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Inner pictures - Outer lives

This is a mean world.

At 29, I never expected my life to turn out the way it has. I am on the outside very close to the way I've always seen myself in my mind's eye. I'm closer to my ideal with every mod that I get.

But the outward direction my life has taken is much different than I ever thought it would be. Two-time college dropout. Married and divorced. Moved 10 times in the last 8 years. Currently unemployed, in a town I'm unfamiliar with. Close to broke, and relying on the kindness of my family and friends to keep my head above the water I feel like I've been treading for too long.

What does this have to do with modifications you ask? Let me explain.

Ever since I was small, body modification has had me in its thrall. I can't remember the first time I saw someone with tattoos, or someone with a nose ring... but there had to be that first time. I just can't recall it. I wanted to get my nose pierced when I was 13. My parents would have no part of it. And out of a sense of respect to my parents (who are wonderful, amazing people), I really didn't get anything done until I was older and out of their house.

The funny thing is, though, that I had an overwhelming fear of needles for years. I remember having nuns holding me down when I was 5 and I had to have blood taken. I vaguely remember being 3, and they had me tied to a 'papoose board" to give me stitches after an incident involving me trying to scale the face of a dresser.

I didn't even get my ears pierced for the first time until I was 13.

After that, it kind of took off.

I'll never forget being 18, working at a crappy fast food job, and having the locally famous owner of a tattoo shop come in for lunch... everyone else in the place looked at his huge inked and pierced bulk warily... but I was obsessed. I'd never seen half the piercings he had before. I'd never seen a labret, or large gauged lobes, outside of National Geographic, and it never really occurred to me that people in my area did those kinds of things. It opened my eyes. (Note: this was the late 80's early 90's when modifications were almost never seen in mainstream America...)

Now, it's 11 years later, and here I am. Left arm ¾ sleeved, and I have many other tattoos (including some crappy self-done ink I need to have repaired. Don't try that at home kids.). ¾" lobes, bridge piercing, lip piercing, nipples... roughly 18 or so other piercings done, healed and abandoned.

My point?

As I said, I'm 29. Not a college graduate. Semi-homeless (in that I don't actually have a place of my own...).. living in a small college town in the Midwest of the US of A.

YOU try finding a job.

Anymore, mods are becoming more and more commonplace. Cellular phone commercials. Bank commercials. The cashier at Target. Magazine covers. Actresses. Hell, MALL stores.

But it seems like it's only acceptable for the young and 'trendy' not an old working coot like me. I think it would be different if I was a techie, but I'm not. I still have to play by their rules.

And I can't play that game.

Over the years I've mellowed out quite a bit. The shock of multiple facial piercings wore off (I used to have 5, plus 11 earrings), and I'm pared down simply to two in each ear (admittedly ¾"and 8g) and a bridge piercing. I've reached my balance, and here I'll stay.

But where does the line get drawn? I'm almost out of money, and I need to get a job. I'm having trouble deciding how far I'll have to go...at what point do I sell myself out so I can pay my bills?

The piercings can come out, but the tattoos aren't going anywhere, and long sleeves can only get you so far before people start asking questions.

It's ridiculous that a society that supposedly places so much on the individuals' right to choose (ha), is pressuring me to let go of a integral part of who I am.

I don't think I can do it.

Even if I did remove the piercings, at some point, someone would notice the tattoos, and where would that leave me? Up a certain creek without a paddle, I'm afraid.

5 years ago, if you told me that I would be in the precarious position I'm in now, I don't know if I would have made some of the choices that I did. I might have chosen to get more work done on my legs, rather than my forearms. I might have continued in school, so that there would be a wider range of employment options. I don't know.

But I do know that I don't regret what I am, or the way my life is now.

One thing, though. Don't go into mods lightly. They will have repercussions on your life that you can't even imagine now. I don't regret anything that I've done, but it has made the path much harder and more fraught with obstacles than I ever could have imagined.

But I don't honestly think I'd change a thing.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 Nov. 2001
in Ritual

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