No Inkling

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.


2 thoughts on “No Inkling

  1. I was born in the year of the snake, so I think one year younger than you. Ironically, I had a dragon tattoo on my leg. I also had a large gargoyle on my shoulder. I had once planned to have many tattoos. Several of my friends grew up to be tattoo artists and I was such a fan of their work. Getting the tattoos removed was painful both physically and emotionally. I was told my religious scholars that I did not have to remove them. Husband insisted that I get rid of them regardless of the pain and cost. He wouldn’t help me with the cream and bandages, instead I would have to call my mom to help me until I healed between sessions. He assumed I was crying from the pain, but deep down I felt this huge sense of betrayal to myself and the friend whose artwork I was erasing. Part of me thinks that I should never attempt it again, but part of me hopes that if I am free someday I might get something to replace them. That artist is no longer living, but one of his friends is still around.

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