I don’t want to be cliche but since we’re here in 2016 I have to be honest and say I was either going to shave my head (again) or get a tattoo. There’s something cathartic about altering yourself in the wake of realization.
After you’ve gone through all you thought you could endure and then some, you emerge from the other side battered, bruised and for the most part alive.
Then you shave your head or get a tattoo.
I got a tattoo.
2015 and the two years leading up to it were personally a wildly swinging pendulum of extreme worry, disappointment, excitement, relocation, love, and loss. Some of it as recently as a few days ago.
So, I got a tattoo.
It’s not my first one. But it is my first publicly visible one, I’m the type of tattoo wearer that got a kick out of being identified only in a bathing suit or by the eyes of a lover while naked in the bluish glow of a television set.
Today though, I’m not that person anymore. I carefully selected my badge and it’s location upon my left lower forearm and made sure to find a tattoo artist aligned with my values as a woman, activist, and culture. In the year of #BlackLivesMatter it was only fitting that I make sure my money stay within the Black community as long as possible. I found Shaun, through a referral by a friend, checked his instagram portfolio and figured I would feel his vibe when I got there.
He was super chill, a small business owner like myself, and had been though his own hardships growing as a tattooist. I was even more intrigued during our conversation about flipping income and the book he is currently writing. It was a safe bet that I was in good hands.
I showed him what I wanted and told him about it and he got started.
Recently adinkra symbols have been a recurring theme in my most meaningful days of the past year. Adinkra symbols are West African characters that have different meaning and are printed on genuine tribal fabrics worn for special occasion. They have since crossed into daily use signs of life.
Many of the slaves that were taken to Haiti were from West Africa during the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade, so this was another opportunity for me to pay homage to my ancestors.
After much research, I chose the fern or “aya“, a symbol of endurance and resourcefulness. Two characteristics people seem to associate with me, that I have come to believe in myself as well. Without endurance I couldn’t go on. Without resourcefulness where would my business be? Surely, the “aya” was meant for me.
I sat there and received my new skin. This badge wasn’t for me or lovers to run fingers overs over in private. This badge is for me, you, and anyone who want’s know at a glance that I’m walking into this new year the badass that I am. Strong and rebuilding my mind, body, and soul.
Happy New Year.
PS: Do something drastic.