A year of rememberance.
Those who know me will know of the first branding I gave myself early this summer. Ever since it has continued to bring me joy, and reaffirm my sense of self. It's an anchor, my name on my body, and something cool to show others.
However, I was missing something. Well, someone. Matthew.
Matthew was one of the most perfect people you ever would meet, and I'm not just saying that since he died. When he was alive he was the best cadet, the best friend and in three years would have been the best pilot. He changed my life.
Unfortunately it was not to be, and on the 1st of November in 2005 he was hit by a car, after running back home to fetch his uniform cap and died three weeks later.
But this is not an elegy; this is the story of a mod. I do not wish to taint it with sadness more than I must.
It was when I was browsing BME I found how I could easily remember him. I saw several "remembrance stars" - stars cut or tattooed in memory of an event. It reminded me of the line of scars I have down one forearm. Relics of self harm. So... I thought, " I can cover these, and make something of beauty.
I spent a week drawing five pointed stars on my folders at college, varying the design. In the end I settled for a clean empty five pointed star. This was my final design.
Five pointed stars have always held meaning for me as a friend of mine recently wrote a book on The Pentagram. I have also lost five people over the last year, four to road accidents of some kind.
My methods of branding are not the most advanced, and by far not the most sensible. I use incense, by myself, and don't tell anyone what I'm doing. I wouldn't recommend incense brands simply because of the pain, and the risk of there being chemicals in the incense that aren't good for you.
I always run a test burn first three days before; just to check my body's not reacting to it or something horrible. But it's not 100% sure. I'm lucky I never infected or anything, a face wipe is my cleaning material, on the logic the heat of the brand kills most germs.
However, self - branding is a very spiritual experience for me, it brings me closer to the Divine, and to myself. That said - I simply don't feel comfortable letting someone near me with a hot piece of metal. There's also the fact that nobody else will ever quite understand how significant a brand is to me and I feel strange explaining it. Especially when it's a motif common as a star. Every person who says their star has a "deep meaning" to them is instantly thought of as "emo" or "common". Society is stupid like that.
So, that afternoon I lit the incense, and let a stick burn while I meditated. I thought long and hard about Matthew and everything he meant to me. After about half an hour, I felt ready.
I lit a new stick of incense and took a deep breath before tracing over the penned outline of the star. It hurt so much on the sensitive skin of my inner arm. I traced over it again, thrice, four, five times before moving on to the five outward lines. As I went, I wiped the ash away. These last lines were quicker and easier, and where the adrenaline rush began in earnest.
I felt giddy as I finished, and applied a bandage. I couldn't even feel the pain, simply an ice-hot sensation in the skin - it was a long time before this feeling faded. Perhaps an hour.
As it did finally fade away it was replaced by the pain, and a rather intense one at that. It was hard to sleep that night.
As the days went by I aggravated it as often as possible, using a new toothbrush to rub away the scabs as they formed, and giving it a good hard scrub in the shower. As with my last brand, whenever I was alone I would lift my sleeve and take a peek.
Already it is forming a nice scar, and has that quality I love in scarification. The way it looks as if it belongs on my body, and has always been there. It's covered several of my old self harm scars, and has brought me to a new level of understanding. I feel Matthew's presence with me more often, and the bruise-like pain of the forming scar eases the pain in my heart as his one year anniversary draws near.
Although to many people it just looks like another star; to me it has a deep personal meaning of remembrance, and love.
submitted by: Something-Witty
on: 22 Nov. 2006