I've wanted to get a tattoo for a while now, but I've been so indecisive about what [image or word] I'd want to have printed on me for the rest of my life. It's a hard decision- its consequence will dwindle down the years, the decades, from lover to lover, from country to country, from... you get the picture. What concept will never die? Is there anything that will always hold the same value? And it's not just about meanings not fading away with time- it's also about finding that idea that is self-specific and pure, insoluble. It's not about the ego, and neither is it about self-definition. It's about timelessness. What is it about me that is timeless? Nothing. For the longest time, I thought I was destined to be the next Christian Amanpour. Today, I want nothing more but to be a roaming gypsy with excellent Tarot-reading skills. Maybe one day, I'll want to be a lawyer (I highly doubt it, but we all know that life takes very unexpected turns). The general doesn't work either (words like "love" lose their weight quickly and reflect an entire pool of experiences, which to me seems inconsistent with a tattoo's worth, its specificity). The particular is often regretted. It might be true that certain beautiful things have a timeless effect on us, but beauty seen from different places can turn ugly. For example, for me, ever since I saw the two angels in Raphael's Sistine Madonna, the image of angels has hit a soft spot. It reminds me of a time things were a lot simpler. But, it strikes an emotional chord, and if I play around with it, stare in at it from different windows, I might even recognize a melancholic stride to it, and who wants to have melancholy tattooed on their skin? Our emotions are tuned each and everyday, so they're something we should probably stem away from in regards to tattoos.
Then there's words, or poems and stories, that are simply beautiful. But what if we turn our heads and clocks turn their beauty into an all-too-ordinary cliche? What can make the ordinary seem unordinary forever? Nothing? Something? People marry the love of their lives, then get divorced. If soulmates can turn ordinary, how can words last a lifetime? What bonds can't be broken, ever? Let's zoom in on the microscope. What holds two atoms together? Nuclear force, sharing electrons, and stolen electrons. Which one to use for a tattoo? A nuclear force that keeps me going from day to day such as music (this I'm sure will change with time), a shared memory (this one seems the most appropriate, but there's no experience that I currently feel strongly enough about to stamp myself with), or something that doesn't belong to the present, like memories (but shouldn't the past stick to where it is?).
So the solution? Get something that I like, but not love, something that I relate with, but don't find tremendously exhilarating? Or wait for the bulb to appear above my head? Maybe I'll just get a tattoo of a lemon, because lemons are delicious, with everything and forever. No, the senses change with time too... our realities are like silly putty. Tattoos might best be left for spontaneous moments in distant lands.
In a minute there is timeFor decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse
- From T.S Elliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"