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Now I know it didn't smell like pork last time.

I did it again.

The last time I branded myself I told myself that I would wait, and get my next one done professionally, but of course I have the willpower of a sugar-obsessed five year old on a pile of sweets, so it was inevitable that I came back, five months later, to do another.

This one was a lot more important to me. Before I was still very much rooted in somewhat of a depression, and as such I branded myself alone, without telling anybody, and as such had a very different experience than I did on this new one.

Luckily, I received a lot of positive comments about the little celtic knot that I worked on last time, which was a major factor in letting my friends know, this time, that I was doing it.

Of course, this time I knew a lot more of what to expect, and was prepared. Unlike before, if which within an hour of deciding to brand I had the design forming on my leg, this time I was planning days in advance. Well, for weeks I had known I wanted another little flaming image, but it was on a Friday night that I decided for sure that I was going to brand myself again.

I sat and planned out all the equipment I would need, and came up with a tentative list that ended up as my final equipment list, and that was fairly simple.

I decided, this time, to use a candle flame rather than a direct lighter flame for heating what was this time a bent safety pin. The candle seemed a better choice, as I wouldn't need to devote a hand to holding it, and it was a constant source of heat.

I used a paperclip, with about half a centimetre of the tip bent away from the point. Although there were no lines in my design under about two centimetres long, I preferred the sensation of the image slowly forming from this tiny point.

The image was a difficult thing to come up with, I spent hours wracking my brains to try and come up with a suitable design. I eventually came across what I now have by scribbling. I gently dragged a pencil across some paper to get some wavy lines that I straightened out, made look more respectable, and it struck my mind as being a swan. Not, to slightly alter a quote, what a swan looks like, but what a swan is. And so I tried seeing how I could transform this.

What I came up with I loved instantly. It is a figure of a squared stick man, with a head that looks very much like a question mark. I looked at it, and it struck me just how perfect a design it was. Not what man looks like, but what man is. A simple body, a skeleton so much like all others, but set apart by a head full of questions.

And so it began. I, along with a friend who instantly fell in love with my last branding, sat down in my room to start. After some discussion we decided that this little man would live on my shin, walking along with me.

I stretched my leg out on the floor and realised I'd best shave my leg. Now, despite many stories to the contrary, I'd never actually done this, so I was quite glad that I managed not to slip and spoil my canvas. I sat back down and drew. I was careful, and with a ruler in hand carefully marked out with a biro (just like I used last. Yes, I know it's not ideal, but I do love that home made charm) the design on my bald shin.

1, 2, 3...

Then it came down to the burning, the part I couldn't wait for. I had the safety pin in hand and was ready. I slowly and carefully lined up the pin with where I would strike, and then moved it into the flame. I breathed slowly and deeply while counting to twenty aloud, along with my rapt friend. As I neared twenty my eyes locked on the small part I planned to burn and replayed in my mind how I would push the metal down onto the skin.

..18, 19, 20

I pulled my hand quickly away from the flame and guided the pin to the black line that I was going to mark. As the metal touched there was a slight hiss and my hand drew back. I cursed myself and gritted my teeth as I pushed the metal back and the hissing grew again. There was a surprising pop and more smoke than I had expected. And of course, it smelled like burnt pork. That was the biggest surprise, and coupled with rush of adrenaline that branding brought, had me laughing, albeit briefly. I slowly repeated this process over and over. It took a lot longer than I had expected, driving my friend to boredom. Hell, it was monotonous. The pain really wasn't so bad, in under a second each time the heat burned through the nerves. The problem was holding it tight enough each time, which I occasionally had a little difficulty doing, but nothing pain-wise was unexpected.

Half way through I decided to have a smoke, thinking about what I had done so far. I sat back, relaxed, and let myself get lost in the sensation as again the metal hit me.

After this, the rest of the brand really didn't seem to go so badly, or take so long. A lot of the time I couldn't hold down the pin for as long as I wanted, and had to brand twice. As such it's now a little uneven, but I don't mind. It all goes along with the theme, nobody's perfect, so why should my little symbol of humankind be?

And now he's on his way to a successful healed branding, I'm quite surprised about this, as I went about it in completely the wrong way, and failed to even dress the open wounds afterwards. By all accounts I should have got an infection as none of my tools were sterilised and I left it open and bleeding a lot during irritation. I really wouldn't do it like that if I were you.

But now, sitting on my right leg, this little guy walks along with me, every step I take.

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 14 Aug. 2004
in Scarification

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