I am getting emotional. As in I am having an emotional moment. Today, Saturday, April 3, 2010, I got my first tattoo. It hurt like a MOTHERFUCKER and I yelped like a little pussy and I did not enjoy the process at all. However, now back at home, looking at my new arm art, listening to Gaga sing Pokerface at her piano - the acoustic version I first heard about a year ago - tears are welling up in my eyes when I remember why, back in September, I wrote about why I thought she would inspire my first tattoo. I wasn't sure then if I would go through with it or not - but the roughness the past year created in me has begun to flower into a celebration of who I am, and I feel more confident in that person than I ever have before. Gaga inspires me to be just who I am, unapologetically, and to explore parts of myself that I've always wanted to but have perhaps feared. Anyway. Before I get into all that, here's the tattoo experience.
I waffled for like 30 minutes before I went through with getting it. I have really sensitive skin, and I also have eczema, so I wasn't sure that it was the best decision. Once I made a decision - after saying something about it being an existential crisis and pulling out my favorite "no one can take a bath for you" spiel - she started inking me, and it only took like five minutes. An excruciating fucking five minutes. This is right after it was finished, all wrapped up, (with) a pretty little bow:
Finished art, unwrapped (with a cameo by my toothbrush):
I love it. It's cute, right? It's cute, but it means so much more to me than just that. Bullet lists are everyone's favorite, so here it is, unedited, what this tattoo means to me, who I am, right now.
- 2009 was the year of my first true heartbreak. Gaga was there with me, somehow, at every step along the way, and in my memories of that year, she always will be. It's not an exaggeration to say that by the end of last year, I was completely fucking destroyed. I've come a long way in the past few months, but I am not ashamed to say that I still miss Andrew and I still sometimes cry for his loss. I cut him out of my life because I had to, but it has not been easy. A part of me still loves him. When I hear Brown Eyes, I think about him, and I probably always will. I'm OK with that. I learned the possibility of my emotional depth because of him, so ultimately I'm nothing but thankful.
- Gaga has always been pretty outspoken about her bisexual experiences. I have always had bisexual curiosity and tendencies, but I've just recently began to explore it. I don't really consider it fodder for this blog, but a world has opened up for me, and I have never felt more free or comfortable in my own sexuality.
- I am more free than I have ever been. I have stopped caring what others think of me, and I have taken to cutting and ripping my clothing however I see fit before I go out. I wear dark eyeliner and slick my short brown hair down with pomade. I wear glittery eyeshadow. I don't really consider something worth wearing unless I have somehow taken my hand to it or one of my friends has. Zachary sketched my tattoo for me. I never even knew what freedom was before this stage of my life, and now that I've tasted it I never want to go back. I can't even remember what I did before I made things or at least felt the drive and necessity to make them.
- I am more in love with New York than I ever have been, if that's even possible. This city continues to inspire me, envelop me, develop me and create new worlds for me. Literally everyday is an adventure, and I am surrounded by my dearest friends, who are actually my family, and I could not feel more blessed. Gaga represents New York for me, because that's where she got her start - she frequented St. Jerome's, which is my new favorite bar on the LES - and she just sort of embodies the grease, grit, dirt, harshness, and glamor of the city.
- Rivington Street
- I have recently discovered about myself that I truly feel like I'm meant to be an artist, and I think of myself as one, even though I am still really young and don't know quite what I want to do. I've been reading and learning about Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, and, yes, Lady Gaga, and what they did as young artists in New York. I'm learning about myself through them. I am dabbling in poetry and songwriting, as well as trying to learn more about the art world in New York.
To that end, I recently transcribed onto my bedroom wall a poem Patti Smith wrote when she was 24, which is obviously how old I am now, about New York.
Here's video of her saying it aloud, back in 1971. I have no idea if she wrote it before the interview and was reading from memory, or if she wrote it on the spot. She was really into improvisation, so the latter would not surprise me.
Patti was born on December 30, 1946. I moved to New York on December 30, exactly 62 years later. I find this appropriate, because it took moving to New York for me to truly be born, and the process, I hope, has only begun.
Love and art and New York always,
SEE: JOAN JONAS EXHIBIT AT GAVIN BROWN
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