorch and pieces of metal just sounded more fun. So we decided Saturday would work best (because I wanted a day or so to heal before I went back to work) Sadly though, I had to end up working Saturday and wouldn't get off till it was to late, so I said "how about Sunday?". Nothing ended up happening that weekend, John couldn't get ahold of Troy over at Apocalypse who he was borrowing the tools from (because John has been mostly doing cautery pen work lately, and since he recently moved to seattle, hadn't gotten his own blowtorch and metal) so it was decided that it would have to wait a week.

What a long frickin week, I started to loathe looking at my hands cause they just didn't look right anymore without lines, I'd been so set on the previous weekend that I ached at the thought of still having these plain fingers. But finally my day came. I woke up and cleaned my apartment, all the while constantly trying to prepare myself for what I was about to do. My friend Dylan was nice enough to come with me, to share my experience, and take pictures (yay). I think I was kind of driving him nuts a little beforehand though, I had gone over to his house to watch movies before we went up to the Buddah and about every 5-10 minutes I'd ask if we were there yet (my way of asking if it was time to leave yet) So me and Dylan walked up to the shop a little early. By this time I was so giggly and excited I could hardly stand in one spot, I kept jumping up and down like a little kid about to get candy. Since it was kind of a slow night and I think John was kind of excited as well,  he started to mark my fingers.

Now, eventually I shall have all of my upper knuckles done, but because I'd never been branded before and I use my hands constantly at work I only got three fingers on each hand (also because of the three lines thing, three lines on three fingers, it sounded like the thing to do) So I got my marks and my excitement got even higher, I was finally gonna feel better.

John took me and Dylan over to the piercing room and sat me down on the table/chair like thing. Because I'm short my feet were dangling over the edge and I couldn't stop wiggling them (I was so damn excited, and starting to get a slight bit nervous) Then John lit the blowtorch, this was it, no turning back. I had been thinking all day that I might not be able to handle this, that I would twitch or scream or cry or something when that metal hit my flesh. He heated up the little rectangle to a beautiful glow and told me he was gonna just do one line to show me how it was gonna feel. So I kept my hands flat on the tray, John told me to breathe in deeply then exhale. I didn't, I mean I was breathing of corse, but for some reason breathing like that makes me more nervous and I tense up. *Tssssssss*,and there it was, it was nothing, it was everything. I said "that was it?"I knew instantly that I was fine and I pushed my silly self doubting out of my mind. All at once I knew I had just been silly earlier, I could do this, I was doing this. Line after line I enjoyed it more, the smell of my flesh burning, the sound or my flesh melting like butter, watching my skin give way to the hot metal. And the feeling it would send through my whole body, close to the feeling I get when I'm near where lightning strikes only time a thousand. My whole body was screaming with joy.

After the first hand(and the first three fingers) I told John I needed a cigerette break, I felt as if my heart was going to explode it was racing so fast. I called my mom to tell her I was fine and that this was the best thing I had ever decided to do in my life. I'd never felt so alive. After our cigerettes we went back in and did my final 9 lines. They were about the same as the first 9, only the top one on my pinky,right by the knuckle made my hole finger feel like dead weight for a split second, which was totally weird. John had already told me how to take care of them so when he was finished with the last line I gave him the biggest hug I could and gave him his money and me and Dylan headed down to the noc noc to celebrate, later John joined us and I kept giving them both big hugs for being there with me and giving me my new fingers.

So its been about 2-3 days now, my fingers are slightly sore but still able to move ok (though my thumbs are hard to move, and they keep cracking when I do) I've been keeping them as clean as possible, washing them with dial, my muti-mod cleaner. I know some people think dial is the devil for piercings or tattoos, brands etc., but my body seems to prefer it for cleaning fresh mods. The fingers are slightly red and swollen still, a few lines seem kind of grumpy but I've seen John a few times since then to keep checking up on them and make sure they don't get infected, or at least if they do I'll know, and know what to do.

I cannot get over how much I completely love my branded fingers, how wonderful it felt, how it made all that pain and misery I'd been stuck inside just disappear in an instant.  I still cant get over it, This is the best thing I've ever experienced, I don't think I've ever been this happy in my life.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 22 June 2005
in Scarification

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Artist: John+D.
Studio: Laughing+Buddah
Location: Seattle

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