philippine tattoo

How To Kill Yourself

Have you ever wanted to just end it? Have you ever said to yourself “I’ve had enough” or “I don’t want to live anymore”? It happens.  To others, more times than we would want to admit. It used to be just a fleeting thought but somehow, lately, you’ve been thinking about it more and more. Waking up, walking the dog, taking a shower, watching TV and before going to bed.  Same thoughts. It won’t go away.  So let’s end this, shall we?

This is a guide on how to kill yourself.

Let’s start with HOW.

Oh, there are so many ways.  Let’s talk about it one by one and examine them up close.  

Slitting ones wrists.

Vertical or Horizontal?  No one’s really sure.

Left or Right? Both? Damn.

How many times? Once? Twice? Three times? Jeez.

Razor or Knife?

All that blood though. Gross. Who’s going to clean it all up?  Just think about the person whose job is to clean up all your blood. Maawa ka naman.  

Slitting ones wrists.

 Next.

Jumping off a building.

Head first or feet?  Do I do a triple loop somethin’ somethin’?  I mean, I’m going to die anyway so might as well.  On the other hand, are you serious?  I mean, why do people do this in the first place?  When I hear about someone who jumped off a building, the first thing that comes to mind is SPLAT! Not a pretty sight.

Jumping off a building.

 Next.

Electrocution via bathtub.

Toaster? Blowdryer? But seriously, who has a bathtub? And do you really want to be shaking like that while your insides burn while waiting to die – NAKED?  It’s just too much going on on this one.   

Electrocution via bathtub.  

Next. 

Gunshot to the head.

What type of gun should you use? Do you have a gun? Where can one get a gun? How long does it take to get a gun?  You need a license for that right? Ugh, nevermind. Also, SPLAT.

Gunshot to the head.

Next.

Drug Overdose.

Gagastos ka pa ba?

Drug Overdose.

After all that’s said and done.  Let’s discuss WHEN would be the best time to kill yourself.

January – New Year

People will be too busy to care because they’re all going to be invested in themselves and their own self improvement.  Sorry, no time for you.

February – Valentine Month

Everyone’s in-love or just in the mood to be in-love. Pang BV ka lang if ngayon mo pa gawin

March – Graduation Month

Everyone’s busy practicing for graduation, finishing their resumes and looking for jobs. And March? Nothing really happens on the month of March. 

April – Summer

Too hot to be dead.  Who’s going to attend your wake when it’s too hot outside to even do anything? No one’s going to show up.

May – Fiesta

Fiesta nga eh. Makikain ka nalang sa neighbor mo. Sayang ang free food. Let’s just check next month.

June – School year begins

Everyone’s excited to be in school. If you die, walang mag aabsent.

July – Cinemalaya season

I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t miss this for the world. If you don’t know what this is, just check it out before killing yourself.  You won’t regret going, I swear.

August – Habagat season (Linggo ng Wika din)

 It’s too cold outside. They would rather sleep than go to your wake. Or others might go to Baguio. Not everyone will be able to attend. Remember, this only happens once. You only die once so make it count.

September – Habagat season (Check August)

October – Halloween

What? Miss the chance to see drunk people while wearing funny, dumb and crazy costumes? It’s gold. No one should miss such an epic event.

November – All Souls Day (Araw ng mga patay)

Redundant. Wag nalang.

December – Christmas

Really? Just think about the presents.

Alright, now that you’ve decided when to kill yourself, let’s discuss WHY you want to kill yourself.

Are you sad?  Do you feel like no one really cares and loves you anymore? I get you. We all feel that sometimes. We all feel alone sometimes. It’s just how it is. One day, when everything is right again, you’ll realize that the people you thought didn’t love you actually love you. It’s just a feeling, it will go away. It changes. You have to realize that everything can and will change. Feelings don’t stay the same forever.  

Do you hate your parents and your life in general? Hate is such a strong word. My take on the word hate is that sometimes it’s a good thing to hate. At least you know that you still feel something. You can still change how you feel as long as you still feel it. (Feel feel feel. Puro feel.)

Do you hate the way you look and feel right now?  Just focus on the words “right now”. It’s just for right now and you can always, always change what is right now.  

Do you feel like there are a lot of things missing from your life (like a lot a lot)?  It always helps to count the things you have and you’re grateful for. It helps to remember those things and to hold on to them as tight as you can as to never lose grip of what’s real. You can always get the things that are missing right now. But you have to remember to hold on to what you have now because we don’t want to them to join the “missing file”. You have to hold on to them, cherish them and love them forever.  

So WHY do you want to kill yourself?  I want you to think about it real hard.  You can’t do it and regret it after because you’d already be dead.  You can’t undo it because you’d already be dead. You’d already be dead! Now what? It sucks when life keeps giving you a hard time.  But you have to keep one thing in mind before you actually think about doing it once and for all. Hope. Hope that things might get better. Hope that if you decide not to kill yourself today that tomorrow and the days after that, you won’t have to think about killing yourself anymore.

So I said this is about how to kill yourself. Because I know that that’s all we think about sometimes. How do I do it? How will I do it when I finally decide to kill myself? This just made us realize what will happen when we decide to end it all. When we decide to give up, what happens next? But instead of thinking about how you can kill yourself, think about what you can do to stop thinking about ending your life. It’s your life anyway. If you don’t like what’s happening now, just change it. Do something different that will keep yourself alive. Don’t give up. Suicide is for quitters. Don’t be a quitter. Stay alive.  

So if you’re reading this today, don’t kill yourself today. If you think about it again tomorrow, read it again tomorrow. Just don’t, okay?

Here are the photos I promised! :)

I was going to write something but after the experience I just really have no words. Like I mentioned on my last post on the video clip, it’s just something you have to experience for yourself. 

But I am very thankful to getting to experience this sacred and spiritual tradition handed down to us from our ancestors. There are really no words to describe this experience and I give my humble thanks to Lane, our ancestors, and the diwata.

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A mulher de 100 anos que virou lenda por dedicar toda a vida à tatuagem tradicional de sua tribo

Para as mulheres da tribo filipina Kalinga, tatuagens são símbolos de força e beleza, além de marcarem a passagem do tempo – alguns desenhos só podem ser feitos após atingir certa idade. Aos 100 anos de idade, Whang Od é a última mambabatok da tribo, ou seja, responsável por tatuar as companheiras.

Here is a video clip someone took of my tattoo session during Lane Wilcken’s Pilipinx tattoo workshop this past Saturday. The session lasted about 1 1/5 to almost 2 hours and yes getting handtapped hurts much less than the machine. There were a few times where I had to close my eyes and breathe but most of the time it was rather painless to the point I was falling asleep.

The sound of the handtapping in the video does not do it justice. The echoes in the room were very weird and eerie as it was quiet and it was night so there was no city noise outside. Everyone could hear it, like there was the echo and then there was another echo in the room that was just, weird that I can’t even describe. Someone, I forget who said that it was alien like lol. But ya the echoes and just the sound of the handtapping was enough to put you into a trance like state.

The experience was very enlightening and spiritual and I could feel the spirits and ancestors around us and Lane and Kristen’s (the girl who volunteered to stretch and experienced how to do it for the first time) spirit as they worked on me. There are really no words to describe this experience and it is definitely something one should experience for themselves to understand. It is not just a work of art, it’s not something we choose, it’s something spiritual, cultural, and sacred and the entire process from the ritual and offerings to the ancestors to the tattoo session to burning, burying, or throwing the offerings from the ritual and your blood that was spilled out to sea is a part of that and I am grateful to have experienced it.

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Oh man, this past weekend has been amazing and filled with spirit. So Saturday night I received my batok from Lane Wilcken during his workshop on Pilipinx traditional tattoo’s in NYC. I was asked by the woman who ran the event, Andrea, if I wanted to volunteer to get tattooed during the workshop. I told her I didn’t mind and the next day or the following day after Lane actually messaged me on Facebook asking me the same thing. I felt honored that he personally asked me and that he wanted to tattoo me saying he felt through the spirits that he should contact me for this. Of course I said yes and I was looking forward to it.

Something amazing happened before the actual workshop however. The night before before Lane messaged me I was actually at work. During my break I saw a centipede come toward me by my locker and away from my coworker who happened to be passing by. I thought nothing of it at the time and brushed it aside as after I got my stuff it just disappeared. 

Then the day prior to the workshop I was in my bathroom getting something when I randomly saw a centipede which I have never seen before in my house except maybe once several years ago. I was so scared because it again came straight at me then just stopped just starting right at me before I left the room. It wouldn’t be until much later during the workshop the following day when Lane was talking about certain animals who acted omens and were ancestral spirits did I realize the significance of it. Now I realize it was a message from the ancestors or an ancestral spirit giving me their blessings like they knew.

It’s those little things that most of the time we don’t pay attention to in our busy everyday lives that we tend to tune out the spirits trying to get in contact with us and we just have to open our eyes, minds, and ears to them.

So prior to the tattoo session we gave our offerings to the spirits and ancestors. I offered some suman and Lane put them in his offering bowl he always uses during his rituals and prayers to the ancestors with rice and an egg. He put this on the altar which he always faces west and left it there for the spirits and ancestors. The workshop lasted for several hours mainly discussing our tattoo’s, a few myths, his stories,etc. We then had to cut it off short because it was nearing 7 and he wanted to have some time to work on me.

He instructed me how the offering ritual was going to be as he said his chants to the ancestors and the spirits of Turtle Island as these are their lands not ours, and letting them know I will be tattooed. He then gave me the offering bowl which I went to the altar and silently said my prayers and thanks to the ancestors, spirits, and diwata before placing them on the altar.

Soon after the tattooing session began and I received my first traditionally handtapped batok. This one actually is really special as while Lane was holding my arm and was coming up with a mental picture in his head from the spirits on what to give me he asked me to tell him a little more about reconstructing our indigenous belief systems. I told him that I was Pagan and that besides myself there are a few others who are reviving our indigenous beliefs and practices by looking at old Spanish documents and dictionaries and bringing them back to the modern day. He nodded then after awhile he told me that for my batok he felt that he should honor and represent that in my batok.

He told me he would be doing some crocodile teeth and within the crocodile teeth he would put the weaving patterns as a symbol of me weaving together our indigenous beliefs and practices as a living modern spiritual and religious practice. He then put on the python scales with the dots on them symbolizing the eyes of the ancestors.

It was interested as after he drew the initial line around my arm, he started to draw the triangles. At first it was I believe it was 7. He said no that’s not it so he wiped off the red outlines and drew again. He then got 11. He was like what and was confused as he tried to get 10. We asked why and he said he was trying to get an even number or multiple of 5 as it represents good wealth and fortune. So he tried a third time to try and get 8 and once again it was 9. He was like well ok then, I guess you are just meant to have an odd number then I’m not going to argue with the ancestors on this one since you keep getting it odd. So he left it an 9 not wanting to argue with the spirits (which I find ironic anyway as my luck number is 3 and in multiples of 3). As he was going along in the tattoo he eventually realized why it had to be an odd number for me as where the spirits were guiding him to put the python scales and the dots he realized if the triangles were an even number there would be one ancestor with a missing eye. So there are 9 crocodile teeth and 8 python scales which has a dot in each scale. This corresponds to 8 different eyes watching over me. 

The experience of getting handtapped was just amazing. It really was a spiritual experience and I could feel it the moment Lane put my suman offerings in the offering bowl and altar and as soon as he chanted his prayers to mark the beginning of the workshop.

When he was holding my arm and receiving the image in his head of what he would tattoo from the spirits I could feel his energy as I received it on my left arm, which is both the receiving hand and also the maternal side according to Lane. 

Just today I finally got a chance to burn and bury the baby wipes and the gloves used during the session that has my blood on them along with the food offerings of my suman, the rice, egg, and an orange. He told me that it was disrespectful to throw away anything that had your blood and essence as a spirit can take it and use it against you. We were to either bury. burn, or throw the offerings out to sea. As I don’t have access to the water at the moment I decided to bury everything and burn the wipes and gloves right next to my cherry tree that we planted in our backyard from a branch of the other cherry tree at the side of our house. 

One thing that this experience has taught me is that the spirits and ancestors are always with you, regardless if you notice them or not. They are always there watching over you and are there to protect and guide you and I pay my respects to them everyday.