I never, ever imagined as a child that I would make it this far into adulthood without a tattoo. It was something discussed from middle school on, what sort of tattoo one planned to get.
I was born in a dragon year, and that was my original thought-a dragon, but as I got older I wanted a tree tattooed on my spine. An actual tree found at the junction of 494 and 7, a twisted yet full thing that never seemed to leaf out, standing alone and defiant on a hillock in the cloverleaf. Blackened and twisted from trunk to sky.
Something on the outside to show the pain inside, the literal scoliosis, arthritis, and also the emotional futility of my reaching towards the sky. I had it quoted back then, at half a month’s pay. Cheap as I am, I never went for it.
When I converted I cast that goal aside, tattoos are frowned upon in the faith. I have no such constraints, now.
But now I don’t see myself quite in that way. I mean, it all still hurts but I balk at having pain define me.
I wonder what does reflect me. I seem to look back and see different people at different times in my life, and only right now do I bear any resemblance to myself, my personality, as a child. I mean my feelings, not my behaviours.
When I was a kid I lived in squats when I could, and hung out with squatters on days off of school when I was living at home. I ran away countless times and I did my best to stay gone, usually. There were a lot of reasons for that, but this post is about symbols and self identity.
I have always wanted to make a squatter sign quilt (it would be a sort of inside joke, for what squatters can sit down and gather material and do a months long project? Probably only European squatters, who don’t have to move so much.), but arthritis is not conducive to that hobby.
I googled it, to see if that was still what people used for squatting, as it is two decades and some since then, and I found it quite readily. But not as we used it. We added the female sign to the tail, and in my search I did not find it that way, anywhere. Who would think equality was more prevalent and conscious in squatter culture back then? At least in my city.
If I were to pick a sign today for myself, would that be it? Probably.
Maybe I should major in subcultures- I test into college next week.