Some people choose to document their lives with scrapbooks or diaries; I write the stories of my existence with ink upon my skin. Indelible markings that mean very little to the people who see them, but have charted the various territories of my life and mean everything to me. It is inappropriate to comment rudely on markings upon another person’s skin, just as it is inappropriate to point out a birthmark or a skin problem and voice your opinions obtusely.
Who are you to form an identity for me before a word has been spoken between us? You create a new persona: that of a pirate, heathen or rogue. I am none of these things or sometimes all of these things and I lead my life unabashedly so. You on the other hand, deem it appropriate to label me, categorize me as a social construct, a pop culture relic, someone chasing that insubstantial feeling of happiness through the replica of the most popular fad of the moment: Tattoo’s.
As our dear friend Foucault showed us with his studies of hospitals and prisons (1973-1979), society constrains and controls the criminal, psychiatric and gendered bodies and I would argue also, the tattooed body.These are all socially and historically constructed and the tattooed body is constrained by society and placed within its meaning system which reads it in a particular way. I am not a pre-conceived ideological construct, nor am I subscribed to a particular type of ‘fad’. Categorization is problematic in the extreme as it is determined by power inequality and stereotyping and simultaneous includes and excludes those who have yet to be categorized.
So to set the record straight: I am a gypsy and a marauder, a beggar and a thief. But I am also kind and wise and generous and have never been in a gang. So please save your inflexible ideals for someone less intelligent than myself, because quite frankly your opinion is irrelevant.