B is for Body Art
When I turned 40 I wanted to do something sacred to my body and because I’m that way sometimes I wanted to do something no one would expect that I would do. I am blessed (?) with a baby face that looks like it would never do something out of the ordinary unfortunately the face was placed on someone who never goes the easy or expected way. I have been stopped more than once going into a lesbian bar by a bouncer who saw fit to ask me if I knew what kind of establishment I was about to frequent, uh yeah, my partner is already inside. I have had cigarettes taken away from me during my one month attempt at smoking and to look cool in my twenties because “it didn’t look right”. When I was 29 I went to the Guess Your Age booth at Magic Mountain the person guessed I was 17 and then added they were giving me a few years because I looked 12. Gee thanks.
I’ve even been on a work retreat and been the only one carded when we went to a bar and everyone with me was 10 years younger and I the oldest in the group, enbarrasing… So sometimes I like to do something more representative of my inner world. So when I turned 40 I decided to get a tattoo. I made myself a set of rules for it. I had to design it. It had to be my artwork or I couldn’t get it.
I told some friends at the Pallas Society and we ended up having a field trip and two other women getting tattoos also. One much older and one much younger so it an interesting afternoon.
I wanted to get a tattoo for several reasons. Number 1, was that I have had a lot of physical pain inflicted on my by other people in my life from medical procedures and from abuse as a child and I decided I wanted to do something I could control and pass through to the other side of that was my choice. Number 2, I wanted to have a symbol of my religion. If they ever come witch hunting again they can find my witch mark with no trouble at all. It will be plainly seen and I’m proud to do it. And Number 3, I wanted to disturb some people’s ideas of who I was. I wanted to jump out of a tight pigeon hole.
So I designed what I wanted and off we went to Sunset Strip Tattoo in Beverly Hills because we had heard of a woman there that was an expert in Celtic knot work and they are a clean shop something that was not always easy to find 18 years ago.
It was a wonderful experience but there were several problems with my theory. The first one was that it didn’t hurt. I had it placed on my shoulder and since I adore a really hard back scratch it was no big deal. And it turns out that the minute she started I tranced out. I am the original little pink cloud when it comes to leaving my body. So that whole reason went right out the window. We had cast a circle before we started which amused the tattoo artist no end. It wasn’t the first time someone had done that for a tat. It was a wonderfully empowering and safe experience and when done with spiritual sisters quite amazing.
What is it? It’s a pentacle surrounded by ivy leaves with a blue moon in the center of the pentacle.
When my brother died my sister and I decided to get tattoos to honour his life. Back to Sunset Strip Tattoo but our wonderful woman was gone and we had to settle for a guy who didn’t quite know what to make of these two women.
My brother was a member of the gay bear subculture of gay men so we decided to get bear symbols. My sister has a circle of bear paw prints in rainbow colours around her arm. I got a bear that had been part of Celtic animal mandala that a friend had made. I broke my rule because I couldn’t get it to look exactly how I wanted it. So while I didn’t draw it myself it’s still something that you will never find on a selection chart in a tattoo parlour.
I expect my brother, where ever he is, is either amused or totally appalled because he was Mr Conservative and was the one that freaked out when he got his ear pierced and was afraid what mom would say. He shouldn’t have worried. She had already done the freak out with my sister and I.
I was 26 when I got mine pierced and she shrieked for 3 days about only whores, gypsies and sailors got pierced ears. Since I eventually had 5 piercing in my ears she was way passed it by the time he did it. This was all pretty amusing since at one point she said I would never inherit any of the family earring since all the stuff from before my grandmother had been already converted from pierced earrings in the first place and she was not amused when I pointed this out.
So I have a tattoo on each shoulder and have been contemplating more ever since. Next time it may be BunniHoTep or one of my other illustrations from my books. I just have to figure out where to put it that won’t wrinkle.