Friday Firesmith – Tattoos, Too

If your question is, “What are they going to look like when you get older?”, my reply is “I am older. I have never been as old as I am today.” But your question is this, really: “Won’t your tattoos look worse as you age?” Maybe, maybe not, but are you grading this on the opinion that you think people look worse as they age?

That’s your real issue here, isn’t it? Not the artwork but the skin. I’ve got news for you: You’re going to age, and unless you get some tattoos, you’re going to look eighty years old, but you’ll also look like you never took a chance in your entire life. Tattoos are scars with intent. They show that you meant something, even if your only meaning was beauty. That’s enough, by the way. It beats the hell out of going through life with nothing to say.

This is tattoo number five for me. I can already tell you where six will go and what it will be. Every time I have sat under the needle I’ve emerged from the other side more of who I was than when I began. I like the pain. I like the way it feels. Scared of needles? Don’t like pain? You’ll be exactly that when you get older; afraid and you’ll have nothing to show for your fear.

I’ve been bitten by dogs more times than I can count and I still rescue dogs. I’ve been bitten by two dozen different species of non venomous snakes and I still rescue snakes. I’ve stubbed my toe in the woods but I still walk in the woods. Pain teaches you to be careful with your skin, and tattoos do, too. What have you got to say that is so totally you that you’ll wear it until the day you die? Hmmm? Anything? Nothing? You’re saying it.

“I am alone here in my own mind.
There is no map
and there is no road.”

I got this quote inked on my left arm on 9 November 2014. Considering Anne Sexton killed herself, some people think it’s sad, or even fey, but to me it’s the condition of the creative. You have to find your own way in your own mind.

Last Tuesday, I got the Oscar Wilde quote, “Never regret thy fall O Icarus of the fearless flight, for the greatest tragedy of them all is never to feel the burning light”.

According to legend, Icarus was trapped on an island. He made wings out of the feathers of birds and attached them with wax. He flew too high, too close to the sun, and the wax melted and Icarus fell to his death. But at least he flew, and flew high.

Oscar Wilde was ruined as a playwright and a poet because of his sexual orientation. For being who he really was, his art meant less to the public. He had something to say, he said it, and even 119 years after his death, his words still speak to us, or at least to some of us.

You don’t have to get a tattoo to express yourself. You don’t have to do anything other than what you want to do. Play music, write, act, do good deeds and never tell a soul if that’s who you are, adopt a stray dog, pay for someone’s lunch who is hungry, build sandcastles that will last only until the tide comes in, it is entirely up to you to live your one life the way you want.

But do not bad mouth people who get tattoos out or ignorance or fear or, most likely, jealousy.

If I fall, I fall. But I will crash into the ground, as hard as possible, with wings that I made, and I will not regret anything that makes me more of who I really am.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

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14 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Tattoos, Too”

  1. But my body is a temple… and I may want to rent it out someday.

    Tip 1: if you get a tattoo of words instead of just a picture, make sure it’s a legible font and not partially hidden by clothing. It’s annoying when I have to pull off part of your clothing on public transportation to finish reading.
    Tip 2: make sure it’s in a language you can read so foreigners don’t point and giggle.

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  2. I have 15 tattoos. I intend to have more. I love tattoos, the really nice ones, the really bad ones, and everything in between. I love some of the ancient techniques, those that are still being practiced today are really cool to watch, if you’ve never seen it, and you are interested, it can be found on YouTube. It’s amazing the designs that can be done with that technique!

    I have a pet peeve with people who judge other people. I’ve been judged for many things. I’ve been judged for being a young mother, I was married too young,I was divorced too young, I was a bartender, I lived in a trailer, I was an Army brat, I had the wrong breed of dog, I was a single mom, I was too skinny, I was too fat, I didn’t make enough money, I came here alone, I was too confident, and yes, I had too many tattoos.
    I always said a big F off to all those who judged and kept on going about my business. As long as I’m not hurting others I’m going to keep on keeping on.
    That’s the only time I feel anyone has the right to judge anyone. If their actions hurts someone else, By someone, include animals. I won’t have animals abused either. Then we have issues.

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    • Wobbler, I’ve never met anyone who played the blues that had both feet on the planet. It’s a different kind of music. I like it, but I like even better you rescue. I don’t care if you are never inked, I can dig your sounds and hounds!

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  3. No tattoos for me. My SCARS are my bodies decoration. I EARNED them. THAT is the price I paid for the marks on MY body. Do what you will with yours. Don’t disparage what I’ve chosen.

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    • James, I’ve never disparaged anyone for their scars. It shows you’ve been alive. When we were kids everyone was proud of their wounds, and that was one of the first things you did when you met a new kid; compare scars. I’m willing to bet they don’t do that anymore, and we are diminished for it.

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