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Searing heat, but euphoric feeling

I became interested in brands a few months ago. At the time I was trying to design a small tattoo that I could get at an upcoming tattoo convention. I was walking along at work and hit upon an idea. The next thought that hit me was, "That would look great as a brand." This stopped me in my tracks. I had never given serious thought to a brand before. As soon as I got home I got online and researched branding as much as I could. I soon realized that a brand would soon be a permanent part of me.

I drew up designs, gave serious thought to it, and changed my mind every few days about what to get. I finally decided on my original idea with some changes. I wanted my birth sign, Aries, surrounded by a diamond shape. I called the studio I usually go to for piercings to see if they did brandings. The owner of the shop performed them on an appointment basis only. I got in touch with her to set the appointment. It was set for a Monday night the following week and I was ready to go.

As the time grew nearer I was giving it more and more thought. I knew I wanted one, almost needed it to feel complete, but didn't know why. I had told a few people and the question I always got was, "Why do you want to do that?" I gave some usual, generic answers but didn't know the truth of it until later. I had been feeling lost for the last few years. Not lost that I didn't know where I was going or what I was doing even though that was also the truth. But I was lost because I didn't know who I was. I've gotten a few piercings and a couple of tattoos and each time I always feel more connected to myself. I came to realize as I thought about it that a brand, typically a sign of ownership, would finally claim my body as my own. It was a way to express to myself that I didn't need anyone else's approval. I could be my own person.

I know that to a lot of people this may seem an odd way to do it. I've been told several times since getting it that I must have a low self-esteem to have to be myself this way. But it's much more than just being myself. It is myself. My brand is my own. It is my body, not a piece of metal or some ink in it. Through my brand I claimed back my life from the rest of the world. I'm not sure if even writing this will make it seem clear to other people why I did it. But to those of you considering it, or have one, other people don't need to know why. Only you do.

Anyways, I'll step of my soapbox and get on to the procedure. Come Monday I got a call saying we had to reschedule. I was disappointed but it gave me a couple more weeks to think it over some more. You can never think about getting modifications done too much. A couple of weeks later it was time again.

I went down to the shop a little early because I like to prep myself. I paced and drank lots of water and talked with a couple of the people working there. ( I'm friends with all of them so it helped pass the time) The half-hour or so passed way to quick. It was time for me.

I talked with Rose and showed her the design I wanted. She looked at the area I wanted it on and said it wouldn't be a problem. I went into the back and took my shirt off. The design was going to be on my left upper chest, my own little "badge". Rose drew the design I had shown her on my chest a couple of times to make sure it was even. She had me stand up and sit to see which position looked the most even. Standing, the design sat on the skin a little different than when I was sitting so it needed a few minor adjustments. A few minutes later the tools were done autoclaving and it was time to go.

She lit the propane torch and adjusted the flame. Her method of branding was to use a 14g surgical stainless steel rod, heat the end, and do small individual strikes to make the entire design. She heated the end of the rod and had me get comfortable in the chair I was sitting in. She told me to concentrate on my breathing and to keep doing even long breaths. She asked if I was ready and I said yes. I braced myself for the worst pain of my life.

Surprisingly, it hurt a lot less than I thought. I had read how it wasn't very painful, but you never really believe it until you find out for yourself. It felt like a burn from a stove for a quick second and then nothing. I was relieved. She did a small strike then reheated the rod. She continued doing this, branding about a half inch at a time until it was completed. I was able to easily talk during the entire procedure and felt so good about it. After she finished branding the entire design, Rose branded it once again quickly just to make sure it was of even depth.

She finished and I stood up to look at it in the mirror. It didn't hit me all at once since I had been aware of it for a little time, but I felt so connected to every part of my body. I noticed the colors on the wall, smells in the air, and tiny noises I usually miss. It was the best feeling of my life; I was at peace with everything for once.

I paid Rose and tipped her for doing such an excellent job. She truly did a great job. I was so pleased with her. I left the shop happy and euphoric. I slowly walked to my car, not in pain (the only thing I felt was a little tightness in the area, no pain at all), but just enjoying the feeling of the night air. I drove home and saw a few friends that night and even they commented on how I was acting. The brand changed me for life. I don't feel like that all the time unfortunately, but knowing I felt like that has given me a new perspective. I do feel like I have claimed my body as my own.

As cliched as it to say this in this community, branding has changed me. Not just on the surface and not in anyway immediately apparent to anyone else. It's a very personal feeling that I don't tell many people and those I do tell don't usually understand it. My brand will be with me as a constant reminder of who I was and who I am.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 23 June 2003
in Scarification

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Artist: Rose+Pulda
Studio: Miraculous+Creations
Location: Worcester%2C+MA

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