a beautiful brand
Its funny how some ideas get started.
When I was around 12 I was diagnosed with depression, chronic anxiety, sociotypal disorder, and various other mental conditions. oddly, I had known most of this for years. I was a pretty well read child, and had an idea of most of this, as well as my own methods for 'dealing' with it.
'Self harm' seems to be the current PC term for my way of coping with things, mine ran the gambit from cutting, to burning, to things like tricotillomania.
I slowly over came my disorders, and only the self harm remained, more of a ritual now than any sort of medicine, it was just something I did. It was somewhat pleasurable, but i wanted to be done with it. It reminded me of a depressed and confusing past, and lead me back to those feelings I had fought hard to overcome.
My way of marking the end of that life was with a self done tattoo...but that's another story.
Burning had always been a fascination of mine I did many small self branding throughout my childhood and loved the sensations, and the scars it left behind. I had always toyed with the idea of a professional brand, but assumed the idea would be ill accepted by my husband, so I put it on the back burner...no pun intended :)
Then, oddly enough, one day my husband woke up and told me about a dream he had, in the dream, I had two small roses branded onto my lower stomach, and he went on about how pretty and sexy he thought they were...I was taken aback a bit, and felt like a bit of an ass for assuming. He had always been OK with me getting mods "whatever makes you happy" seemed to be his motto, but was not into them much himself. And the more 'extreme ' things seemed to turn him off.
I asked him what he would think of me getting a brand, and he was totally for the idea. He said he couldn't tell me if he would like it or not, but he thought he would.
With this encouragement, along with the newly discovered knowledge that my piercing artist, Noah babcock, also did brands, all that was left was settling on a design.
This process ended up taking quite a while, probably around 6 months in fact, as I wanted it to be perfect.
I drew and threw out many versions before I got to what I wanted. I knew I didn't want electrocautery, so the results would be pretty bold lines. after talking with Noah about my initial idea, he told me that he couldn't guaranty that lines that small and close wouldn't just run together, so I was back to the drawing board.
I finally decided on one large abstract-ish rose on my pubic mound, with thicker, flowing lines, and less symmetry than the original design, and ended up liking it more too. As far as my mods go, I try to avoid total symmetry, I love balance, but symmetry bores me :)
So, with the design in hand, I spent another few weeks procrastinating, reading experiences and looking at pictures here on BME, before I finally stopped by and showed Noah the design. I had gone in to ask how much notice i needed to give him, he said 48 hours (I think, could have been 24) and that it would have to be after close, which was great for me, since my husband and I work nights and don't get up till 3 PM anyways.
I scheduled the appointment for Thursday the 11th of October, at 8 o'clock, which meant I would have to leave work early, but since my birthday was the next day, work was cool with it.
We got there at 8 on the dot,and Noah had to finish up a few things first. We probably got started around 8:30 or 8:45, he had drawn up the design on contact paper, and had me fill out all the necessary paperwork, copied my ID, and gone over after care a bit, by the time we made it back to the room.
I was in a total daze of adrenalin, but oddly, I was less nervous about this than I was about my cartilage piercings.
He had me unzip my pants and roll up my shirt, then asked me how long it had been since I shaved. I said it had been a few hours, and he apologized and said the stuff he was going to put on the area for prep might 'burn a little' I'm guessing it was alcohol or something, then he used some sort of gel stuff, and used the contact paper to place the design, he was really patient with me, and even said himself that it looked a bit off center, I agreed, and asked for it to be a bit lower as well, so he cleaned the area again, and replaced the design. I thought it looked great, so he had me lie down and lit the torch.
my husband was with me, and honestly looked more nervous than I was, he told me afterwords that he just hates seeing me in pain :) (awwwww)
So, I lay back, and Noah heated the pen/stylus thing he uses to do the branding in the torch, he talked me through the after care a bit more, and I was mostly mum, trying to get into my old frame of mind to channel the pain and make it...well, not pain.
I've always looked at it in the frame of mind that pleasure and pain are the same signals, its all in how you interpret them, the first bunch of 'strikes' went well, there was a tingling burn, and a popping sound (I'm guessing it was hair follicles or something) Noah uses what he calls the 'heat and draw method', were he heats up what amounts to a metal pen with a torch, and draws in the design. the first half of the strikes weren't bad, but as the pen cooled a bit (its amazing what a difference a few hundred degrees can make) it would start to catch and then the pain would increase.
I was doing well until he got to the line on the very bottom, which is barely an inch above my clit...and my concentration broke. I'm embarrassed to admit I let out a sort of moan/hiss at that one, and told Noah I thought I needed a minute, luckily he encouraged me to just finish it, and said it would only hurt worse if we waited for the skin to swell up and get more sensitive. So he did the rest of the 'low' strikes first, since they were the worst, and it was over remarkably quick after that. He was still talking me through it, and discussing various things with Caleb, and I was doing some sort of Lamaze/yoga breathing, in a semi meditative state, and all of a sudden he says 'OK, your done' and tells me I can stand up.
I got up very gingerly, fearing what it would feel like when the cloth of my pants and panties touched the fresh burn, I asked if it was OK to let my panties touch it, as I hadn't though far enough ahead to wear something cotton, and had on some sort of rough nylon mesh.
He said it would be fine, and that there wouldn't be any oozing for a few days, if at all.
So I pulled them up, and went out to pay (with what I hope was a good tip, as I have a habit of getting excited and forgetting to tip him after piercings) and carefully walked out to the car. My amazement was growing at the fact that there was NO pain. It felt a little raw, like a mild sunburn, around the branded area, but the burns themselves were totally numb.
The aftercare Noah prescribed was keeping it as dry as possible, and NO irritation, as burn scars tend to turn out three times the size of the original burn. I was instructed to was it gently with anti microbial soap. They recommend provon at evolution, but its to harsh for me.( I now swear by doctor brauners with tea tree oil, which Noah also recommended) Once it started scabbing, he told me to clip off any loose pieces with nail clippers, and not to pick at it.
you would be surprise how hard that last part is once the scabs start to dry up. There was absolutely no pain during healing, but the itching almost drove me nuts! I would find myself slapping it to help with itching, and got a few funny looks from my husband and friends.
The scabs all came off on the first of December, which was a pleasant surprise, as I expected it to take forever.
The brand was initially a fantastic reddish pink color, which has faded to a few shades lighter than the rest of my skin, and I love love love it! Its funny, I spend ALLOT longer in the bathroom now, as every time I take my pants off, I find myself admiring it.
I went in a few weeks ago to get my forward helix done, and show Noah the progress, (as well as letting him know he and i had been on body two when it was up) he said we may want to do a few touch ups when it settles completely, and I'm all for a good excuse to get burned :)
Any body in the Albuquerque New Mexico area who's looking for a branding artist or piercer, swing by evolution, Noah and all the staff there are fantastic, very professional, clean, and courteous, and make you feel very comfortable.
All and all, it was a fantastic experience, the adrenalin rush was amazing, and it was some how very...spiritual is the best word I can find, and coming from an atheist, that has to stand for something. I would definitely do it again. This brand has helped me take one more step to reclaiming my body from the harm and hate I used to put it through, I finally have something beautiful marking my skin, to balance out all the ugly scars from my past.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 11 Feb. 2008