Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I lay there, stranded like a fish on a hot beach, in that black chair, underneath unforgiving flourescent lights. The man with the gun (tattoo, that is) hovered over me... he was kind and patient, not even seeming to notice my blinding white flab or the constellation of pale pink zebra stripes that adorn my body. My own child, just growing in my womb, has decorated my flesh, long ago, free of charge.

This torture that i am about to willingly undergo is a gift, no less... marking an anniversary, and celebrating a new beginning, so as instructed, i take a deep breath and let it out. I think 'You're in it good now, bitch' and 'Perhaps your feeble little mind has well and truly snapped, finally'. But i lay there, as stoic as i can be. And it begins. I try very hard not to think of the fact that really, i am being sliced, minutely, thousands of times. That ink, indelible and implacable, is being forced underneath my skin. The finished work will be two doves, suspended forever beneath my collarbone, holding a banner in their beaks... in the banner is a line of a Georgian song, in Georgian. The script itself is beautiful, art all on its own even without further adornment. The whole of the piece extends nearly across my chest, from armpit to armpit. The outlining is excruciating... i curse and squeal over and over again. I am ashamed of my weakness. and then astonished to find that it is far more painful, in its own way, then even pushing out a massive 9 pound baby with no drugs!

But we soldier on. After the outline, in dense black, is complete, we all take a break. I gingerly put my top back on and we go outside, where i eagerly smoke a cigarette and wish i had a VERY stiff drink at the moment. We begin again. At this point, the artist is shading the doves, delicately, with smoky black around the inner edges of the doves. These are no pastel wedding cake birds, to be sure, and i am glad. The inside of the banner is then shaded with deep, almost black purple that sort of bleeds inward, followed by red, a brilliant, not to be avoided red. But then, by God, i WANT people to stare. After all, it is my pain and my love branded on my skin... How could i hide it from the world after all i went through?. The red is not densely 'packed' into my skin, as he put it, but lightly shaded. The pale of my skin shows through, around the ornate letters and makes them stand out in shocking relief. Finally, the black of the birds feathers is delicately outlined in white.

We are finished. My legs are trembling and i am very cold. Each cut of the gun made the nerve in one leg jump, over and over again. I am exhausted. I have given birth... to love, to myself, to my own desire and dream. With this act, i peck at the shell of who i was. I am becoming... me.


Blogger Bea said...


What a perfect description of an amazing process. Congratulations on the new tattoo. And congrats on your move towards a new self.


9:49 AM  
Blogger OzRebel said...

Brilliantly stated Lydia! Congrats on the new tattoo and welcome to the world of ink from a veteran collector!

6:52 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

cool i like your blog

5:02 PM  
Blogger Aitch said...

Oh man a new tat? How exciting, can't wait to see!

11:34 AM  
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10:03 AM  

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