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No regrets - first self branding

I became interested in trying self-branding the moment I first heard about it. It seemed like such a simple thing to do and yet the message given by the branded designs I saw was unbelievably profound.

How did I first hear about it? Through an article in my high school newspaper. An article was published on self-branding, as a result of some students being careless with their scars and being caught, prompting the need for "awareness".

I'm sure the school meant it as a deterrent, yet all it did for me (and several other students I'm sure) was give me an interest in trying it out. The article gave a pretty good description on the methods used, as several students were interviewed, describing what they did, and listed "helpful" sites on the subject (including BME).

I contemplated the idea for quite some time before I actually would make an attempt. I had experience with cutting (not intentionally as an art form, I had been having some hard times that I wont detail on but it was my way of dealing) but nothing besides that. I worried about the chance of an infection (my main concern).

But I did know firsthand that burns could turn out nicely. When I was about 9 years old, I had accidentally touched a running car's exhaust pipe with my leg, resulting in a profound burn on the side of my knee.

It did remember that it hurt like hell and for months there was nasty scarring for a long time. However, even at that age I was quite fascinated by the healing process. And not to mention the shape of the scar in the end. What's interesting is how it was shaped - in the end it looked a lot like half a yin-yang symbol (not the whole symbol, just a yin/yang). All these years later I still have the scar (it's faded a lot though recently).

I finally did the branding one night after a heated argument with my female parental unit. A few hours after said argument, fuming in my room, on complete impulse I decided to attempt the brand (makes sense – I am the type who usually has to be mad or depressed over something before I act) Looking back I guess I was angry enough to attempt something that my parental units would find disgusting (They hate any kind of body mod aside from basic ear piercing).

I hadn't had time to check any of the sites I had heard about (though I probably should have), so I mostly guessed at the method to use. The tools I used were a paper clip, a candle and ice. After some brief contemplation I chose the spot, which would be my other knee (not the one with the earlier burn). I snuck out to the kitchen and got a bowl of ice water. As for the design, I decided to bend the paper clip into a simple rune symbol (Being an ancient rune enthusiast at the time).

Sitting on the floor next to my bed, I lit the candle, washed the intended skin area with soap and hot water, and then washed the paper clip (just as a precaution). A little worried about pain, I held a bock of ice to the skin to try and numb it. While I did that, I got out a pair of tweezers and held the paper clip in the candle flame.

When I guessed it was finally hot enough, I took it out of the flame and held it over my skin. I chickened out the first time, and had to reheat it. Once it was heated up again, I quickly just dropped it right on the skin, holding it in place with a damp cloth.

The burning hurt really bad for 2-3 seconds (from what I remember) and then started to ebb away (endorphins I guess). I was so happy I had finally done it that I actually got up and hopped around.

When I removed the cloth, I saw that the design was nearly right, just a small bridge of skin hadn't really burned. What did I do about that? Heated up the clip and applied it again, not even worried about pain or anything this time around.

Hiding the brand wasn't too hard (it was winter and I never wear skirts or shorts that much). My knee was sore for a couple of days, but nothing too serious.

In the end the symbol turned out looking really good and the design was clear. I have absolutely no regrets about it and can say that I'm proud of it. The symbol has gotten a little faded now, so I want to do more self brandings as soon as I decide on what shapes and such.

My advice to anyone who wants to try this: it you feel really sure about it, then go for it.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 02 Feb. 2007
in Scarification

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Artist: Myself
Studio: My+room
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