Skin


Yesterday, my poetry professor asked if my “write” tattoo was part of the Skin project by Shelley Jackson from 2004. When I explained that I would’ve been 11 years old in 2004, so my tattoo didn’t stem from that particular project, he explained it to me.

I’m obsessed and in awe and shocked and in love and…so upset that I couldn’t be a part of that project. Because it’s honestly the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever heard.

Shelley Jackson wrote a 2,095 word story and asked that people come forward and get one of those words tattooed on their body. The participants had no choice in which word they would receive, though they could refuse to get the tattoo if they so chose. Most of those words, outside of the context, would seem completely random, and a lot of them involve one end of punctuation, like back,”. She has the word “skin” — the title of the story — tattooed on her body. And no one, no one besides these people and Shelley Jackson herself, know the story.

Shelley refers to these people as her words. When they die, she will try her best to attend their funerals. And when they’ve all passed, the story is over. The story is gone.

There’s something so perfect about this. These 2,095 people, scattered around the world, are connected forever. There is a secret story that binds them. Isn’t that the most ingenious, wonderful notion you’ve ever heard?

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The Sound of the Universe, Permanently ॐ


Om. Spoken as three syllables. Symbolizing the beginning, duration, and dissolution of the universe. Representing Brama, Vishnu, and Shiva. The vibration of the universe. The most beautiful sound and feeling in existence, all-encompassing and absolute.

I’ve never felt more from one symbol in my life, but as I became familiar with the om symbol, I realized how much power it holds. So, yesterday, I made it a permanent part of myself. I had drawn it out several months ago, a flowing om representing the flow of the universe, and now it has become a part of me.

photoYesterday, as I sat in the shop, I was so afraid — my first tattoo hurt so much, and I was worried I was making a mistake. But as I felt the vibration of the needle, heard its pulsing sound so close to my ear, I felt very little pain. During the more uncomfortable parts, I chanted the word, ‘aauumm’ in my head and relaxed, and I felt so peaceful, I practically forgot that I was feeling any pain at all. At one point, I felt on the verge of sleep. It was a beautiful few minutes.

I don’t want to make it more significant than it was, but I really think I had my first truly spiritual experience in that tattoo shop. As I write this, I cannot help but make the connection between the sound of the universe — the vibration of the om — and the sound and feeling of that tattoo gun.

There are so many reasons that I chose the om, more than I care to explain. But I know now how right I was in my decision.

Write.


Giving birth…or getting a tattoo. Both, probably.

I haven’t written in so long…I’m sorry! …No, that’s not an apology to you, it’s one to myself. How dare I let myself stop writing after I got a tattoo that says “write.” How. Dare. I.

You heard right, kids! Caps got tatted… The inside of my left wrist now says “write” in typewriter font. I got the tattoo almost 2 months ago, and have been meaning to blog about it ever since, but I’m kind of ridiculous and forgot/didn’t have time…

I think I ought to start out by saying that I am terrified of needles. Like, so scared that for a long time, whenever they drew my blood, they had to use a baby needle to make me feel better. Mind you, baby needles are barely smaller than adult needles, but somehow it made me feel that tiny bit better. Tiny bit.

So, obviously, in the span of one year, I’ve gotten my nose pierced and gotten a tattoo. Because I’m a masochist like that. “Hello, I would like a tattoo. Yes, stab me with a needle 50-3,000 times per minute. Yay!”

I’m pretty sure I almost threw up while Philadelphia Phil (yes, that is what he called himself. My tattoo artist is so much cooler than yours) worked on the tattoo. It felt like a million cat scratches over and over, and I’m a big wimp, and OH MY GOD NEEDLE. So that’s how that went down. My friend Kate was there with me and I’m surprised I didn’t squeeze her hand off. But I’m so glad I went through it all, because it meant a lot to me.

Writing is awesome and hey, why not, I’ve always wanted a tattoo. I purposefully got it on my left wrist so I could hide it with a watch if I have a grumpy boss who doesn’t like tattoos. Thinkin’ one step ahead, like a carpenter who makes stairs.

But actually, there’s quite the story behind my tattoo. I’ve explained my anxiety in a previous post, but basically, I have panic attacks and am almost constantly anxious, which is why if you’ve met me you’ll notice that I’m super fidgety. Anyway, I had a lot of problems with that about a year ago and was pretty useless; I couldn’t leave my room, barely got anything done, and definitely didn’t write. But writing had always been how I combated my anxiety before, and after reaching the lowest point of my life, my mom suggested that I start keeping a journal specifically related to my anxiety. It sounds strange, but it really helped. So now, I’m permanently reminded to let go of my anxiety by writing (I’m doing it right now, actually. I’ve been a tweaky mess all day).

It’s hard to explain it to people, so I usually just say, “I love to write,” which sounds kinda lame. I guess that’s true, too. But for real? The for real answer? I was screwed up, and writing saved me, as it always had and always will.

One more reason that I love all of you, dearest readers. You’ve rarely known it, but you’re like my therapy group. And I love you so much.

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