I really appreciate the ideas behind diluting our identity that we are only the sum of several adjectives but those descriptions never quite capture the essence of our person identity. I resonate with questions like “where is the language” and I feel the answer to that question is that there is no language to accurately capture certain ideas, at least not without going into the extremely abstract. It is a failure of language, no matter how precise our diction we cannot fully explain some ideas. I find that listening to someone describe something in a language in which they are not fluent often feels more genuine than another person describing the same thing with complex diction.
Because of the difficulty in expressing a personal identity, I have become extremely drawn to tattoos. They are a great way of showing off ones identity by decorating the body with images. Of course identity is ever changing, which is why so many people will remind you “a tattoo is permanent”. Of course it is, but my thought has always been, if my identity changes to where a tattoo no longer represents the present me, it will always represent who I was before, quite literally wearing my personal history on my sleeve.
As someone who has more than my fair share of tattoos, I share the sentiment of acknowledging the personal history in the permanent artwork. (Or maybe this is what I tell myself to be OK with something I cannot change?)
I feel like I learn a lot from people’s ink. It is a serious choice, and an invested aesthetic. It says more than the words we use to identify ourselves.
I also think about the fear behind the words we use, and the inherent judgment that we are navigating.