Thursday, February 18, 2016

A new voice

I posted this story last weekend. I have roughly a 13" scar from that surgery, a scar I didn't fight for, a scar whose story sucks, a scar who lives to remind me of this dumb thing that happened. I figured the best way to commemorate the 5 year anniversary of acquiring that scar was to 1. blog about it, and 2. permanently scar my body in a way of MY choosing. 

Me and Pete.
This is my 3rd tattoo, but the biggest and most visible by far. I have known for about a year that I wanted this tattoo, but I had trouble finding an image that I loved. The tattoo is inspired by A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving, a book I read two years ago but have not been able to shake. For months after I finished that book, I thought about it every single day. And even now, I don't go more than a few days without it crossing my mind. For me, there is no better reason to get a tattoo.

In the year since I thought of this tattoo, I looked at about a billion images of dress forms. I could never find the right one. It was one of those things where I knew I'd know it when I saw it. I found it a couple of weeks ago. And even with all of this forethought, and knowing with utmost certainty that I had found the right image, I still had to wrap my head around the idea that I was going take up so much space on my arm with something permanent. What will it look like when I'm 50? 60? Meh, screw that, it's going to look awesome now. 

And it DOES look awesome. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. 

"The only thing wrong with me is what's missing."
A weird thing happened after I allowed this much of my body to be taken up by ink. Other parts of my body, once under some sort of embargo from accepting tattoo ink, became fair game. Layers of insecurity built up over a lifetime melted away. Where there was this voice:

I don't like my upper arms, so obviously I can't put a tattoo there.


If I were skinnier, I'd get a tattoo on my side.

...there is now this voice:

Dear Katie,

You HAVE upper arms, so you can put a tattoo there if you want. Also, you have a side! So you can put one there too. You can put a tattoo WHEREVER THE HELL YOU WANT. No one can stop you but you. Who is making these rules? And more importantly, why are you following them? These are all just insignificant choices that YOU get to make. And you may not love your body, but it's yours and it actually does.not.matter. what other people say to you or have said to you or might say to you - you get to do what you want with it. And don't you forget that your little girls are watching you and how you treat your body, and whether or not you're proud of it, and how you deal with its weaknesses, and will learn from you how they are supposed to feel about their own bodies. So go forth and get tattooed if you want. Get color! Quit being so damn afraid.


And this voice? This voice is the best-sounding voice there is.

1 comment:

Kim Tracy Prince said...

You're the best. You were the best before the tattoo too. Xo