Tattoos are mainstream.
You all might as well accept that. They no longer designate a person who is a “rebel,” or someone who will never get a job, or any kind of delinquent. Anyone, from a grizzled biker to a Christian college freshman girl, might be sporting some ink.
It’s all about placement, like the real estate mantra of “Location, location, location.” I’ve been thinking about a tattoo for years, and have decided that I want words – small, simple text – on the inside of my wrists. It can be easily covered if need be, but is something I can easily show off as well, and most importantly, is in a place I can see.
Why tattoo, though? One of the many criticisms of tattooing is its permanency, but that is also one of its purposes. Yeah, it’s permanent. I want it to be. I want something meaningful to be literally engraved unto my body so I can’t forget it. It won’t wash off. Permanency is so important to some people that they get tattoos where their skin is literally carved into and the tattoo is the scar tissue that forms. I personally wouldn’t get this done (because I’m kind of wimpy about pain and knives), but I understand the reasoning. A lot of people think it’s body mutilation and weird, but it’s just sacrificing some personal comfort for a desired result. It hurts, yeah, but having the scar also means you don’t have to get retouches and go through more needles. I know some religious people who would think it’s some kind of sin or sign of self-hatred, or even that the cuts are parallel to pagan rituals where people would cut their skin out of grief for the dead, but if the tattooee has a specific reason for the process, then that’s what it’s about. There is such a thing as reading too much into something.
A tattoo would serve as a reminder of hope for me. I haven’t decided on the text I want, but I have options. One of them is a brief line from one of my favorite poems by Dylan Thomas: “Do not go gently into that dark night.” The phrase would be “blind eyes could blaze,” with two words on each wrist. To me, that line is a reminder to not give up even when it seems like all my strength is gone. I can’t necessarily see what’s ahead, but I’m still alive and fighting.
My other idea is also from Dylan Thomas poem: “And death shall have no dominion.” It is from the first stanza, last two lines. “Though lovers be lost love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.” It’s a victory cry. It’s a declaration of truth.