Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Body Modification

Piercing and tattoos, specifically. What do you think about them? How do you think they look? What kind of assumptions do you make about the people who have them? Would you have it done? If so, what and where?

I was signed up to take an art workshop on body modification about five years back. It looked like a great class. But it ended up getting canceled due to lack of interest. I was interested, bastards! But not enough people signed up. How Idaho.

I share that little piece of history to make the point of how long I have been interested in something that you would never guess just by looking at me. And why wouldn't you guess this is something I'm interested in? Because of the assumptions you make about the people who have it done. It's really that simple. Are the judgments fair? Judgments, in general, are not meant to be fair. They are meant to make you feel better by putting other people down. If I can not lift myself up, I will knock you down.

I am in the unique position (again) ;-) of starting my life over. I intend to live an authentic life, expressing myself in ways that feel right to me. However, as much as it shouldn't matter if there is a little ring in my nose, it does matter! I think about the way people will interact with me. How they will treat my son after they see me. Do I curtail my need to express myself authentically in order to be socially accepted? Do I want to be socially accepted (by people who wouldn't be in my social circle anyway)?

As long as I stay in Europe, it isn't an issue. But, if I move back to the States it will certainly narrow the field as far as employment goes. And if I move back to the States, I will need to find a better job than working at the bagel shop. I have a child to support.

The idea that I can not look the way I want to because of the narrow-mindedness of people who do not know me is frustrating, to say the least. I will still be the same kind of person. Just as responsible as before the tattoos and piercings. Just as capable of showing up on time and getting my work done.


So, it seems there are a few different ways I could handle this situation.

1. Have it done, like I want, and do what I can to stay in Europe.

2. Have it done and work in a bagel shop if I go back to the States.

3. Have it done, purchase a deserted island, and only allow people of the non-judgmental persuasion to inhabit it.

4. Don't have it done. No, that's not really an option.


Dianna said...

So what are you thinking of having done? And...what kind of job/field do you ultimately want to be in? Here is my perspective: I see more and people with common facial piercings (lips, eyebrows, noses) and also with more radical body mods like huge plugs in their ears. this is Boise (fairly conservative) and I still see it everywhere. Okay, I've never had a doctor with above mentioned body art but in most other fields I have. I had a poetry teacher who had every inch of her body inked and more facial piercings than I could keep track of and she was/is teaching at the University!

Tattoos are so common these days that honestly I think that people between 18 and 30 who don't have a tat are unusual. most people I know my age or younger have at least one, but I have noticed that most of them are on arms, legs, backs or chests (all places that can be covered if you want to cover it) only a few people I know have them in places that are always visible like a neck.

Personally, I don't judge people one way or the other if they have piercings or ink. There are some piercings I like and some I don't. Some people look better in them than others. I feel the same about tattoos. I had my bellybutton pierced about 8 years ago. I regret it because I no longer like the look on me and so I don't wear it, but now I have a big ugly hole there. That experience has made me think really hard about getting a tattoo. I have wanted to get a small word or a symbol on the inside of my right wrist, but I'm worried that if I decide I don't like it after a while I'll be stuck with it. I change my mind WAY too much to have anything permanent done to me I guess. LOL! :)

In the end what makes one person think positive things about you will make someone else think negative things about you. So do what will make you happy!

rabid_gramps2 said...

well, I agree.....do whats right for you. I never gave any thought before having piercings done. When I was 18 .....like a hundred yrs ago....I had the first ear done. Was unheard of; but having long hair in Idaho then was bad enough. It couldnt have gotten worse. Then I kept adding holes. Then for my 50th, I had the nose done. Oh, the looks.

Yes, no matter what you do, some will like it and some wont. If you are not happy with yourself, no one else will be. And what does it matter? Ultimately, you have to look yourself in the mirror every day......they dont.

True, I have taken most of my piercings out, but not because of others. They just didnt seem to fit any more. I notice the difference in how people react to me..............it amuses me. Its like the difference depending on which car im driving.

You have to do whats right for you, not the rest of the world. Plus, a warped sense of humor surely helps............ ;o)

Palehorse said...

Fun subject; brace thyself for some yammerin'. :P

I think when I was a churchy little kid I would've been intimidated by "those people" -- now it's more like "MY PEOPLE!!! *flying tackle*" :P

I don't have any mods myself. Haven't ruled them out, but haven't really gotten around to serious consideration either. Not sure what I'd get if I did. I did have an ex who was more into the BME scene though and went to some of the gatherings, and I'll have to say they were some of the most down to earth, genuine people I've ever met.

For me it may be more relevant that obviously I don't exactly look or act business-conservative, lol... and when Tab and I started our biz, I had to consider whether I should change anything or tone anything down to be taken seriously doing healing work, since of course people would be having to trust me with some personal matters and issues of well being. Eventually I decided that I'd of course act professional, but otherwise would just portray myself as myself and not worry much about trying to create a whole separate "business image." After two years I'd say it doesn't seem to have hurt us any, and if anything may have helped. o_O We've gotten plenty of good feedback from people I would take as someone who might avoid "my kind," lol... it just doesn't seem to have factored in anything at all other than maybe positively.

What I think is that if it's going to be an issue, it's going to be because of the stereotypes and self-consciousness *you* may be still holding about it... if anyone makes it an issue it's because part of yourself already has first. It would represent a change in your persona, and that in itself can be intimidating. On the other hand if you can get all parts of yourself nonchalant about it, "this is just me; it's how 'the art of being me' is *supposed* to look" and trust that financial security and self expression don't have to be in conflict -- then my guess is you'd manifest opportunities that had no issue.

That said I do understand about how it is and how it's getting in the US... all things considered, if I had stayed there, it may have taken more cojones than I have, to trust and not compromise, especially if I had a kiddo. So... IMO, no real right or wrong answer there other than finding the one that works best for you both.

Avalons Eye said...

I have 3 tattoos. All non-public skin, well unless you count the tat-toe when weasring sandals of flip flops. I was told by a friend of mine to wait a year and see if I still want it. I wish I had known more about art and didn't just pick something "off the wall". I totally intend to get more...I am working on what I want in a back piece.
I think that much is common now and people won't look at you strange :) Life is too short to regret not taking chances and, what other people think of you is none of your business!