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pain, and then no pain (branding)

Most of my close friends think branding is something that only sick and deranged people do. I suppose they must think I'm sick and deranged too. Only they don't know that they think this way about me... a bit of background: around the end of june ('01) i was getting out of a bad place, getting rid of some destructive habits. i knew that to do so i had to push one of my closest friends out of my life. that was probably one of the hardest things i've ever had to do. a few days before that, another friend of mine told me he was going to kill himself. he never did, but i had some sleepless nights because of it. i went into some sort of depression/withdrawl for a little while. it felt like my world was coming apart and i had no control over any of it. then one day i put a piece of hot metal to my flesh. i branded a cross on my upper arm. having no control over my life was no longer a threat to me, but something i took comfort in (i'm a firm believer in predestination/god). the preparation: my brand wasn't something planned. it wasn't accidental or anything, but it's not something i had thought about for a year or a month--or even a day. i had several lit candles on my desk. i really like candles. i used to always play with the wax. at one point i had stuck a steak knife in the flame and then pressed it into an eraser and watched as the rubber melted beneath the hot metal somehow i got the idea to do this to my arm. i cleaned the rubber off the knife, rolled up my sleeve, and did something to my body that i would keep with me for the rest of my life the branding: i did not see smoke, or hear popping sounds. i felt pain for a little while, and then felt no pain. i closed my eyes and took a deep breath. and then i did it again. the physical healing: luckily my arm didn't get infected. nothing was even close to being sterile. it was pretty clean at best. i picked at the scar a bit, but i'm not a big fan of blood or oozing lymph so there wasn't much of that going on. i kept it clean, and gave it a good scrubbing in the shower while cleaning the rest of me. i'm a bit obsessive-compulsive about it--think ethan hawke in gattaca. it's been about one and a half months and it's a brownish pink colour, not very raised, but i can feel it. the emotional healing: after branding myself, things started coming back together. i was less and less depressed (some mood swings though). i lived a clean lifestyle ever since. i got my ear cartilage pierced (the experience is here somewhere). i found bme, and i realized that i am not alone. random (and not so random) thoughts: i can't say that i'm not pleased with the way the brand looks. to me, there's something so primal and beautiful about branding, and this one definitely looks the part. it's not even close to being "perfect" but to me, it's perfect. i suppose i'm a bit worried that it will fade away--i've read about how most pros use torches and high temperatures...but it doesn't bother me that much. someone i know suggested having blair redo it for me. although i am now interested in having some branding done by him, i'm happy with what i've done. i guess as an after thought, i'll say that i've never had any masochistic or self-destructive habits. i actually tend to run away from pain. this branding seemed to be so out of character for me, and yet it felt so right to do it. and a second after thought... ever since the branding, i've been getting over a lot of my fears. i had put off my cartilage piercing for a year because i was too afraid of needles and blood. when i had my hep B shots in high school they had to give me a teddy bear to hold on to. but a week after my branding i went to get pierced. i'm also (slowly) getting over my fear of heights. still afraid of germs though. and bugs... oh well. this stuff takes time i guess. my outlook on life has changed. you know when something big happens and you're never the same... i think that when I made this permanent change to my body, the rest of me changed as well. i realized how temporary this body is, and i also realized who i belong to. and a third after thought (gee, my helix experience was so much easier to fill than this one--i'm not really doing this for the free membership as much as i am for the contribution this time)... bme rules. shannon, thank you so much for creating all of this.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 16 Aug. 2001
in Scarification

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Artist: me
Studio: my+room
Location: toronto

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