Permanent Marker

Mood: head above water | Drinking: fountain soda

poppy

My first tattoo came on the heels of a breakup.

I didn’t do anything as reckless as inking a broken heart over my left boob. Just a tiny rose, thorns attached, hidden inside my left ankle. It was barely worth the 15 minutes of needle time, it was so small.

But I felt a bit rebellious, a smidge dangerous, a dash mysterious, and I wore it proudly, shunning socks in the chilly Midwest springtime — the better to show it off.

I was all of 23 and teetering on the brink of an identity explosion. I was a late bloomer when it came to so many things — my first kiss at age 19, my first drink at 22. But once I got started, I really made up for lost time.

I had spent so much time during my college years making good grades instead of discovering myself. By the time I hit age 23, I was ripe for discovery. The layers peeled off so quickly, one after the other, until I reached the bare and brazen core and got a good look at the girl I was, and the woman I wanted to be.

Somehow, that whole process involved some permanent ink.

I can’t say that my parents were too happy with the little pink rose, but it was nearly unnoticeable. Of course, the winged angel that showed up between my shoulder blades, and the spike-and-wire heart that appeared on my right ankle shortly thereafter were a bit more disconcerting.

Thirteen years later, I think my identity has been pretty well established, although I feel the need for constant improvement upon the woman I am. A tad more patience would be good, for one thing.

I wear the story of my becoming on all my appendages, now. A catalog of words and art that is as much a part of me as the heart that pounds beneath my skin.

The original rose is gone now, consumed by a black ink dragon, appropriately named “Rose”. The angel on my back remains, though as you can see, she’s no longer alone. I’ve kept the spiked heart, too, and scattered more black lines on my arms — a symbol for healing inside my left elbow, a bird on my shoulder, belladonna on my right arm, and my latin motto on my wrist. Boy and I shared a symbol on the eve of our wedding, stained into our lower back and now, for me, joined by two of Hilary Knight’s Beauty & the Beast birds.

I don’t know if the catalog will grow much bigger. These things are hard to predict.

I’ve heard some say that people get inked only to improve their self-esteem. I can’t, of course, speak for anyone but myself, and for myself I say these marks are not an improvement, not even a decoration. They are not there to make a statement.

My tattoos exist only for me. They are my map, my compass. A memoir. I’ll never forget where I have been, nor yet where I want to go. I bear the memory in my skin.

Tattoos are not for everyone, and they are a choice that should be made with care. Get that Tasmanian Devil smeared on your left butt cheek today and you may find yourself wishing for a laser tomorrow.

But for me, tattoos tell a story. And I’ve always loved a good story…

-Lo, who hopes it will be an epic tale of love and adventure.

P.S. Personal experience with the following tattoo artists allows me to give them the highest recommendations:

Jesse Tuesday  *  Laura Satana  * Rocio Arteaga  *  Marx Barry

Elasticine = Pretty Young Thing

gargoyleMood: OCD-ish
Drinking: Water

I’m always excited to bring you a new cinepoem. And I probably always say that this one is my favorite. But it’s true every time. They’re all shiny and special in their own little ways.

OK, but this time? This time I’m extra-super-cali-fragi-listically excited. Her name is Elasticine, and you’ll see right away that she’s different than all the others.

Back in 2005 when Boy and I were wandering all over Italy, we spent a sunny morning in Venice creating a cinepoem of still photos. The finished product was called Epic, and we loved her.


Elasticine uses the same idea, creating a cinepoem out of photographs instead of moving pictures, but adds a few new twists. Boy shot all the photos last November during one rainy day in Paris. We rode the Metro all over town for this cinepoem, and it really did take all day. And we got rained on. A lot. And it was cold. But I remember saying to Boy whilst shivering on a train platform, “When we’re done with this, it will be so pretty that nobody will know how miserable we were while we were shooting it!”

Besides, if you’re doing a shoot in Paris, there has to be an umbrella involved at some point, or you’re not doing it right.

The other extra-special thing about Elasticine is the guest-voice of one Mister Robert Kostrzeski. That sexy French voice you’ll hear throughout the poem belongs to him, and we had a lot of fun recording it in Michael’s bedroom closet a few weeks ago.

Oh, and another thing — this cinepoem features the tattoo I got in Paris from the lovely Laura Satana. We actually shot all the photos the day after I got the tattoo, so that really is me peeling the plastic wrap from my still shiny and sticky new ink and washing it off for the first time. Fun!

You’ll probably also notice that Elasticine is a very non-linear kind of girl who’s really enamored with a certain French phrase. She talks a lot about seasonal mud pies and haunted shopping carts. And if you ask me what the hell it all means I’ll just say, “Well, what does it mean to you?”

So go to The Cinepoems page to try to figure her out, and pretend like you’re in Paris for a day. She’s all yours now.

For you PC lovers, we’ve got a Windows version in the works. But if you can’t wait another second, you can view Elasticine in the videos section of MySpace or at YouTube.

-Lo, who tried to take that gargoyle home, but found he has a nasty temper

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