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graffiti on your body

This was going to be about something else, really.

But I'm at that point where the frustrations of the day have mostly drained out of me, but I'm not yet ready to sleep. And rufus just posted a thing about tattoos, and I kind of wanted to talk about my thoughts on the subject my insecurities, let me show you them.

I have never, as long as I can remember, been comfortable in my body. It ranges from the mild sort of body awkwardness that I should have grown out of once my body stopped changing on me on a regular basis, to the conviction that not even my body is on my side. If you've been here long enough you probably know more than enough about my medical history, but let me just say that I've collected enough non-life threatening conditions to win Bingo or something. And I'm not kidding when I say I wish I could trade in for a new one.

Part of the problem, of course, is that most of the time I barely recognize the person in the mirror. I've never really talked about this, but there was a period of time when I thought I might actually be transsexual because the person I saw in the mirror looked wrong. I've since determined that's not the case, but I'm still surprised by what is apparently my face. And they body attached--with its bony wrists and uneven breasts and uneven shoulders and oversized feet--is no different.

I guess I've always wanted to lay claim to my body in some way. Not to make the outside match the inside or something like that, but to do something so that I can look at my body and say, "Yeah, this belongs to me." Not scars, though each of those has its story (and most of those are surgeries). If anything, the scars are just a reminder of the times my body has failed me; places where I've had to intervene just to keep things going.

Tattoos, then, would be the logical solution, but I'm not sure about it. Is there really anything that I'd want to permanently add to this skin that, I suppose, is mine? (I'm not even going to start on the significance of tattoos to a family with a history like mine.) My utter lack of pain tolerance doesn't even come into the equation, because I've never even gotten close enough to consider it.

And really, my mental state being what it is? I really shouldn't be making that kind of decision now, anyway.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
muck_a_luck
Jul. 11th, 2008 09:35 am (UTC)
Your whole thing here is so interesting.

I very rarely have that sensation - of catching a glimpse of myself in a mirror and having the is that me? feeling. Not do I look like that? But rather, wow, is my SELF really in there? It's not something that happens to me every day, but I sorta can imagine what you are describing.

I guess I've always wanted to lay claim to my body in some way.

I can get that, too.

On the other hand...

Is there really anything that I'd want to permanently add to this skin

Heh. That's the kicker. Everytime I think a tattoo idea seems neat or sexy or whatever, I find out that only skanks and fratboys would have THAT tattoo. I have decided that the world of body art is probably not for me. I just don't know all the trends and what it all means.

Also, I have become suspicious of tattoos. They are so trendy today. Everybody gets them. People think to seem they are defying convention by getting them - rebelling - and yet, everybody has them. Well, not all people, but you see what I mean. YOU are looking at this from a different angle, but with the mood of the world today, you coudln't help but get caught in the whole phenomenon.

ON THE OTHER HAND... Because you know, octopus. Who cares but you? Or rather, why should it matter if other people care? If it fits and accomplishes your goal, it's the right thing. Though your family history and the feelings of people who matter to you will of course always be important.

Sorry. I think I rambled. But this was a really thought provoking post.

melayneseahawk
Jul. 11th, 2008 12:22 pm (UTC)
Teehee, octopus.

I could blather on about how our identities are really just a conglomerate of who people think we are, and about the time in therapy that I realized that when you peeled off the various layers of roles (stage manager, barista, student, sister, daughter, friend, etc.), there wasn't a me underneath, but that gets a) depressing and b) off-topic. So yeah, no matter what I decide, people are going to see a tattoo as, like you said, trying to be edgy but really just being mainstream. There are ways to avoid that, of course (like tramp stamp, the favorite of sorostitutes, but I know of at least two people who have meaningful yet misunderstood tattoos across their lower backs), and yeah, it's not like I've ever especially cared what Average Schmoe thinks, and anyone who really matters would get an explanation sooner or later.

The other thing, of course, is that a tattoo that's going to be meaningful to me isn't going to be a butterfly or somebody's name or something like that. I'd be much more likely to get some sort of abstract pattern (Maori-inspired, or based on Indian art) than something easily recognizable. There's also part of me that wants to do a tattoo per show, once I start stage managing again, because nothing changes you like the intensive couple of months you work putting up a show, but I don't know.

And look, I rambled, too! I really should be working on my jd_ficathon. And my imaginarybeasts. And my Feature for fandom_grammar. *sigh*
triannamaxwell
Jul. 11th, 2008 11:53 am (UTC)
Like I posted in my tattoo entry, there are ways now to get tattoos that aren't so permanent, most specifically in my case white ink which fades as we age.

And no, I don't think you should make any such decision now. Just no. I get that sensation of glancing in the mirror and doing a double-take. Remember that post in, oh, 2005? Rather than make me think I was transgendered, I just assumed I was asexual. I've moved several places forward on the board since then. ::shrugs:: I guess I am saying things change, and people have a lot of time and room to do so. Even if you never quite settle into your body wholly (and I don't think most people ever do but that discussion will get religious) there will be a time that a tattoo will be a more comfortable idea -- if one is right for you. Wait. I've always held tattoos are messy, gross, and demeaning but that's changed recently as I've taken a better hold of my body.

If anything, get a piercing. A weird one like a tragus or labret. Easier to remove and still an act of control. Otherwise, don't get one when you are so unsure.
melayneseahawk
Jul. 11th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC)
Eh, for some reason, piercings kind of freak me the fuck out. :P
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