“wear your heart on your skin in this life”
― Sylvia Plath, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams: Short Stories, Prose, and Diary Excerpts
I quite literally took Sylvia’s advice and had Joey Singleton at Ethos Tattoos in Saline, Michigan etch hearts into my skin.
There is an intimacy to tattooing. I let Joey touch me in places that no one but lovers and doctors have ever been. I trust him completely. Our conversations during my appointment range from sarcastic jokes to secrets I wouldn’t share with anyone else. He holds my words in his heart, they travel down his arm into the needle and under my skin. They are trapped there forever. Sometimes I hear them whispering to me in the middle of the night.
The act of tattooing is therapeutic. A gentle buzzing that sets me on edge, but somehow brings peace. I like to see the redness of my raised skin and the stippling of blood. How it runs down my arm. Joey rinses it off and softly wipes it away. His needle bites my skin and more of the design emerges. Its beauty and pain, and I want more of both.
Frequently, I remember what it was like to sit in Joey’s chair, I hear his voice and feel the adrenaline course through my bloodstream. My skin becomes covered in goosebumps and I wish I could see him one more time. Have him keep tattooing me till I feel normal. Whatever in the hell normal is. I’m done with tattoos for now though. My story continues, but in the written word. For the time being anyway.
The work I had done is an original. No one will ever have it. Andi Schoenbaum is the artist that graciously shared her work with me. Please check out her website. I’m honored to have her art tattooed on my skin. The print spoke to me in ways you can’t imagine. It’s a part of me now. Forever. Thank you Andi. Thank you too Joey. You both are fabulous artists and individuals. I’m proud to know you both.