"I love stars"
I love stars. I draw them all over
everything, including my body. Regular old five-pointed stars.
I sew star patches on my clothes and I put star barettes in my hair and I paint stars on my face. I am a writer, and I write about stars. I stare at stars in the sky.
Last week I went to South Street in
Philadelphia with my two best girlfriends and my brother. After
eating at Jim's Steaks we stepped into the first tattoo parlor we
saw. I asked how much it would cost for a tiny star. He made a noise
and spat out a price. He looked at me. I didn't like him at
all and his stupid store was dinky and creepy. We left.
The next store we came to was bigger,
brighter, and more cheerful. I walked around, staring at all of the
tattoos on the walls. I knew exactly what I wanted but I was having
trouble breathing since I came into the store. I knew I liked the place, and that brought me closer to the actual experience. I walked quickly down to the front desk and asked how much it would cost, quickly and loudly.
Everyone turned around to look at me, and among all the scary faces a woman emerged, drying her hands on a towel. She was about fifty, and her grey-blonde hair fell around her soft face. She said, "Well, now what is it you want?" I told her a star, about the size of a quarter and she kind of frowned and said, "That small?" She looked at me and told me to come behind the desk into the studio. She began to draw a star on the nape of my neck. My girlfriends shouted from the desk that it should be lower and my tattoo artist spun around and told them to be quiet. She said it with a sparkle in her eye. "This is betweeen Psyche and I, and you let Psyche and I talk." She drew a star, very much bigger than a quarter, and I looked at it with the mirror. I nearly cried. It was so beautiful. I wanted it so bad-- now if only there weren't the needle standing in the way...
She looked at me with her light eyes, and
spoke to me in a soft, mothering vioce. I don't remember her words, I was
too nervous, too scared. But she told me I needed to want this
tattoo. She told me to think about it. She talked
to me for a while, and in that time I started to make up my mind. I looked
at her. "If I get it done, will you be the one to do it?"
She laughed and said yes. I grabbed my friends and we went across the street so they could get some facial piercings. As they filed into "the back room" to pierce their respective eyebrows and septums, I looked at the pictures on the walls of the piercing shop, and looked at the magazines. One of the magazines said something about the "self-designed body." This resonated in me. Yes.
This is what I wanted. I wanted my body to look the way I wanted it to. The same reason my hair has been pink for so long. I think I look beautiful with pink hair, and I feel like it is my natural color. I love it. I love looking in the mirror and seeing myself with pink hair. Gorgeous!
My friends emerged, swollen and giggling,
hyped on endorphins. I started shivering, knowing the time was
coming. My friends didn't know whether or not I was doing it-- I guess I
didn't either. We sat on the street, smoking. I was shaking
visibly. I was starting to feel queasy. I got nervous before of all
of my eight ear piercings, but never like this.
I walked in. I asked if I could use
their bathroom, and looked at the back of my neck in the mirror. I told my
artist that yes, I wanted the tattoo. "Yes," she said.
"That's a word I like to hear. No maybes." She instructed me to straddle a chair. I watched as she poured ink into a little palette and pulled out the equipment. I was so nervous, I couldn't even hear what my friends were saying to me over the pounding of blood in my ears. My artist knew I was scared. She told me she would stop if I wanted to.
She explained the process in her soft words and looked at me with her lovely eyes. I felt safe and utterly under her command. Had we met on any other basis, I might have felt her to be overbearing and pushy. But that was exactly what I needed. She mothered me.
I sat in the chair, staring at the crotch
of my jeans, and feeling my back exposed to the cool air. She placed her
firm hands on me and turned on the needle. As she did everything, she
spoke to me in words I didn't have to respond to. She said, "there,
now that doesn't hurt, does it?" "See, and you were
scared!" And no one could see the huge smile on my face-- it didn't
hurt at all! Nothing like my ear piercings. It felt hot, and it made
me vibrate. I started to enjoy it, like a really intense massage.
And I felt the endorphins rushing up and down my body. I was in ecstasy! After hours of tension, I felt waves of relief washing over me, and it brought me to tears.
over before I knew it, and I stood up and looked at. I told my artist that
I thought it was beautiful. She smiled, and was visibly
pleased. She laughed and shook my hand after I paid her. I was
beaming like a little girl-- and the weirdest part was having to leave so
soon. I felt like we had just had a deeply intimate experience, and all of
a sudden it was over. She, I and eternity had just shared a couch, and now
I was leaving. Maybe she might not remember me, but I could never forget
her kind words and her kind eyes.
I love my tattoo. Although the other
night I woke up at 3AM, sweating and thinking over and over in my head,
"It's going to be there forever!" I have had nothing but positive
feelings for my tattoo. Some of my friends don't like it, but I can
say I really don't care. It is my tattoo, I am responsible for it being there, it is me, and I love it.
Sincerely, Psyche Zarah
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 Feb. 1999