I took photos of all his tattoos before he died...

I was never very careful with myself, but learned how to channel it.

A balancing act between myself and my job, acting.

That is why my tattoos are largely unseen. They span a length on one half of my body - on my thigh, up my back to my shoulder. My 'good' side, I call it. My pirate lady tattoo was a copy of my grandad's, which he probably got done somewhere between Chatham Docks and the Suez crisis via the Caribbean.

He had left an abusive home life and joined the Royal Navy, arriving years later in our lives and marrying my nan.

My grandad and I were not joined by blood but later, by ink. He got ill with terminal cancer and I cared for him until he died.

He managed his life and death with utter dignity. To me, he was safety, protector, routine, pride and order.

I took photos of all his tattoos before he died. We both knew why. After, I got my tattooist to redo his tattoo onto me; the proud Pirate lady, sword in hand, and an anchor.

My tattoos are about memory, memorial, qualities to embody or use.

Dark made light, light made dark.

written by candis