Community,  Tools,  Wisdom

Sleeve Tattoos

Permanent exhibit, body armor or psychic shield?


She walked by me in the park,
a wholesome young woman
carrying a backpack, she wore shorts and hiking boots.
Her little dog, on its short legs, was keeping up with her
delighted with their game.
When I looked up from my book, she smiled at me, and I nodded back.
I couldn't miss her tattoos.
Her left arm and right leg were covered in black ink,
tattoos were emerging;  the incomplete shapes
were work in progress, art in the making.
I couldn't tell which mythical creatures or tribal patterns
she had selected from the artist's portfolio,
her body art still waiting to be filled in
with colored ink and finer details.
And I thought of her decision to get inked,
the commitment, the pain, the expense, 
the meaning of it all — And I thought,
unblemished and lovely as you are at twenty,
will you wear shorts and cropped T-shirts in forty years?
And passersby admire your tattoos?
Will you regret covering large surfaces of your body 
with indelible pictures? Like a permanent exhibit.
Will you want to wash it all off sometimes 
—in moments of doubt, trouble or hurt? 
Or will they bring you power and strength?
Will they fulfill their promise of protection
Like a medieval armor,  a psychic shield?
— And I thought,
Can you ever be free from the story you tell yourself
through this pictorial transformation?
Those images won't change, but you will—they'll remain in place and maybe fade a little. 
Will they hold you back and keep you from becoming your next best self?
How will you evolve? Because evolve, you must.

I feel sadness, even as you sweetly smile at me.

At 72, I know that life holds plenty of knocks and bruises and 

that adding more black and blues is undue.


— Then I thought,
Be well, child,
Treasure yourself, love your body, make wise choices
—I thought 
as you and your little friend trotted toward the future.
A future I know nothing of.


Photos Credits:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.