Wednesday, 18 April 2012

on "why tattoos?"

i have 3 tattoos. the most recent one is new; fresh ink from yesterday.

they are not a secret, but i have not announced this one this time. i'm verging on a guilty conscience because my mum does not like tattoos, and i never ever want to make her mad. she says the same thing whenever i tattoo or pierce: "you have such a beautiful body, why would you want to change it?".

i've been working on my argument, because i'll be home soon (in australia) and i will inevitably have my mum to answer to (don't we always have to answer to our mums at some point?).

my first tattoo, right shoulder, is an owl, and i got her as my whistler souvenir. she is inspired by a drawing i saw on a book cover, drawn by an artist local to British Columbia, which is the province of Canada i live in. an owl is a powerful female symbol, as well as being a symbol of wisdom and connected to books and reading. these are my things. well, i'm working on the wisdom.

my second tattoo, left shoulder, is a girl with a red umbrella and red boots, with snow and rain falling on her from a dark cloud, and puddles at her feet. i loved the image when i first saw it, and it fits in with the idea "love will keep your feet warm and your head dry". i'm a girl so i do believe in that sort of stuff. love stuff i mean. i do also believe in umbrellas, but normally forget mine on buses, trams and trains.

my newest beauty is a bit more of a commitment. it's on my hand. but really, for me, that's the only place it could go. i have a white feather quill pen, with a red nib, and some splashes of red ink on the knuckle- one is the shape of a rough heart (more love; gross, right?). in writing this blog for the last 2 years, i've realized how much i love to write- i've written stories to myself since i could string an alphabet together, but i kept them to myself (possibly a wise decision considering the tomes of teenage angst i churned out- thanks to the instincts for that call). i may not be a great writer, and i may never write a classic, but i do like to write, and i intend to keep on it for the rest of my life. and to be as much myself and as genuine as i can in what i write. so perhaps i shall steer away from scripts for unscripted infomercials.

so, why? they're permanent! god help us all, no amount of scrubbing is going to get me out of this mess. honestly though, i think everything that happens to you in your life leaves a mark of some kind, and i don't just mean "remember that time you cut your leg open really deep and needed stitches".

for me, tattoos are about collecting beautiful things. i think both dave petko and lacey jean, who tattooed their works onto me, are amazing artists. i love having artwork as permanent parts of me. i love all my tattoos. i like the process, the ritual, i like seeing a master at work (hangin' out with lacey yesterday reminded me how much i like to see tattoo equipment being prepared, the ink, the needles of various sizes, the care and carefulness), i don't like the pain but i do like knowing i can sit through it (haven't done anything seriously hardcore yet, not like ribs, i hear those set you up for some hurtin').

to my mum i might say that i don't believe a tattoo will change my body, nor does my wish to get tattoos mean that i need to look different to be happy. and, honestly, this body of mine, i'll have it to do things with for another 55-60 years tops, and a tattoo will not hinder any part of phyiscally living my life. it's not political. it's self-decoration, souvenir. they're mine.

as my closing argument, i offer up the sentiment below. i know for a fact i will not be laying in my deathbed, struggling with my last breaths to say "i wish i never got that tattoo". 


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