Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Figured out why I don't want a tattoo

Yes, I need to do something to mark this illness. I need to sanctify it. I need that almost as much as I need to breathe.

But ink is too easy. I would get a solidarity symbol, if there were one. But just for me? I need to do something intentional with my being. Not just my skin.

If it’s about how to live now, then that’s what you do. Much deeper than anything I’d draw on myself. Walking around with an image on my skin would be redundant.

I have a storytelling tool; it’s the bracelet I wrote about before. I wear it when I’m doing what I’m called to, when I’m in difficult situations, when I want to talk about transformation. (If you haven’t seen it, it’s because it’s big on me—and because I don’t need tools when I’m talking with you.) The circle of saints will always matter to me. I will always be mindful of the giver, and the reason. I always know where it is. It’s often with me. It isn’t always on me.

There’s no fixed image that I want on me forever. Interpretations change. Stories change with them. I lived through this; I’m living through it now, I will live through it. It’s process. Not snapshot.

I’d rather you be able to ask me anything you want. Not always about the whatever-it-is that’s winding around my arm.

I loved that my clergy friends did this to me, in the comments to this post about what to do if I don't get a tattoo:

+ You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism, and marked as Christ’s own forever. +

They got it more deeply than I did. THAT is what this is about. How, there are thousands of ways. Living into this is the intention.

For me it’s immediately about focus. My friend gave me a key yesterday; you start with some overarching, huge goal like living into your baptism, and you see what little things you do that fit into the circle.

Right now it’s about staying present to life, and to God. I’m going to be literally drugged out of my mind for the next week. But after that, and for the rest of time, I can live with this and through it and in it.

Knowing that, is absolutely liberating.


kat said...

I have considered the same thing -- marking my skin -- as I go through my own transition and transformation, but nothing seems right. No one image can encompass all the aspects of where I am now, let alone be able to reflect where my life is going. The closest I got was seven stars: in Revelation John describes Jesus holding the seven fixed stars (the planets, that is) in his right hand, his working hand. Which is to say, everything that we want to call fate or luck or cosmic consequences... it's all known to him. Nothing is outside the hand of God. My fear, though, is that seven inky stars would look like nothing more than, well, seven inky stars.

I love you and, as always, appreciate your words. You're in my prayers today as you get ready for the week ahead.


it's margaret said...

love you.