Ink: The Story So Far

Film portrait by Jossah Isabel Victor, 2016

Film portrait by Jossah Isabel Victor, 2016

Inked by @gigiebear

Inked by @gigiebear

 

It's been 8 years since the first time I got inked and I see how much I've changed through what I decide to put on my skin. Some people are afraid of permanence because they know they will outgrow their preferences. But I embrace this growth. I like being reminded of who I once was and knowing why I am no longer that person.

My very first tattoos were lines from my favorite poems. When I needed answers, I thought I found them in Eliot, Rilke, Cummings, and Bukowski. I borrowed their words so I could find mine. Then I got into nautical tattoos: a compass, an anchor, moons, and ships. I was also drawn to birds and what it meant to take flight. I had all these on my skin for five years before it finally made sense. I was being called to live by the sea.

The early chapters of my tattoo history were rooted in aspiration. The next chapter would be about facing who I was meant to be all along. Now I was at sea so often; I felt the ocean's verses glide against the poems on my skin. I no longer felt the urge to fly away; I had found home. So my next tattoos were variations of waves, and puso, the heart of my childhood Visayan home.

I started getting inked by looking for things that were missing in my life. I continue getting inked by looking at the things I already have.

#WritingTrue opened doors that I didn't know my house already had. It is the discovery of new rooms ready to be filled and lived in. The x-rays won't show it but the home in my heart has expanded another floor.

This wreath is for writing true. Placed behind the ears because writing taught me how to truly listen to people, to places, to feelings, and to myself. I listened to my mind and heard ideas spark loudly. I listened to my body and heard when it was tired. I listened to what the world wanted to tell me, and when I listened to my heart, I heard an entire ocean roaring back.