Sunday, May 22, 2016

GET INKED OR DIE NAKED: MY TATTOOS AREN'T FOR YOU


There’s a ton of stuff that I can’t wrap my head around, but the stigma behind tattoos is definitely up there. I mean, I get why people don’t want them---that’s a personal choice to make, just like how it is a personal choice for me to choose to get one—but the stereotyping, shaming, and harassment that comes from having them is just one of the most fucked up things that I’ve experienced as an inked person. So let’s have a conversation folks, because I’m about to get real on a few notes here.

·       My decision to get/have tattoos doesn’t involve you in any way, shape, or form. When I’m going under the needle, you’re not feeling the pain. I’m not asking you to pay for them, I don’t care about your opinion about how their going to look in 50 years, and hell, I’m not even asking you to look at them. Their presence on my body is for me. Strictly and simply for me. If their existence makes you upset...walk.

·       Just because I have tattoos doesn’t mean that I’m a delinquent, that I’m a sex addict, or that I’m going through a phase. My tattoos were all carefully chosen for a number of reasons to represent different moments in my life. Even the one that I spontaneously got in L.A.—which has since become one of my favorite memories and tattoo experiences—was something that I’d been rolling around in my head for years. It was spontaneous because I didn’t think it would end up being a matching one that I got with one of my best friends in a random city we chose to meet up in, but you know what? That makes it better.

·       My ink makes me feel sexy as fuck. If that makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s not my problem. And my favorite thing here—especially here—is if you think it’s going to bother me when you tell me that you don’t want to date or have sex with girls who have tattoos….Ha, sorry. I had to catch my breath there from laughing. If you can’t respect me as a woman, as a creative intellect, as a damn independent thinker, then why the HELL would I want you in my life, or better yet, in my bed? I’m a grown-ass woman, and I don’t have time for that. I mean, I’ve never had time for that, but I certainly don’t have time for it now.

·       I look at tattoos as art and as art therapy. If I choose to cope and take note of experiences in my life with something that’s going to make me feel stronger and creative and confident, then that’s my business. I much prefer having something that I can wear every day that reminds me of my strength. And no, a necklace won’t do here. I swap pain for pain, and that’s how it works for me—that’s where the catharsis comes from. Much like my poetry.

·       My art doesn’t affect my ability to write, think, speak, or act professionally. I’ve worked a ton of jobs and wrote a ton of books while I’ve had tattoos and I promise you, they don’t hold me back, folks.  Plus, I’ve chosen to get all my ink in places that I can hide so it really shouldn’t be a problem or affect/effect your ability to work with me.

·       The other part of having tattoos that makes me want to spit is the entitlement that some people have when they see them on my body. Fun fact about me, folks—if you think my ink is an invitation for you to touch me…I promise you it’s not and that you’re going to find that out the hard way. I once had someone lift up my skirt to see the skull on my thigh. Because you know…that’s totally appropriate. I mean, I have scars from my gallbladder surgery on my stomach—want to see those too? Ugh.


So yeah, I recognize that I got a little sassy there, but I’m always amazed when these issues come up because it just seems to me like we all have so much more important things to deal with in the world, than discussing whether or not the ravens on my rib cage are flying too high or symbolizing something evil.  I mean, my ink is beautifully dark because I’m beautifully dark and I’m not ashamed of that. I’m not going to stop writing horror because it makes people think I’m less feminine, and I’m not going to stop writing erotica because it makes some people have a different colored view on me. Same like how I’m not going to stop wearing black because I should have more color in my life. When I put on a pair of shorts and see my dream catcher, or when I put on a bikini and see my flowered-tell-tale-heart, I smile because they are my battle scars, my trophies, my art. I chose to accept those parts of my body and those moments in my life so that I can look back at them and remember, forget, and/or move on.

You know, when I was younger, and even up till my early twenties, I cared so much about what people thought of me. My friends all spiral-curled their hair and did their nails and wore certain clothing brands and I was convinced that I needed to do all of that for people to like me. And then I did. And then those people liked me….and I hated them. I thought I needed to act a certain way to impress men, so I did, and I dated them, and I realized that they were as fake as our relationships felt. So I started dancing (not walking) to the beat of my own drum and I’ve been happier ever since. I like my hair being a wavy mess: it reminds of the summer I spent driving PA highways at night with the windows down. I like wearing a lot of black: it makes me feel colorful and keeps my wild spirit intact. I like having tattoos: it makes my body feel complete and beautiful. So if my tattooed, pale-skinned, black-wearing, spirit bothers you, I promise you, I could honestly care less.
                    
                                                                                                                      With inked skulls and roses,
                                                                                                                              Stephanie M. Wytovich