• 41,354 / 1,384,399
  • 22 / 10,289
  • 891 / 54,915

Wanted them. Got them.

A little bit of history might be helpful here. Since I was about eighteen, I'd wanted to receive a brand. I always had a bit of a problem with burns, though. I suppose it's something subconscious, like when I was two and pulled a pitcher of boiling tea over on my right arm and lost a bit of flesh. My whole forearm was scarred up pretty badly until I was about five or six when it started to fade. A little bit of it is still visible, but most of it is covered by tattoos.

I think the first brand I can really remember seeing was from a character in a Steven Segal move. I believe the movie was Marked for Death, and there was this Jamaican "bad guy" named Screwface with these really cool "dots" on his face. Later, I realized what they were supposed to be (brands), and decided I wanted some. This was when I was about seven or eight.

I always really liked the look of two short, straight lines running side-by-side, so that's what I ultimately decided upon. All that was really left was the placement. I've also always been fascinated by smile lines, which I think is where the inspiration came from (although the brands are not meant to mimic smile lines). I decided on two lines on each side of my mouth, about one and a quarter inches from the end of my lips, about a quarter of an inch apart. The brands themselves would (hopefully) be about an eighth of an inch thick.

Next came preparation. I gathered my materials, which were a large safety pin, a bottle of rubbing alcohol, some cotton balls, and a lighter. (I do not recommend that anyone try this under any circumstances. I was confident that I would get the desired result, and I was very lucky to have succeeded.) I stood for a while, staring at my face in the mirror, trying to make sure that I had the placement correct, and did dry runs with unheated metal.

Once I was sure I could pull it off, I began to heat the safety pin and clean my face and the safety pin repeatedly with the alcohol. It took a few tries, heating the metal and just standing there, before I finally got up the nerve to make contact. I started on the inside brand of the left side of my face. I can still remember the feeling. It was sharp, not terribly painful, oddly satisfying. The rest of the strikes were fairly easy after the initial strike was completed. In about thirty minutes, I was finished, and satisfied with my brands.

The healing process took about three weeks (including the time I picked at the scabs to try to increase the scaring), and the only bad thing was the itching from my beard. I had no infection, and the placement was excellent. I hadn't wanted perfect symmetry, I knew that was impossible anyway, because my face is not perfectly symmetrical. I was very pleased with the way they turned out after they had healed. I especially like the way they were indented into the skin, instead of raised above it.

I got some rather interesting looks everywhere I went during the healing, and the first few weeks after they were completely healed. I got everything from "What happened, did your cat attack you?" to "What are those...toenail scratches?" I don't really even want to know why that question came up...

I think the worst part about the entire experience was listening to the people at work. I was at Borders at the time, not the most accepting group (despite what they would have most people think). I think I got more insults and negative remarks from the "open-minded" people there than anywhere else I went. From that point on (at work at least) I was looked at as someone that enjoyed mutilating himself.

As far as family goes, I think they just tried to ignore it. My mother was obviously pissed the first time she saw them. She's never been accepting of my mods (she hates my tattoos...but admitted to me that my waves are very pretty...and doesn't like my lobes, either), and this just made things worse. She had the same concern as did my fellow employees, but I assured her that it would not be a problem (and just for the record, it hasn't been a problem at all), and that it would be alright. I gave up trying to explain them to anyone in my family. They're mostly "set in their ways" and can't be bothered by thinking about things differently, especially something brought on by the young "rebel" of the family.

About five months later, I ended up having to redo them due to the scar tissue fading away. I repeated the above process, and went through the same healing process, with no infection (although it did itch again). Today, the brands are starting to fade once again, but I love them the way they are.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 29 July 2004
in Scarification

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