To be honest the idea to use this as a DIY in class came to me after after I completely forgot to bring something else. But thus is the benefit of having a homemade tattoo – it kinda comes with you wherever you go. Despite this benefit (which obviously comes in handy all the time) people don’t seem to love stick and poke tattoos. I get a wide range of responses when I tell people I gave myself this tattoo, but they all kind of follow the same theme. A lot of people are very alarmed by this idea – they ask why I would ever do this (they don’t tend to like it when I then tell them I also got a stick and poke on my ribs…). Another group is very interested in understanding exactly how much it hurt (they either have a terrifying excitement in their eyes or sheer terror). The final group simply hears the words needle and poking and check out of the conversation (tbh I get this one, shit is scary).
It’s always been interesting to me how interested people are in these kinds of things. The old reliable “what does it mean” is probably my least favourite – but caring about my own pain tolerance is pretty close. As someone who doesn’t really like being told what to do it can sometimes feel very apt to have a tattoo on my middle finger – especially one I put there myself. It was brought to my attention that the tattoo could be interpreted as bricolage – a remixed political stance used in everyday life. While tattoo ‘freedom’ (???) is far from a priority in my life, it is my own little resistance.
I will say that DIYing your own skin is not without its flaws. I also have two other ‘homemade’ tattoos – one on each of my wrists. Due to my inability to tattoo both of my own wrists I had my roommate (previous roommate) do both of them while I did a tattoo on her finger. A few months later we had a huge falling out and we no longer speak. Sometimes I look at the tattoos and I am reminded of painful memories – of someone who loved me and hurt me anyway. Other times I remember great moments and stories and I am thankful for the small moment of grounding. And other times still they are completely my own – no connection to anyone or anything. I can’t say I regret the tattoos, but I will say its odd to look back on it now.