Body Modification

Second topic as part of this here meme thing.

I’m tattooed. As time goes on, I will almost certainly become more so. At some point, I may get pierced, but that’s a vague maybe – I think I’d be doing it as much just to do as anything else. Which isn’t to say that’s a bad reason, but more ink at some point is pretty much a certainty, and the ink will have meaning beyond “I just felt like doing this”. Regardless, I am pretty unconditionally in favour of body modification. We inhabit lovely bags of mostly water for our three score and ten, and we have the technology to change them. Why shouldn’t we? They’re ours. They’re the one thing we absolutely, unquestionably, and completely own. Body modification is an expression of that basic right: self-governance.

It amazes me that there’s even a debate about it, that there are still social preconceptions attached to it. (I know they’re diminishing all the time, but still: my otherwise marvellous Dad sighs and shakes his head whenever the subject of my ink comes up, and he’s not the only one.) To me it’s this simple: do you wear clothes? Then you are modifying the appearance of your body. Piercings and Ink are just fixed expressions of the same thing. Sure, I can’t (currently) easily change what’s inked on to me. Which is why I’m careful about what I’ve got on me – it’s stuff that I am confident that even if my relationship with the symbols themselves changes, the things they symbolise will remain important to me.

My friend Del also talks about ink, scarification etc being an act of reclamation. I can relate. I’ve never been very fond of my body. I’m not dysmorphic, or anything, but still: I’ve never really liked the way I look, even back when I was young and thin. I mean, I don’t exactly hate my appearance, it’s more for a long time my body was always been kind of irrelevant to me. Putting ink in some places is a way of altering my relationship with my flesh, changing it from merely something that carries my conciousness around, to being something I inhabit, encoding it with something that means something to me in a way that my undecorated flesh does not. And in writing this, it’s just occurred to me that there’s a pretty direct temporal link between my getting (more) ink, and my doing (more) exercise.

So. Yeah. Ink. It’s ace. And it is good for you.