Addictions are as ubiquitous as smart phones and the conversations they cavalierly interrupt nowadays. The ever popular A and E show Intervention reveals that any one of the 6 billion plus of us the globe holds can be affected by alcoholism, drugs, even porn and hoarding. Letting go of or wrapping a death gripping choke hold on the substance abuse is even more difficult; understatement is obvious.
However, what does one do with the traces of addiction that are unable to be erased? What if your substance of choice is a trend, not long lasting, or recognizable for that matter by the abuser? What if your addiction is written all over your face, literally?
Tattoos have imprints on global history dating back thousands of years before Christ (BCE). The popularly documented Samoan culture, among others, possess intricately performed and painfully accepted designs that clothed the body’s skin. Tattoos are books and symbols of one’s history, only printed on the skin, from the Pacific to the East.
Tattoos, in the Western context, are too, beautiful self or cultural representations and symbols imprinted on peoples bodies, odes to life long affections and experiences, quotes, mentors, and imagery you just like for the moment too. Someone has definitely been in earshot at a tattoo parlor or in Little Five Points declaring how “addictive” tattoos are and showing off their latest skin print. “Oooh, what’s your tattoo mean?” is an invitation to one’s life. Anecdotes and tattoo descriptions run long-winded when you get into the root of the body art. Ice cream cones and thunder bolts must have truly grabbed a hold of rapper Gucci Mane then.
The rapper’s (affectionately shouted out on records as only Gucci, born Radric Davis) most recent tat among other celeb-types (Mike Tyson and The Game both have profiles boasting memorable prints) and the following true tale triggered this inquiry into the effects of the trending of face painting that will never wash away with a bath:
JR Crickets, Southwest ATL, Cascade Road on the eve of the impending death of the Falcons playoff run. Red and black, red and black, red and black, red and black abound. Guttural southern booty bass music thumps, led by the reverberating vocals of Too Short’s “Bi-atch!” Mind-numbing wait for the simplest of foods, chicken wings, C’mon ma’am. Peripheral view interruption– Man at the bar appears to bare some sort of Sanskrit or chicken scratch on his face, forehead and both cheeks included. Alas, it is an irremovable tattoo!
This is not a declaration of disdain for the culture of tattooing or face tattooing or the like. It is, on the other hand, an exploration and pondering of what becomes of these people’s trend practice (temporary addiction, if you will) once the trend fades. For unlike the winter time hidden lower back tats typically found when glancing at skin anxious for summer sun, you cannot hide or cover up your face year round.
Even more importantly, what becomes of one with markers bearing resemblance or size similar to Mr. ‘Brr’ Davis with no pending hip hop mega status on the horizon? A more inclusive social dialogue? A community neighborhood aesthetic filled with butterflies on cheeks and gold grilled incisors as well as suits on the way to corporate meetings and bikes in driveways? Where doth such a land exist in the future? In Inman Park, Alpharetta, Morningside? A decade or two will have to pass and ink thousands more skin with the details, but a beautiful, or not, history will be left to tell the tale.