Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ang Kwento ng Anito Apple

I asked my father why he got a tattoo of a tiger on his left thigh. He said it was for me, to remember me every time he'd have a look at it. It is a face of a tiger, full colored, rather roughly drawn and inked on his skin. Above the face is something that read "HONG" punctured in green ink skittering on the sides.

Then I asked my uncle about the history of his tatts. I asked him what was the apple on his left chest meant, he said "Anito, yan." Not knowing what he meant, I shrugged my shoulders and with a smirk, continued the inquiry. Pointing to his green skull face on his right forearm, I asked him and he said "Wala, nakuha ko sa magazine. Buong piece sana yan pero yan lang pinagawa ko." Knowing my uncle would not give me a serious enough answer to my questions, I let it pass by. I ended my inquiry with "Masakit ba yan?" He answered no, adding that the pain is tolerable if you really wanted to.
Pero mula rito ay wala nang koneksiyon sa susunod ang kwento ng anito apple.

I don't know if I'm a weird kid for doing that but since I was younger, I always like the prospect of inking my body to signify different things in my life. But that's just now, back then, I just liked to decorate my body with things that I want to wear on my sleeve. My problem is that my parents wouldn't want me to do it. After my brand on my left hand, my mother made it clear that if I do something like that again, she'd... I don't know what she would do but I bet it would be nasty, to say the least.

I still want to do it though. For me, it will mean more now that it has ever been, even just in my projected thoughts and words. There are a lot now that I can wear on my body that I'd want to constantly remind me and mark me for life. 

Getting inked is a commitment. It can be a sentiment of love, a display of grief, a portrayal of innermost emotions, a reminder of bittersweet notes, and maybe a resignation for what had happened. For young kids, getting inked is a flag of rebellion. Breaking free from norms, social expectations and family-ingrained ideals towards normalcy notions of it being un-inked and going to 8-5 jobs and wearing neckties and skirts and other different stuff about the life in and out.

But, here's the thing. Everybody is getting tatted up. Everybody is giving meaning to their inks and resigning themselves to the fact that they're entitled to do what they want with their own skin, with their flesh and with their own blood. It's not that getting a tatt is somewhat a "hipster" thing to do back then nor is it a "hipster" thing to do now since every one's getting them. It's just that I think nobody should care anymore whether the person they're talking to has a full back piece of a golden buddha descending from the heavens on a throne of clouds and falling lotuses and peonies. 

People should understand, too that tatted persons have or had a choice in what they did to their bodies. And if people who masturbate or do some crazy sex fethisist stuff and if those things showed, I think that exceeds the embarrassment that tattooed persons get to experience now. Just imagine, the word "I masturbate 3 times a day" showing up on somebody's forehead in the form of a dried out ball sack patch, that would be funny and somewhat sad.

I just want to say that I'd get a tatt of my own, sooner or later. I agreed to being branded because it meant a lot to me. Those 2 packs of cigarettes did their thing on the once virgin skin on my left hand. It was seared, it got burnt to a crisp and bled and burned again but it was worth it. And I am actually looking forward to getting my chest and arms bzzzt bzzzt bzzzt-ed in the following months. 

A trip to Tinta 55, anyone? Happy birthday to me!

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