Hi Hi Y’all,
I know more and more I talk about chronic illness. It’s not meant to just be a purge, a kvetch or a notice for recognition. Lately, my flare up have just been getting worse and longer. All the advice doctors gave and the awkward hard to explain moments just seem worse. More then ever, I am just tired. So very tired…
A friend of mine is coming up to visit me in April and I am so excited to have someone see where I go to University and be an understanding friend. I had been debating when ( and more importantly) where to get a back tattoo I have always wanted.
When I was a kid I was obsessed with Yakuza movies, samurai movies and ronin movies. I loved the traditional colorful tattoos on them and the values that seemed to come with them. As I got older, learned more about what it meant and how it was perceived I didn’t want such a large piece anymore. For awhile, I thought about abandoning the idea completely.
Then I got my diagnosis and I started to reconsider. What eventually solidified the desire to get the tattoo was this increasing problems. My drugs are increasing and surgeries that seemed far off seem sooner and sooner. More and more I feel like I am missing out and that I’ll miss out on things even more in the future. Weighed down by everything around me and having it all be unseen is taking a bigger toll on me. I can do less then I used to at the moment and no one really sees it or understands it. More and more I have to come to terms with being seen by the average person as a ‘disappointment’.
It’s these things that make me stop caring about some of the things I used to. If I feel like life is short and changing so much for me I have to at least do the things I enjoy? A giant back tattoo or some crazy visual representation of all my problems probably won’t do much for me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t stick to aesthetic and feel as if I did something to show it.
My back has two curves and a tiny hump on my neck. At the top of my spine there are signs of bones thinning and possibly going to fade away. As you got to the bottom of my spine fusing has started, my hips are out of place and my legs are now two different lengths. None of this can be seen or understood unless I give up and say I want to walk around like Quasimodo so people notice me. That is always going to be the reality of my back. Anything from now on won’t be seen.
I like small minuscule and thin lined tattoos. Normally, I don’t want color and just want simple black. I’ve known since I was small I would want tattoos that represented ideas that meant a lot to me in life. Knowing this it isn’t hard for me to know what sort of tattoo I’d get on my back.
At the top of my neck, I would want in thin black lines Vegvisir. Vegvisir is one of the most popular Nordic charms. It wishes for the person to never lose their way in storm and bad weather even if the path is unknown. I don’t think there is anything more symbolic of everything going on then that. However, there is one more reason. My great grandma’s mother was a Swedish Orphan. She had come to the U.K. and met a Spanish Jew. They married and moved to the U.S. Apparently, unlike her husband and the efforts she put into now being Jewish and raising Jewish kids she never gave up her belief system. She was very very very Christian. I’m talking crosses and bloody Jesus pictures everywhere sort of Christian. Yet, there was one thing that my great grandma remembered seeing even when she didn’t know the name of it until I told her: Vegvisir. In a legacy where only food and some old myths managed to be passed down, my great grandma could vaguely in her dying times remember seeing Vegvisir as a child. Now how could I argue with that? Jewish or not, my great grandma read me Nordic myths as I was growing up, joked how if it was true Odin was 100% cooler than Zeus, and how we were meant to be tough because it was just in our blood. I’m traveling rough waters right now and maybe that means it isn’t just about being Jewish, but remembering all beliefs that helped create me.
Underneath Vegvisir is the real highlight though. Running in small thin lines will be the I Ching and its 64 changes. For a person of my aesthetic and weirdness (and love for Asian culture) what is better then 64 line patterns each symbolizing a different part of early understanding and divination? Nothing. Seriously, nothing at all. My life is certainly one of change and phases, of fortunes and dis-fortunes, and of joy and sadness. These line patterns will follow the crooked path my spine takes all the way to my tailbone. Maybe it will seem funny to some, but to me it’s a little part of the truth. And when these inevitable surgeries come, the scars appear on my back and the fight through new types of pain begins, I have marks of it all. Little lines that exist as part of scars and as part of the journey.
Going through all of this has taught me that living behind a mask is no longer something I’ll really be good at again. My body demands of me the truth. It demands that I grow past the angry cynical jaded girl I was when I was young and try to find the joy of life. It tells me that it will not tolerate lies and will only tolerate truth.
Don’t I have to do it then?
P.S. Odin really is way better. Norse > Greek everyday <3