I will write love on my arms...
I can't believe that I neglected to acknowledge the words written on my arm for this long. They're kind of hard to hide. Some people might need to take a second glance, but they read, Zoey and June, and although I like looking down on them June loves scanning them with both her fingers and eyes. I suppose her vantage point is different from mine...significantly, as you could imagine. I love that she loves them. I want the work to be part of something greater...June likes them on their own, well, as attached to the little blue kite that they are. She likes the simplicity of it, while I'm eager to add a greater context and depth to the endeavor. In the end it doesn't really matter what I do because what's most important is that I wake up and stare at them, still, after months and months of seeing them there I smile.
"It's just skin," Luis said, when I was debating the venture. Of course he was right, but now, in hindsight, those words are much more. They help me to differentiate those people who actually see me for me, and not what's written on my arm from those people who can't get past that lovely ink engraved on the inside of my left forearm...It helps me roll up my sleeves and claim, "this is what you get, and subtly suggests that I live up to my own expectations and not any others. It reminds me that there are two girls in my life that have helped shape me beyond anyone else's influence.
It's funny because for all of the deeply intimate things that it does for me personally, it's trailed closely by what it's done for my relationship with all of those lost young people that I get to talk to each day. I watch their eyes steer toward my arm and I watch their defenses fall away and their trust pile up. Ink on skin did that. I already enjoyed a very, very positive relationship with 99% of the kids that I deal with, but as impossibly hard as it might be to both articulate and imagine, ink on skin has made my office door a rotating carousel of "when can I talk to you," and "can I come in for a minute." It's no exaggeration. I can hardly believe it. It's as close to the definitive "wearing your heart on your sleeve" without actually having a heart emblazoned on your arm.
I never imagined how liberating the gesture might be. If you have a problem with it then it's very possible that I might have a problem with you. I'm proud of who I am, and not just in some punch drunk happy self-esteemy sort of way but rather, in the kind of way in which I've harvested a lot of confidence from accomplishments, perspectives, and the kind of person that I know I am, which is more than what I thought I might ever be. I've earned the right to express myself far beyond the principle that it's my body and I'll wreck it if I want to. I'm one of the fortunate few who get to wear my emotions on my sleeve each and every day of my life because what I do demands it. I can tell you a story from every single working day that might allow me to express myself in any way I chose. I chose to do it with love and ink. Liberating indeed. Don't think so, try it for yourself. You'll soon see what I mean. Put what's in your heart in a place where everyone can see it, then sit back and watch how everything changes, because it does.
I will write love on my arms and earn every looping letter of it every day of my life.