Symbolism; engraved relics.
Deeply spiritual undertones are still rippling through me, an ocean of a girl who now feels one iota closer to her true form, even three years after this process. The past forty-eight hours after I received my tattoo were witnesses to an engagement of emotions that I chose to display in a rather toss and tumble, flux and flow sort of way. Describing them (and their origins) is just as easily predictable as it is complicated: nervousness, tension, excitement, pleasure, gratefulness, sincerity, relief. These words fall short of their true nature, diluting the heat and humble fierceness of their presence. I will say this: I have no regrets about my tattoo, nor the experience in which it was given its form. This experience that I have decided to share is a testimony to that day, one that started with tension, adrenaline and pain, and ended with many gratified "thank you's" and a deeply personal respect for my artist.
A confession: I wept during the process. While he was inking the outline. The pain wasn't intense so much as persistent and I believe my body needed justification for this act. At first, my nose began to run and when I reached a hand upward to relieve this matter, my eyes started pooling with tears, so I just let them fall. A concerned look from a browsing stranger allowed me a quick smile, for she must have thought me to be miserable. Quite the opposite, dear one. Symbolic rituals often include sacrifices upon those undergoing such rituals and I was not about to relinquish myself of a few tears just to prove my ability to conquer pain. Admittedly, I sometimes commanded myself to think about anything soft, durable, comforting: satin sheets, newborn puppies, an ocean of cotton.
After my artist completed the final touches, swabbed down my new ink and bandaged it accordingly, I exited the tattoo shop with an overwhelming sense of appreciation for him, not to mention his talent and good manners. My parting words to him were merciful and kind and I tipped him well to show just how profound my gratitude was. In light of this charitable endeavor, he decided to give me my aftercare for free. He also asked me if I had any other tattoos. I shook my head and told him no, that he was bestowed the honour of the first one. He smiled and said, "That's surprising because you handled it really well."
My partner at that time was studious in helping me apply the aftercare ointment to the tattoo, his fingers gently swabbing the entire area three times daily. I remember standing in the kitchen one afternoon with my back to him and I heard him whisper, "Wow." Barely audible, almost like an echo. I turned around and questioned his monosyllabic choice of expression. His response: "Honestly, I wasn't certain how you'd look with a tattoo, or whether I'd find it strange seeing you with one. But this... it looks like you were almost supposed to be born with it." I smiled and thought, "Well, of course. Of course."
A few months before my appointment, my now ex-partner admitted that he was hesitant to see me with a tattoo. I know that he had doubts about seeing a change on my body, doubts about the fact that I am choosing to scatter small figures of symbolism on my body, redesigning the skin in which I was born. But this is how I carve out my stories; the important ones, the dangerous ones, the ones made of sacrifice and something more fluid, more necessary than air. This is how I choose to remember. My faith in myself is fragile and demands a level of permanency that swift metaphors and the glass castles of speech cannot provide.
Once I returned home, I realized that relaxation was futile. My adrenaline was still swerving through my bloodstream at a colossal speed. I did not retire to the caverns of sleep that night until the first triggers of dawn started pinpricking the horizon. I wanted to rip my clothes from my body and run deep into the woods, drink from a river, feel her rushing waters envelop me, sustain me. Twenty-four hours had not even passed and yet I was already missing the sting of the needle, the shrill song & dance routine it made across my body. I'm utterly convinced that tattoo needles and the art they create are more sincere than most people. Our bodies as living testimonies, subconscious desires turned corporeal.
With this tattoo, I feel so powerful, yet delicate, filled with a greater sense of purpose and rhythm. All carved relics and humble evolution. To have a deeper understanding of words like "transformation." This is where I am at right now. This is how I choose to evolve.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 30 June 2008