A Sylvia Plath tattoo blog on Tumblr reblogged my thigh piece with the entire poem (“Elm”) attached…and reading it actually made me cry.
For the first time in my life, I am weeping for everything that’s happened to me over the last 24 years, all the pain and heaviness and self-doubt from the horrifying amount of unimaginably cruel things that have been done to me (and that I’ve done to myself as a result). I am finally allowing myself to feel everything that I’ve repressed over the years because I was scared to let it out, terrified to lose my tightly-wound control even for a second.
For once, the tears aren’t the product of a chemical fluctuation in my brain. They’re cathartic and even though I can’t seem to stop, I’m not all that freaked out. I know this crying jag is of the good, healing variety. Experience isn’t the source of this knowledge—it’s a sign that I am finally beginning to trust my therapist, my husband, my friends who have told me all along that it’s better to let it out than to hold it inside.
I’ve been turning that pain inward for over two decades and somehow have not destroyed myself yet.
I am crying for Sylvia Plath. I am crying for my mother. I am crying for myself. I am crying for every person who has ever been a victim. I am crying for every person who is trying not to be a victim.
I am trying not to die.
“Its snaky acids kiss.
It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults
That kill, that kill, that kill.”
I am completely baffled by the fact that I’m still alive, still breathing even though there are days when every single breath hurts and every thought, every second of every minute of every hour is occupied by a battle of wills—resisting the urge to run a bath and grab a knife or stop casually poisoning myself and finally get the job done.
For the first time, I know I’m going to live and that thought doesn’t scare me.
There’s really not much else to say about this tat, other than I’m really glad I had it done (and am finished with it now). I sat for 6 1/2 hours during my first session, 3 1/2 for the second, and two yesterday. I’ll have to go back for a touch-up, since I lost some color on the purple sections, but I’m quite pleased with the result. :3
If anyone’s in the market for a tattoo and lives in the Madison area, check out Ultimate Arts. Jim did this entire complicated, beautiful piece, and he’s an awesome person to chat with as well.
I have a consultation at Ultimate Arts for my thigh piece tonight at 6:00. Rad! As I mentioned in a previous post, I have some self-harm scars on my right upper thigh. The habit was actually very recently acquired (January of this year) and aside from two slip-ups, I haven’t done it since mid-April, so I’m making progress. However, I want to get a big, colorful tattoo to cover the scars and also to deter myself from doing it again.
My therapist was pretty surprised to hear I hadn’t started earlier. She thinks that the tattoos (the one on my wrist was basically a “suicide prevention” tattoo) are more of a Band-Aid than anything. However, I think anything that will keep me from hurting myself while I work on addressing the emotions that prompt the self-harm is a good thing.
I’m planning on getting a big paisley cluster with floral designs and tree branches/roots worked into the shapes, as well as the first stanza of “Elm” by Sylvia Plath. I’m thinking 5″ x 9″ is a good size, though I might go larger depending on the artist’s ideas and guidance. I know fuckall (pardon my French) about tattooing, so I prefer to defer to the experts when it comes to the specifics.
I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root:
It is what you fear.
I do not fear it: I have been there.
Aside from the text and the concept, I’m giving the artist free reign to experiment with paisley as well as colors. I have absolutely no color preference (aside from not-orange and not-yellow). Blues and greens might look nice, but I’ve been drawn to violet lately. It’s an adventure!
Readers, are you painted? Do your tattoos have any special meaning?