a man grabbed me by the arm and jerked me towards him today,
and when i pushed him away from me, he was incredulous. he said he just wanted to see my tattoos,
to see how they felt,
and the fact that i didn’t appreciate it made him confused.
a woman saw me walking in her direction and steered her child away from me.
she clasped her like i was some sort of criminal, her eyes were angry.
i’ve heard “why would you do that to yourself” to “i like it” to condemning me to the fires of hell.
once one of my coworkers tried to kiss me when i gave him a ride home, groping my breasts and thighs and i said “what the hell are you doing?”
he sat back, offended. he said he thought i was that kind of girl,
that i liked having things inside of me because
i chose to let needles touch me.
a man said the other day, “i don’t do drugs or get tattoos, i’m a good guy”,
like everyone’s artwork somehow tied them to a life of drug use,
like that makes them less of a “good” person, whatever that exactly is.
my family disowned me when i started wearing my skin like my soul,
they told me of an article they had read that said people with tattoos were more likely to become an alcoholic or drug addict
or commit suicide.
that just opened my eyes to how they would react if i ever would fall into a vice or become depressed again,
and i take it as a blessing.
every new bit of ink i inject into my skin,
the more i own myself,
the more people are afraid, the less value i have.
"you’ll never get a job like that"
they say, “you’ve ruined your worth”.
some people tell me i am brave, share stories about their fantasies of the tattoos they want, and then they
give me a thousand excuses as to why they never got them.
most are fear.
i’ve been a chameleon, now i’m a neon sign, and that is okay.
i’ve watched the way people treat me when my tattoos are covered,
seen how their tongues turn into edges when they are displayed.
it’s funny how easily something cosmetic can turn people against you, make them think you’ll open your legs for everything,
make them comment on what you ‘must be like’,
make them gravitate towards you.
when i see a tattooed person,
i see someone that is unrestricted by society,
someone that is free and concrete in who they are,
someone that embraces their tragedies and passions,
but some of us are addicted to drugs
and some do let men use our bodies because we feel like we deserve it,
and many of us do drink our livers away,
but so do people with not even a dot of color in their skin.
i don’t think anyone of us deserves to be loved any less, whether we are painted or not."