So it’s summertime in the South, and I’m slowly melting away one day at a time. Ever since college let out for summer break, I’ve felt lost and without a purpose which is why I’ve put off writing on my blog for so long. (Don’t hate me) So, like some of my previous posts, this one is rather controversial and I understand that many will not agree with my 19-year-old opinion. Enjoy! (Hopefully with some strawberry lemonade: my summer addiction).
I think I’ve already stated my place as a Christian in previous works, but let me repeat it for the people in the back. I AM INDEED A CHRISTIAN WOMAN! As a Christian, I do not condone sinful activities, and I do my best to follow in his likeness and give off that “Christian-y” vibe . But in today’s time, there are a lot of things that people interpret as sinful and not; one of these things is tattoos. I’ve heard countless lectures from older Christians and some younger ones about how my body is a temple and getting a tattoo is an unholy mark upon my temple. In marking my body, I am defacing my temple. Let me make this crystal clear: I do not share this belief. There are countless ways to come across as distasteful and sinful. It can be from the clothes you wear to the expression on your face. This does not immediately condone a tattoo as something that is bad and a defacement. That doesn’t mean you cannot make a tattoo into something bad. If you go and tattoo 666 on your forehead..well, that’s on you (Good luck with that). But tattoos can also bring beauty and uniqueness to a body. It can set you apart while adding something meaningful.
“Re-examine all that you have been told… dismiss that which insults your soul” -Walt Whitman
I, a Christian woman, have a tattoo. I made the decision to get one after much deliberation, and I believe it is a beautiful addition to my body. As a heart patient, I have numerous scars marring my body. They’re noticeable and not exactly pleasant to the eyes, but they’re apart of my body and of who I am. I did not ask for these scars, and there’s little I can do about them now. So I made a decision after much consideration. Instead of looking at these scars day after day and growing to dislike the way they make me look, I decided to embrace them. I looked into works by my favorite poet, Walt Whitman, and found a phrase that I dearly love. I found the phrase in the introduction to a book of poetry. The section is called “This is What You Shall Do,” and it’s one of my favorites (I highly suggest you read anything and everything by Walt Whitman). I found a quote in it that fit me and my scars. It reads “And your very flesh shall be a great poem.” It’s a beautiful quote for a not so beautiful scar, and now every time I see the jagged surgical line cutting under my shoulder-blade, I can read that quote and know that my scar is just a line in the great poem that is my life. (Is the idea a bit theatrical? Maybe..but I am an English Lit major, so there you go.) I simply added something pretty to something that wasn’t, and it acts as an encouragement to love my body the way it is, scars and all.
“Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.”
Don’t get me wrong; I loved my body before. With or without this addition, I will still love my body. For as long as I can remember, my surgical scars were treated as “no big deal.” My friends and family always told me not to worry about them and I didn’t. Yes, in a bikini, there is sometimes staring and the occasional question, but in my mind, they were still not a big deal. They were definitely not a reason to look at myself and criticize at any age. I call the scars ugly because they are, and saying so does not affect my self-esteem in the slightest. This tattoo isn’t a stamp to make me feel pretty; I am satisfied with how I look. It’s just a visual reminder that though my scars are unattractive, they’re apart of me and my story and that’s beautiful (Corny? Yeah, I know).
“I celebrate myself, and sing myself.” -Walt Whitman
Now, do you think my scar is an insult to God? I’m defacing his creation: me. He didn’t put the surgical scars upon my body with his own hand; a doctor did. When I ask this question to those hard-core anti-tattooists, they chastise me. “It’s not the same thing!” they tell me. But, isn’t it? It is a permanent mark upon my body. The only difference is that one I asked for and one I didn’t (But the one I choose is damnable…who knew?) I’m at peace with my actions. In my case and many others, adorning our bodies with tattoos is not an offence. They act as encouragements, memorials, reminders, strengtheners, and sometimes even shields. So, I don’t believe for one minute that we’re defacing our holy temples; we’re just adding some stain-glass windows.
“And your very flesh shall be a great poem.” – Walt Whitman