jewishy

so im talking with fafferintherai about our future tattoo plans, and im rly excited. here’s what i’ve been kicking around:

  • no lie, my url. i want “venus electrificata” in big fancy colorful old school tattoo lettering. upper arm, probably.
  • full moon, pale gold, hovering in ambiguous purpley-blue miasma that might be the night sky, might be water. back of right shoulder.
  • something jewishy. pomegranate, maybe? u know i have a pomegranate thing. definitely some lettering too. eta: i kinda like אַדִּיר אַדִּירִים

the jewish tattoo is kind of a weird thing for me. my entire life, every adult jew i know has made it VERY CLEAR that jews dont do tattoos. i’ll get dirty looks from family members! i’ll be oztracized by whole sections of the community! i’ll be buried with the goyim when i die! i’ve learned that most of that isnt true. at least not the burial thing. there are quite obviously jews with ink out there.

i mean, there’s the other big thing: for folks my parents age and older, tattoos are very much a holocaust thing. the numbers from the concentration camps. forced on us in deliberate defiance of our laws. a symbol of oppression and bondage. and i understand that. the holocaust, hashoah, it’s such a huge part of recent jewish memory. and jews are very good at remembering. me, i’m a privileged, middle-class kid from new york, and i can still feel the echo of that loss in my entire damn body sometimes. its symbols and associations are not to be taken lightly at all. 

but well…i want judaism, my religion and my culture and my heritage, to be something that’s mine. not something my parents push onto me, not something i run from. i want to love being jewish. and when i love something, i commit to it. i make it part of me. i carve it into my flesh. i did that with my damn school newspaper, i think i can do it with my history. 

i think that the fact of my choosing this, my thinking about this tattoo carefully and seeking it out, is incredibly important. marking myself, and doing it with something beautiful, something that resonates centuries backward and forward. in north america, im what you’d call an invisible minority. im a white chick with blue eyes and strawberry blonde hair. symbolically, kind of esoterically, this ink would be a way of marking myself “other.” i know this is certainly an act of privilege, and that’s something i need to think about, but also my own kind of solidarity. i don’t look jewish, huh? really? here?

there’s also a lot of body stuff at work here, re:beauty and self image, but that’s for another time.