Saturday, January 22, 2011

Only love can heal such a scar

Getting a tattoo has been on my mind a lot lately. But since I'm the type of person that needs to be 100% certain about something I've been holding myself back.

As kid!Sonya, I hated tattoos. The only ones I had seen at that point were the tattoos of my uncles and aunts who had (usually) got them whilst drunk and were done by themselves. The tattoos were on their left arms (they had done the tats themselves remember?) and done with sharpened pens and superheated ballpoint ink.

Every time I thought about getting a tattoo, I'd suddenly have the vivid image of my aunt's Tweety bird forearm tattoo that looks like an ink drawing that got caught in the rain. Even now, after I went to a local tattoo shop in the city to see about meeting an artist, all I can think of is that damn bird.

But I've decided I will get one. And it's all about overcoming something with the same level of permanence. I have this scar on my left forearm. It came about as the result of a very horrible person from my past. This person didn't leave the scar but it is related to the last time I was hurt by him. I dislike that no matter how much time has passed, that scar is always a reminder of that moment in my life. What I want is to counterbalance that stupid scar. That's what keeps tipping the scales towards getting the tattoo. No amount of "Well, you'll regret it in 10 years" can counter it. When I see that scar, I want to see the tattoo as well. But deciding on what to get has been as big a challenge as deciding to get one.

I've got a few contenders. After my grandmother's death, I wanted to get her names for my sister and I tattooed on my arm as a memorial to her. I also love dragonflies especially how they symbolize change and rebirth. I loved the style of Heath Ledger's dragonfly tattoo and was certain I was going to get it. But I felt I needed something more powerful to take the sting off the scar.

I think I found it! Last year or thereabouts, I was blown away by this one phrase and got my Dad to get it translated into Cree:

Sawenihtakosiw aheahk ka pasteskahk kekwan

The line that blew me away was blessed is the spirit that overcomes (the Cree above translates to blessed spirit overcomes). I love the imagery of that line and how it resonated with me when I first heard it. "Blessed" is a heavy word and I always associated with material things and people in the upper class. I like the idea that being able to overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in your life makes you fortunate that you are able to do so. Being "blessed" to have that strength not to give up.

No matter how much it fades, I think I'll always look at my scar negatively. But I don't want it to have so much power. I'm nervous about getting a tattoo, the permanence scares me. But I want to have one mark on my arm that is associated with positivity. The phrase also looks beautiful in Cree syllabics.

The line comes from here:

Yes, it's a U2 lyric. I've become one of those fans.

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