Wednesday, April 7, 2010

tattoos

This was my submission for CofC NOW's Look Book, our activism project compiling people's stories about their bodies. Available soon at a (yet to be determined) location near you!





I got my first one when I was eighteen, and it literally shocked my mother into silence. She stopped speaking to me for several days. Not all reactions have been quite as strong since then. They usually garner some concerned looks, a variety of complements, frequent questions—what does that one mean?

Each one tells a story. There’s the lotus on my back that I got in my hometown, surrounded by women who love me, to represent the rebirth I felt when I came out. The equal sign on my wrist from Seattle, with new friends. The radish from Portland, Oregon, reminding me that change should be radical, always beginning at the roots. And of course, the fateful four-leaf clover on my foot that may once have expressed teenage rebellion but now reminds me how lucky I am to have the countless good things in my life I do—including a concerned mother and a family that cares about me as much as mine does.



They represent what is important to me—important enough to permanently attach to myself—and they let me speak my mind without ever having to open my mouth. My tattoos represent me taking a stand about what goes on my body. No one can decide that but me.
Most days I love them. I’m glad they’re there, showcasing my ideals to the world even when I don’t feel like talking. More than anything, I like that they show everyone I have the ability to make my own, life-changing decisions for myself. Yep, I did it, I don’t regret it, and I’m not looking back.

Occasionally the thought passes my mind that maybe getting these tattoos was a bit of a rash decision—what about when I get old and saggy? But thoughts like that are fleeting and always overshadowed by the fact that I made that rash decision myself. It’s empowering.
In a world that’s constantly trying to make me feel like I am utterly incapable of that, that I’m better off with other people making my decisions for me—about my body, who I should love, what I should say, how I should act—it’s a reminder that I need. My tattoos are my autonomy, evidenced right there on my body—for me.





Photo credit to Wesley Laudeman, photog extraordinare.

2 comments:

arastarred said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
arastarred said...

I love this, I'm so glad you decided to do something for the look book.