As previously mentioned, Hanna and I had a date with our new tattoo artist — Thomas Gustainis — on the afternoon of the day the Supreme Court released its opinions in Windsor and Perry. Which means that one part of the multi-faceted meaning of these tattoos, at least for me, will be entwined with memories of the day DOMA fell.
The color on Hanna’s lotus is as vibrant as the most brilliant Michigan autumn.
And I couldn’t be happier with my juniper branch, even if the placement means I only really get to see it in photography like this!
The day after I had the work done, a volunteer at the Massachusetts Historical Society asked me, with slight alarm (though also no small measure of admiration) if I ever thought about what I would think of my ink when I was her age, in my 70s.
Yes, I said. Because I have.
But I wasn’t sure how to explain to her, from there, that to me the tattoos on my skin are like scars or freckles or laugh lines. Yes, they’re voluntary. Yet over time they become, literally, a part of my embodied self. They will grow old with me, and change meaning and character as they (we) do.
This is my body now, I say to myself, when I look in the mirror every day. My physical self is a running, changing record of my life in this world. And the ink is, indelibly now, a part of that record.
Maybe it’s my historian-self that has learned to embrace such traces in the skin.