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Black Indelible Ink
In therapeutic discussions sometimes the question arose, “Could you change it?” Could is a verb used to indicate possibility, it is a past participle of the word can. Can is a word that by definition means to be able to, or be permitted to. Regardless, the answer is a firm no. I could control my behavior, thoughts, and choices, but I could not control anybody else’s. Interestingly, this question of “could” lead me to my own question; would I change it? That term expressed the consequence of an imagined event or situation. The answer again was a firm no because even the worst events in my life shaped me and I always surfaced a little bit stronger.
In 2011 I got each of my wrists marked with black indelible ink. The mechanical buzzing of the tattoo iron was calming especially set against that inky artist smell. I found the feel of the needle moving over my skin making thousands of little puncture marks strangely comforting. It was cathartic in the sense that I was marking myself with a distinct attribute associated to my survival. When the artist was done placing the ink under the outer surface of my skin I was forever stamped with the Chinese symbols for strength and clarity.
Strength for me had always been a beneficial quality, that part of me that had allowed me to withstand great force and pressure. However, when I was deciding on a tattoo I had originally thought that I wanted something to represent coming full circle, but it just wasn’t fitting. The more thought I gave it the more I realized that it wasn’t an attribute that represented me because although I had in fact been through a number of events I had not come back to the beginning or an opposite point. However, clarity was another valuable quality that had helped me along my path and any time I had come to a crossroads. What wasn’t clear I had always been able to bring into focus, and so I was marked by strength and clarity.
By Shari Marshall -2020