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Artwork © Lian Quan Zhen


i got a new attitude - September 24, 2004

- - September 22, 2004

- - September 20, 2004

Is this thing on? - September 20, 2004

- - September 15, 2004


2003-05-26 - 10:19 p.m.

Here's the deal with the tattoo. Warning: my personal philosophy will be exposed. Enter at your own risk.

Since I was very little I've thought of life as circular. Back then the cycle only applied to how my folks fought. As I grew up, I applied a circular ideal to more and more of my life experiences. It's my belief that relationships, both platonic and sexual, are cyclic. When you try to move into a new arena in any kind of relationship - say, for instance, moving in with someone, you're breaking the current cycle and moving into a new one. That's why it can be so fucking difficult - because you're an object subject to emotional gravity, as it were. It takes more effort to break out of a current orbit.

All around me I saw, and still see, that no emotion, no event, no object, exists without connections. To continue to live means that we are continuing on some kind of circuit. My body cycles an egg every month; as our physical waste breaks down, it creates nitrogen for the plants that regenerate oxygen for our bodies.

Over the last few years, whenever my life has been at its most difficult or easy, I've been able to see the larger picture, that these experiences will circulate through me and come back in a different form. Please don't mistake me - there are violations on this earth so foul that they are irredeemable. I can speak only for myself; I've been blessed enough to survive all of my greatest difficulties (an accident which should have paralyzed me, my mother's illness, a rape, a miscarriage). I don't claim to have answers for any other human. For me, though, the idea that everything heals itself because it's a cycle is absolutely necessary to living.

However, for me just like for everyone, there are days, months, years when it is hard to remember that the difficulties are just as necessary as the joys. I've been treated for depression enough to know my own reliance on helpers, wherever they may emerge. Because of this, because I am a sighted being with a deep love of symbolism, art and mythology, I decided to decorate my body to represent my beliefs. My family is likely to overreact and scold; my friends are likely to tease about jumping a bandwagon late in the ride. Neither matters much. This is a guide for me, a reminder that damnit, no matter how bad things get, I'll survive.

Why a yin/yang? Well, because it represents balance. There is no yin without yang. They are interlinked, which is how I view life. The main colors of the tattoo (they may be hard to see in the pic) are dark green, dark blue, red and yellow. These represent earth, water, fire and air. The flames are part of a phoenix design; the phoenix is very important in Polish mythology as a symbol (obviously) of rebirth. (I take my Polishness very seriously in some ways, but that's another story.) Everybody from born-again Christians to the ancient Sumerians has had something to say about fire and cleansing. And of course the sun is part of our Circadian rhythm; every living creature on earth is tuned to its own sun cycle. Myself included.

So that's it. My lovely artist Scott tattoed me with a reminder that my world can, and will, fall apart. That I can choose to fight it or to roll with the sun and get up another day. I don't expect anybody else to get it; I'll be impressed if anyone has read this far. But if you have, thank you. This is as close as I can get to understanding god.


And just for anybody who's wondering, yes, it hurt like a motherfucker. And yes, I am getting HIV tested again next month, even though I triple-tested that the needles were new. I am nothing if not careful. (Thanks, Mom.)

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