I have been thinking a lot about time. The passing of it, the motion, the gift and the cruelty of it. I am thankful for the memories it gives me, the love and friendship. I hate it for everything it takes away. Time shows itself with constant vigor. It appears in the music I love, the way I dance and my favorite things to eat. It appears in the lines around my eyes, in the scars that linger and mark the pitfalls of my past. It shows itself in the explosion of color that traverses across my body.
My body is covered in a garden of time. Images that mark the decades without my mom, and the year my brother died. Flowers cover my arms and legs, reminding me of friendships, love and loss. In the early years of getting tattooed, I assigned meaning to each new piece of artwork, but as the years passed, the artwork came to symbolize the passing of time. I know which tattoos I got when I was going through breakups and breakdowns. During the worst and most lengthy of my depressions, I only left the house for three reasons: therapy, buying wine and frozen meals at the 711 (half a block from my apartment), and getting tattooed. I felt at home in the tattoo shop then, accepted and comfortable. The colorful pictures that were punctured into my skin, brought beauty into a time that was painfully bleak.
My writing is often full of darkness, but the artwork on my body is all light and color. I have always known that part of my motivation in getting so heavily tattooed, was to turn something ugly into something beautiful. I have no angry, frightening or foreboding tattoos. Even the ones that mark death anniversaries are full of color. I didn’t want fear on my body; there is enough of it in my heart. I didn’t want hatred on my skin; hatred of my body is one of the things I have tried to conceal beneath the moons, stars, butterflies and roses. I wanted to see something beautiful when I looked in the mirror, something vibrant and alive.
My favorite tattoo is one of the smaller ones, but it marks the happiest time of my life. It is something I vowed I would never do, but that was before I met my husband and felt what it was like to be home. I knew he and I would be together for lifetimes, that our love was unbreakable.