DIY Circle Brand

Praxis (photo by Demetruis Gonzalez) wrote me a beautiful note about her initially-not-intended-to-be DIY circle brand, explaining how it came to be self-done,

I had wanted a simple circle brand (or a few circles) for quite a while. I was too scared to brand myself and was planning on going to see John Joyce who I respect immensely. However, Syracuse was a good few hours from where I was going to school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After I graduated from college I was staying in Boston for a few weeks preparing to go to Mexico for a year on a fellowship. I was staying with a very close friend Kirsten (iam:squiggles). She and I had met four years before through iam and shared a lot over the years. As the day of my imminent departure from Boston — the place I had spent the past four years and the home of the people I loved most in the world — approached, the thought of not seeing Kirsten again for at least a year was starting to weigh upon me. Over the years Kirsten had become like a sister to me, a kindred spirit. We shared a lot of experiences and memories but it seemed like we hadn’t shared enough, that we didn’t have enough time. Kirsten is the type of person who is always up for anything, who has an open mind and wants to experience and learn from life. With her I could always do anything, be myself, and not worry about her judging me. The prospect of not having someone like that in my life made me feel sick.

One day the worry became too much… I wanted to do something “crazy”, something I couldn’t do with someone else, something I couldn’t do on my own. I thought for a while and finally my mind settled on the circle brand and mentioned to Kirsten that I wanted one. Without prompting she immediately said, “I have a plain ring you could use.” She went to her room and came back with a silver ring in her hand. It was the perfect size. I told her I was scared to do it and she said she would to it to herself first to see what way of heating the ring worked best and so I wouldn’t be so nervous. She’s like that, always thinking about other people. So she disinfected the ring and put it in boiling water until it was hot and with a pair of tweezers pressed it to the skin on her thigh. It left a blister, but we decided that if I wanted a real scar, I’d have to heat it in fire. I held the ring in the fire of the gas stove until it was hot and then pressed it to my skin. Kirsten held my hand as my skin sizzled off, and as I reheated the ring and rebranded myself a few more times to make an even circle.

She still has the faint mark of a circle on her knee (and she didn’t even want a brand to start out with!) and I have my circle brand, a reminder of her and my friendship and everything we shared. Now, on my own in Mexico, when I see my brand I am reminded of everything Kirsten and I have shared and of our friendship, which continues to grow though we are no longer in the same city.


23 thoughts on “DIY Circle Brand

  1. gotta say that’s a nice story to an awesome looking mod! (and nevertheless props to the DIY work!)

  2. This is an incredibly beautiful image. Lovely story behind too.

    Thanks Shannon! I love this site. ^_^

  3. Branding intreagues me. This is a lovely simple thing, with the perfect story behind it. And I really want her boots 😛 Great photo.

  4. Hi, just wondering but are they tattooed nipples as well or are they just naturally a dark colour?

  5. What a sweet and beautiful story. I’m happy fo rthose two having such a lovely friendship! I wish them the best.

  6. @Jonty King: my wife and I were wondering the same thing. It’s OK if we look at this together, right 😉

  7. haha, every time I am modblogged people always ask if my nipples are tattooed. No, they are naturally that dark. Actually a lot of people with skin tones like mine or lighter have nipples this dark. Also, since this picture was taken the color of the brand has lightened up a bit and it has also become a lot more raised. Healing this brand was an interesting lesson in scars and how they transform, they change so much, a lot different from tattoos and piercings where you get is basically what you live with. Very cool. Im still going to see John Joyce at some point, promise!
    I love you kirsten!!

  8. I love you so much Kelly!
    I do still have a mark on my thigh, and every time I see it it makes me happy because those few weeks you lived here were some of the happiest of my life!

  9. Awww. This made me think of my best friend who im now away from yet were still stong in our friendship she was the one who encouraged me to get my nipples pierced when I visited her a little while ago since I had wanted them done forever and she held my hand the whole way. In fact she was more nervous then I was haha.

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