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Tastes like... burning.

The thought of scarification scared me. For the past 15 years, I've been struggling with cutting myself, and other forms of self mutilation. I'd recently come to terms with the fact that I no longer wished to do that to myself, but I couldn't help but notice that the scars from various forms of scarification were beautiful.

The decision for the design and how it would be permanently shown on my body came quite naturally. I was born on the third day of the third month. I have two best friends who have been by my side since we were all six years old. They are twins and were born a week after me; we all wear the Pisces sign proudly. The Pisces symbol is made up for three lines, further signifying the trio that we've become and the significance of the number three in my life.

Although I have a few tattoos, I didn't want something that... bold. Rather, I wanted something bold, but in a subtle, organic way, if that makes any sense. For that reason, I wished to either have a flesh removal done, or to get branded. I wasn't too keen on getting skin scalpeled off of my body, but I wasn't sure how I felt about getting branded. That dilemma was put to rest when I found out Blair would be returning to New York at the end of August. I had the chance to meet Blair a few months earlier and I was impressed by his great attitude and knowing his work was amazing, I quickly jumped on the wagon to have Blair brand me. We exchanged messages on the design and cost and such. We set a date and I waited the two months until he returned to New York.

I suspended at Joy's, and since Blair was staying with Brian, he came over. After the suspension, I gave him a printout of what I wanted with a few guidelines. He told me he'd sketch out a few designs over the weekend and would see me on Monday to do my brand. I spent that weekend trying to calm my frazzled nerves from both the suspension and of getting branded, and experience which would be new to me.

That Monday, I made my way to Pure Body Arts, where Blair would be doing the brand. When I got there, he showed me three variations of the Pisces symbol. We sat down and talked about each of the designs and what needed to be fixed. We talked about placement and size and he went to go re-draw the symbol. When he was done, I was led back to one of the rooms. I quickly called in Meg to snap some pictures and be my cheerleader. Blair spent some time finding the center of my throat and chest. With the stencil on, we were left with a few more things to be discussed. He had the stencil lined with my neck, but my breasts are slightly different, which made the bottom of the brand distort should I push my breasts together. I told him I'd rather have the brand be lined with my neck rather than my breasts, since most of the brand is on my sternum and not my breasts. Blair, ever the perfectionist, called in Brett, one of the tattoo artists at Pure, for a second opinion. Brett thought the placement was perfect, but pointed out a few discrepancies in the curvature of two of the lines. Meg said that if she saw me walking down the street, she wouldn't notice that anything was wrong with placement, and we were on our way to start burning some human flesh. Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. Blair first fixed the lines that had been smudged off and then we were set.

I sat on a reclined chair as Blair burned some incense. He put on a mask and lit the torch and held the metal bit in the blue part of the flame (the orange part doesn't get very hot and leaves carbon marks/scorches). He explained that the fire would get the metal piece as sterile as any autoclave and I sat nervously as we waited for it to heat up. At some point, Cere walked in and I made him hold my hand. In retrospect, I was trying to delay the first strike for as long as I possibly could. When Blair told me he'd hold it to my skin for one second, he counted out loud and said, "See, it's nothing." I nervously replied that it sounded like a long second. I decided to stop trying to delay the inevitable and gave it a go. Blair said, "Strike." Cere was holding my hand. I heard a sizzle. I felt a pinch. That was it. It was getting pretty hot in the room, so Cere exited and I placed my hands on my stomach for the rest of the session. The first strike was interesting and a lot less painful than the rest, probably due to the fact that I was expecting to have it hurt a lot more than it did. For the rest of the brand, Blair told me he'd strike two or three times before reheating. All along the way, Blair kept talking to me and Meg was there snapping pictures and telling me how well I was doing. Soon enough, it was almost done and I braced myself for the last two strikes. He did a little touch up and then we were done. After putting my shirt on, I gave both Blair and Meg a hug and walked out of the room to proudly show the work I'd just gotten.

After Blair cleaned up, we walked to a coffee shop a few blocks away and he explained aftercare. The basic method was to leave it alone and wash it with soap in the morning. When Blair saw suspension scars on my chest, he could tell that I'd scar easily, so I decided I would just leave the scar alone. The reasoning? It's a third degree burn; it's going to scar and with my track record with scarring, I'd have no problem getting the result I desired in the end. However, the scars from my suspension are pronounced partly because I tore off the scabs a few times.

For the first few days, my chest was sore, much like a sunburn, albeit slightly more intense. Blisters formed around the brand and the area became quite sensitive. I'd been talking to a few people who've been branded and they told me to get ready for some oozing. This didn't occur until I returned to school. Sleeping was my worst enemy. I could sleep only on my back and every movement was felt in my chest. Since part of the brand is between my breasts, the center started to crack and ooze puss, and part of the scab fell off. I didn't want it to scab that unevenly, so I decided to take the rest of the scab off. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do because I decided to do it the VERY hard way. I washed my hands and the brand with some antibacterial soap and started pulling. It was painful and the scabs took a lot of tugging to get off. With half of the scab off, I called it a night and went to bed. The next day, I took the rest of the scab off in the shower and it came off like a spoon going through melting ice cream.

Then, I was left with a huge gaping wound. Okay, that sounds a bit melodramatic, but I was in pain and I didn't know how I felt about looking at my flesh in that state. I covered it with non-stick gauze and Neosporin with pain relief. Putting ointment on it is not recommended. However, I needed a little help to shift focus from my chest to whatever was going on in class, and I wasn't worried about it not scarring. It's been about two months since I've gotten it and it's healed and raised. It's still quite sensitive, and I'm going to enjoy watching the scar as it settles to a lighter color.

Blair is both an amazing artist and genuinely nice person. His personality was definitely one of the reasons this experience was pleasant.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 30 Oct. 2005
in Scarification

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Artist: Blair
Studio: Pure+Body+Arts
Location: Brooklyn%2C+New+York

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