Gentle John was not gentle...

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