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My First (as of yet) personal branding experience

For a couple of months or so I had been planning to create a zigzag pattern around my left bicep (I am right handed and since I was planning on doing the brand myself it was logical to choose the left arm) and I had pre-made the brand out of some unknown metal that I worked into a double V shape (VV) . I knew of a few people who had branded themselves with a coat hanger, but these brands appeared very spread out and they had not retained the desired form, so I assumed all that was necessary was to decrease the gauge of the metal.

I came home and for some unknown reason felt that it was the perfect time to proceed, I did not feel overly nervous, just really positive about the idea. I looked over my design and concluded that the metal was still too thick so I searched and found a very thin paperclip (I now understand the stupidity in my decisions to even consider either of these metal objects as candidates for branding materials) and bent it into a single V, I also thought this would allow for better heat distribution, it did, when I went to my gas stove and turned the flame up I reconsidered doing the entire brand that night. I thought it might be better if I do one V then and allow it to heal before completing the rest (one by one in peak mental states such as the one I had found myself in that evening). This thought was supported as I heated the metal to a bright orange and brought it closer to my flesh.

Hesitation... only a couple of seconds... but enough time for the metal to cool a little.

This time I understood there could be no hesitation.

I brought the metal to its golden state once more and carefully pressed it into my arm.

There was a sizzle and an aroma of burnt skin/hair in the air.

Once the sizzle stopped I pulled the brand free.

This had been my first step into bodmod so I had no idea of what to expect. I was overwhelmed, I felt a lot of things clear up in my mind, so I continued with the process adding another eight strikes until I reached the point where I could no longer see what I was doing (the back of my arm could not be safely done by myself). This was anticipated, I had earlier decided I would have another person add a separate brand in the three inch space between the ends of the zig-zagging mark.

The brand took approximately one month to heal (scabs off). It was quite interesting having a scar go almost completely around my arm, I had to flex constantly to stop the scab from tightening up in one position. I did not pick, scrub, or clean the scab with anything other than antibacterial soap, I was interested in how my body would heal itself without outside intervention, there was no real keloiding (I have never scarred thick) but the surface is definitely altered. I am happy with the results.

I had intended on branding myself for a number of reasons, I had long wanted to add to my body, I felt facing such a challenge as branding myself would be humbling, and there were other things involved as well, but I gained so much more than I expected.

It's hard for me to explain what this experience did for me, a lot of people just do not take me seriously when I try, but when I was executing the strikes I felt as If I knew myself, as if I had broke down some wall I had built to protect myself from myself. It was a very liberating moment. This may sound like a half-assed attempt at an explanation but to continue would be redundant, that sums it up. Certain terms could be used such as "rite of passage", "initiation", etc., but I would like to call it personal growth.

Since this experience I have discovered BME (as well as the many other great body art links) and have been trying to learn as much as possible about body modification and all other related issues so as not to repeat my technical mistakes. I have been exposed to a world and a growing culture which I feel very much in tune with. And there are so many different aspects of the body that I find myself drawn to.

Because of my financial situation I have not been able to seek professional assistance on some of my other desires, but I have been able to begin play piercing. This I find relatively simple if I follow strict cleaning guidelines and stay away from areas with a higher potential for problems (my genitalia cries out for sensation) until I can do it safely and with guidance. I do not know of anyone in my city who practices ritual piercing so I am forced to perform alone. This is tricky because a lot of areas that are safe to play with are off limits because my arms do not bend that way without blocking my much needed view. I have been finding my private sessions almost therapeutic, cleansing the mind.

I am so excited to have found a way to exist with passion, up until my little branding experience I had no idea.

A new beginning?


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 25 Sept. 1997
in Scarification

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