In a con­tinu­ation of the last column, I wrote I am reit­er­at­ing the pain of my triplet brother­’s death and what it meant to all of us in the fam­ily and bey­ond. So in memori­al and the need of me to some­how com­mem­or­ate this, I did what I felt neces­sary. I got yet anoth­er tat­too! In type­writer font, I got the words, ‘twin no. 3’ etched on the inside of my arm.

The sig­ni­fic­ance of Tat­toos goes back many cen­tur­ies. For me they mean a lot both per­son­ally and prac­tic­ally. I love everything about them from the col­our to the mean­ing, and some­times for the lack of mean­ing, which in itself is pos­sibly a form of mean­ing. Tat­toos are a form of body modi­fic­a­tion made by insert­ing ink or dye. And I have many of them.

The first of my new Tat­toos, men­tioned above is a hard one to decipher. It’s been a bit of a private taboo in my life, but good­bye to the secrets, hello to hon­esty. Secrets, I’ve been told, keep you sick. So the story of my birth begins. I was born as a triplet, unex­pec­tedly. I was the hid­den one, and iron­ic­ally, though sadly, my broth­er died, I was pushed around in an incub­at­or with the name twin no.3. No logic, but it stuck. And left me some bag­gage. So once I found out my ini­tial label, it stuck strangely in my head. Bizarre. But then there are many a time I have been called Bizarre both behind and in front of my face!

Tat­too no.2 was con­ceived of with­in the same week. It came from the lyr­ics of a song called ‘Fix’, with the words, ‘sing back­wards and weep’ (Mark Laneg­an). How he shaped me and saved me. Since I was 14, this sing­er changed my life up until his untimely death last year. This lyr­ic reminds me of a quote by the philo­soph­er Kiergegaard: ‘Life can only be under­stood back­wards, but it must be lived for­ward’.

That’s why I have chosen the song in this column that hits home for me. The afore­men­tioned ‘Fix’ by Mark Laneg­an, about addic­tion, men­tal health and who also died last year. The song con­tains the almost proph­et­ic lyr­ic, ‘Gonna watch from the bal­cony’ the lyr­ic that lies with­in the song, ‘Sing back­wards And Weep ’ is now also etched in my skin.

In order to sur­vive, in order to move for­ward, I have to change many things about myself and my beha­viours. I would have to start over again. That involves stay­ing clean from illi­cit drugs, tak­ing my pre­scribed med­ic­a­tion for bipolar dis­order and alter­ing parts of my life. And those changes are illus­trated by my tat­toos. One arm incor­por­ates art health that I love, it shows Miro, Kand­in­sky, Frida Kahlo. I am an art lov­er and I paint. That in itself is the mean­ing behind my right art.

My left arm incor­por­ates my love of my music. One, my beloved gui­tar that I had to sell dur­ing hard times. It was a bound­ary I swore I would nev­er break, to sell that, but at least this way it will be with me forever.

One of the Tat­toos that means the most to me is on my left arm . My dad, who passed away a few years ago, was a box­er in his young­er years. So I had a pair of box­ing gloves tat­tooed with a rose grow­ing from them, Rose being the name of my grand­moth­er.

Being Jew­ish, his­tor­ic­ally, there can be pre­ju­dice towards Jews with tat­toos. This was tied up with any­thing to do with desec­ra­tion to the body. In the past ortho­dox Jews even would not bury the body where modi­fic­a­tion was evid­ent. Things have changed since then and there is a vast dif­fer­ence between Lib­er­al and ortho­dox sects. I was once asked what my par­ents thought about my hav­ing tat­toos. I replied ‘if my fam­ily’s biggest prob­lem with me was hav­ing tat­toos then they would be elated’!

I have always found being tat­tooed a highly addict­ive pro­cess. But get­ting the two with­in a week, is a per­son­al record: ‘Twin no.3’ and ‘Sing back­wards And Weep’, as I call the two are both highly sig­ni­fic­ant for me.

Tat­toos hurt but some­times life has to hurt in order to facil­it­ate change. I have been through shame, I have been through blame and I ask any­one to walk in my shoes. And that in essence is the Tale of Two Tat­toos.

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Kate Taylor

Kate Taylor

Kate Taylor is a Lon­don based writer whose Interests are based primar­ily on music and art and also the philo­sophies and polit­ics that accom­pany them. In addi­tion she has an Msc in psy­cho­logy, has worked as a ther­ap­ist, and paints abstract art pieces.

About Kate Taylor

Kate Taylor
Kate Taylor is a London based writer whose Interests are based primarily on music and art and also the philosophies and politics that accompany them. In addition she has an Msc in psychology, has worked as a therapist, and paints abstract art pieces.