Why this one? Simple. It's the first I got.

I got it done when I was eighteen. It's not very well executed, if you look at it closely you can see that the ink has run on a few letters, a few numbers. But it's a tattoo I'm very fond of.

It reads Maman, Mum.

Sometimes when people look at it they can't really make it out because some of the letters are extended, to look a bit like music keys. Below that there is a papyrus with two dates.

A date of birth and a date of death.

All these years later, I still look at it. I run my hand over it. I don't know why. It's a habit.

One day I had a conversation with my grandmother. I already knew I was going to have the tattoo done. My grandmother told me that my mother wasn't born in the year that I thought she was.

I thought that she was born in 1974, and that she was ten years younger than my father, but actually she was born in 1969.

So it's lucky that I had that conversation before I had my tattoo done, otherwise I would have written nonsense, irreversible nonsense.

That original date of birth, I didn't invent it.

When my mother arrived in France, they simply said she was younger than she was.

So until I found out, everything was distorted.

I thought my mother had me when she was a certain age, I thought when she died she was a certain age.

It's on my wrist because I didn't want it to be seen by everyone, and people don't often see it.

But I can look at it anytime I want.

told by biaggioli


Updated: Mar 31, 2020

I got a bee on my knee and I called him Jeremy.

It was my first tattoo, done as my relationship was falling apart. It was the start of my rebellion against the rolled eyes and indifference.

I’ve since had many more tattoos, increasing in size and confidence each time, each one with its own story or appreciation of the style. Far more thought has gone into them.

I have a love/hate relationship with the bee these days.

I’ll always be fond of him because I know that he marks the start of me finding out who I am, and eventually regaining some semblance of control and purpose.

He also reminds me of a time when I could be frivolous with my time and my choices.

A time when I had not a care in the world.

A time when I didn't have to watch every penny, and could spend money on stupid things like novelty tattoos.

A time when I had such little respect for myself and my body that I didn't think twice about getting something so whimsical placed permanently on my skin.

It was a time when I was a person I’m not sure I’d like if I met today.

It wasn’t too long after acquiring the bee that I lost everything I thought I once wanted.

My three bedroom house, my job, my friends, my marriage, my morals, my mind, and even my dog.

Everything else from that world has gone, but Jeremy remains.

My rebellion bee.

A sting in my tale.

written by jo


Updated: Mar 31, 2020

I have a tiny Chinese symbol tattoo.

It was paid for by my third minimum wage job.

I was seventeen and it was the year we all had butterfly tattoos, then stars, then hearts. Then it was Chinese symbols. We were all teens trying to fit in with each other.

Gentle John was not gentle in his Gentle John tattoo studio. But then again I’m a wimp when it comes to external pain.

That is why when my friends chose words like ‘beauty’ and ‘eve’ I chose the word 'strength'.

Because inside I am strong.

I am strong but not always sensible.

Years later I was working with another sex worker, a Chinese woman, and as we showered together after our client had gone, she looked at my tattoo and laughed.

She said, “Why do you have ‘little donkey’ written on your belly?”

written by beth


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