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Backwards Branding

   I had never really thought of getting a branding but my very trusted usual piercer does them and when I saw the advertisement in his window, I was interested.  

I had decided on a design of religious symbols that would run vertically down my thigh. This was to represent the ideal of multiple religions living in harmony. No dedication to one religion, but just stating that religion—period—can be very beautiful and we can embrace them all. I am agnostic so I thought this would fit well. 

The design was beautiful and I was ready to proceed. Now, there were two surprises:

1) I asked Adam how much it would hurt. Not if it would hurt (asking your studio that is as dumb as question as when people ask us that on the street), but how much comparatively speaking (he knew about all my other mods). He basically reiterated that it is a third degree burn, so don't expect it to be comfortable. Anyway, surprise #1 is that I didn't even feel it. Not "it wasn't as bad as I would have thought" or "it was as tolerable as my tattoo was", but I didn't feel it!!! I was not "on" anything, but I guess my natural excitement going into it (and I was excited) allowed me not to feel it. This makes me laugh even today. (Although I would also like to point out as I have also read on BME that saying it is a third degree burn makes it sound like it will hurt a lot, but of course, it hurts less than touching the stove, etc. because the pain lingers there, whereas the nerves are instantly killed off in a third degree burn.)

2) It looked very beautiful (I think brandings look even more beautiful when they are fresh than when healed). I was so happy with it for the first week or so and then my friend took a picture of it to put on the computer. I cannot believe I didn't notice until looking at it staring me in the face on the computer, but one of the symbols was stenciled on backwards!!! Yes, I looked at the stencil before we began, so certainly some of the onus rests with me—I didn't notice it was backwards, I was so excited. But why did he do all the symbols the right direction and the one backwards??? I didn't know what to do. No cover-ups for branding... well, at least not branding cover-ups. I thought about mirroring the images (but it would have to be all of them, and to not look like one symbol was out of place, it would have to be staggered). That would just start to look messy... So I have decided on a tattoo cover-up...

Oh my goodness, my branding—my branding that I didn't even feel—my unique

branding... and I cannot, lest it look stupid being backwards, even keep it... So I had been using Polysporin Scar Therapy silicone pads which helped famously in the first few weeks of healing (I think it is good I noticed it straight away so I could get optimum healing) and Mederma, which has been minimally useful (I like the silicone pads much better). I think I am at a point in time when "aids" are no longer super useful. I think for a large part, I just have to wait out my body's natural healing process now.

Obviously this is not the aftercare to follow if you have a scarification you are trying to keep!!! Then you have to agitate it, not baby it (which is what I was doing to begin with). But if you have had the unfortunate experience as I have of a messed up branding, then these tips may serve you well? 

I have also used the silicone pads on the scar left from trying to rid an old tattoo (experience can be found under another write-up) by letting water stream on it (it let the ink out, but it also left a scar). That scar is now as if it never was. =)  

Anyway, in retrospect, I think I would have preferred a cutting over a branding. They seem to heal more evenly, don't "blotch" out (for lack of a better description), and show up more (especially for someone like me with very fair skin). Although part of the issue may be in that I have been trying to get rid of my branding, now that it has healed for the most part, I can see that if I had wanted to keep it, it would have been pretty lame anyway (I am just really too fair skinned). So... if I ever do get another scarification piece (which I do not particularly foresee—the experience was still neat, but I do not think I will seek a permanent piece again), I will go with a cutting.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 23 Aug. 2006
in Scarification

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Artist: Adam
Studio: Adam%27s+Body+Art
Location: Brandon%2C+Manitoba

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