“Believe it or not, some of us have piercings and tattoos and dye our hair because we think it looks pretty, not for any deep sociological reason. This isn’t an act of protest against cultural or social repression. It’s not a grand, deliberately defiant gesture against capitalists or feminists or any other social group. It’s not even the fashion equivalent to sticking two fingers up at the world. The boring truth of it, Gabriel, is that I don’t dress like this to hurt my parents or draw attention to myself or make a statement. I just do it because I think it looks nice. Disappointed?”
― Alex Bell
I have tattoos on my knuckles. My hands. My neck. My belly. My toes. My back. My thighs. My arms. My legs. Shall I go on? Because I can… But I won’t bore you with all my artwork, adorning my body galore.
I have piercings on and through my ears, belly, face, tongue, nose and so on.
I dye my hair with henna that turns it a subtle shade of maroon when the sunshine hits it just right. When the sun isn’t present? It’s a dark brown, coffee color, hinted only slightly with red and purple hues that are all but artificial — it’s henna, remember?
I refuse to wear bras because that’s confinement, and well: don’t we all hate to be confined? Fuck yes.
I don’t wear makeup (often), because my lashes are naturally long and also, because I’m a low-maintenance mother-fucker, finding more time throughout my day to — oh, I don’t know, draw up some more tattoos? — do anything than pick out what shade of eyeshadow might just match my shirt. Or boots? Whatever the fuck makeup matches these days. I’m not in the privy… clearly.
I wear baggy clothes sometimes. Others? So tight, there’s not much left for the imagination of what curves I have but also, what curves I don’t. Some days, I wear boots because it’s in the negative degree weather here in Wyoming (no, I’m not even exaggerating slightly). Others? I wear no shoes because grounding shoes can only ground you so much. Ya know?!
I swear a lot, as if I’m a sailor who’s been out to sea since I was a kid. Maybe in a past life, that truly did happen. Who is to say? And some appreciate it, even laughing at “how cute I say the word fuck,” as if my quiet voice can’t appropriately utter those words without the thought cute being entertained by most. Others, though? Boy, others hate that I say fuck so much — it’s as if I’m actually fucking as much as I say the word fucking. Might I be? They’ll never know. Perhaps never will you, either. But I digress…
I wear my heart upon my sleeve, admired by some, revolted by others.
But at the end of the day — especially the day that starts with today — I am me, and I love who I am and who I’ve been and who I’m becoming. I have a sketchbook of a body, filling itself one tattoo at a time, be it from a local artist, a traveling artist, or a random man on the street asking if I want a new tattoo (my response, being: abso-fucking-lutely). I dye my hair, not to rebel but purely because I like the way it feels and looks and dances around my face after henna has been its mask for hours on end. I pierce my face and nose and what have you (or rather, I pay others to pierce my face and nose and what have you), because I like the way silver studs and hoops look on me. Really, the way they look on everyone!
I don’t say fuck because I’m implying fuck you, nor am I tattooing my body to suggest two fuck you’s. I don’t dye my hair to flatter those with less proper agendas than myself (because yes, those people are out there — shocker!), nor do I pierce my skin to subtly let the world know I’m dying for attention. My attention comes from my yoga videos — didn’t you fucking know that?! Hehe. I only jest.
I have a professional job right now. I also have a creative job right now. I have a job with a boss right now. I also am my own boss right now. I have patients coming to me about finances right now. I also turn to others for finances right now. I have to clock in and out right now. I also create my own hours right now.
I have two jobs: one professional, one creative. The professional one doesn’t demand I cover my tattoos and piercings and have “normal” colored hair. The people there treat me just as I am: I am. I am. I am. I am me. I am my own person. Similarly, the creativity dying to be heard inside of me doesn’t try to change to cater to those clients I have on the daily. In fact, every which one of them has treated me just as I am: I am. I am. I am. I am me. I am my own person.
I am me.
Today, I am me. And today, I love that my body is slowly filling itself with black shading and lines and intimate, delicate, fragile ink. I love that I’m able to express myself via my body and not just my heart and soul and mind. I love that others are so accepting of me — tattooed, pierced, dyed hair and all.
So can you have a professional job with all of the aforementioned?
You manifest what you desire and crave, putting forth that energy otherwise bottled up inside you, out into the world to receive it fully. Until you find your true self, whether that self is virgin skinned or filled with tattoos. You find yourself. Pierced or not. You find yourself…
So go express yourself!
Natalie Maddy writes about dark inspirations, digging through the filth of the world to unveil its beautiful truths — in forms of abstract, fantasy, and bewilderment. She is the author of: The Reddest Rose Bleeds the Deepest.