Two articles today caught my hummingbird attention. I was flitting over stories about damaged children from Syria; women who had been given a second chance by their archaic religion, which had changed to let them back into its fold; nuclear weapons in North Korea – when I stumbled upon two radically different takes on tattoos. In my defense, the article about the children made me wonder if God exists (I decided not, after reading the article). The article about Yazidism changing after a thousand years gave me faint hope for humanity. The article about North Korea made me wonder what China is really up to, and if my son should go to South Korea this autumn…So you can understand why the articles about the tattoos – something more frivolous and less tragic, would capture my attention.
The question, for one article, was why do women get tattoos? I suppose there are many reasons – I used to draw on my skin all the time – I’d use indelible ink so the drawings lasted, and when they faded, I’d draw another. My daughter drew one on my shoulder one day. I liked it so much, I got a tattoo on my shoulder.
Later, I wanted one on my ankle. I thought I wanted a mermaid, but when I saw the drawing, I knew it wasn’t for me. Last minute, about an hour before the tattoo, I decided on wheat. Why? Because it makes my ankle look thinner. And because I’d just spent over fifteen years writing and rewriting a series of books featuring a girl who is mistaken for Persephone. One of Persephone’s symbols is an ear of wheat. It fit. And it makes my ankle look thinner. I love it, although perhaps it’s not finished.
Will I get another one? Who knows. Maybe. I love the one on my shoulder and would like to get one on my other shoulder…. what’s nice is, it’s my decision, no one else has to know or say yes or no. It’s a sort of freedom, and it’s made me more comfortable with my body.