Sometimes I miss the confidence of youth, Bookaholics. I was so sure in my 20s that I knew exactly who I was, what I thought and where I was going, and there was security in that certainty. But as I get older (spoiler alert: aging is unavoidable) I am finding my views shifting in so many ways. One example of this is the way I regard my body. When I was younger I was adamant that I would never have piercings or tattoos: why would I want to mutilate my form in such a hideous way? (Obviously I didn’t apply this to continuous binge eating or the horrendous haircuts I somehow thought looked good, so there were evident inconsistencies behind this principle). Now at the grand old age of 42 – and inspired in part by a friend who this week had a particularly cool Shakespeare tattoo – I am genuinely considering body-art. Naturally this will need to be book-related and clearly this will take some planning. So I hereby present to you the top 5 ideas for my new textual tattoo:
1) Given how excited I am every time I receive post addressed to Bookaholic Bex, I am tempted to get that handle emblazoned somewhere on my feminine form. On the positive side, it would be easy to identify my body if I am ever murdered and dumped in a wood. On the negative side, choose the wrong font and it could look like I am addicted to something other than books. It also seems narcissistic to have your own name on a tattoo when people usually do this for people they love most in all the world, like their children or pet chihuahua. This one probably won’t make the short list.
2) As regular readers will know, I am a little obsessed with Jane Austen, so my natural instinct is to go with a quote from one of her novels. The problem is, which one? I do like “Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure” and I think that would look quite cool on my lower back. But then the comedian in me is drawn to my favourite ever Mr Bennett quotation, “It’s been many years since I had such an exemplary vegetable”. Imagine someone catching a glimpse of that on my wrist – it would confuse them no end…
3) Alternately, I could embrace my feminist side and go with one of the inspirational woman who have encouraged my own journey in embracing equality and diversity. I have always felt drawn to “I dissent” which would be a clear homage to the well-loved and sorely missed Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Given my adoration for Katniss from The Hunger Games, there is a chance that “May the odds be ever in your favour” could make the shortlist, although I am painfully aware that people may think I am just a film junkie rather than admiring the books. But maybe I should simply rely on one of my ultimate heroes, Gloria Steinem and simply brandish the following statement on my arm for all to see: “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off”.
4) Rather than words, maybe I should choose a symbol. (I am shuddering at the idea that any tattoo in my teens would have been the Take That logo. Imagine living with that at 42). I could have an iconic front cover image emblazoned somewhere on my skin – but how would I ever choose which book to go with? What if later on the book or author is discredited in some way (think JK Rowling) and I am left with an embarrassing body part? This feels much too dangerous.
5) And then there are all those other books with quotes I have loved. I have to confess I am not a huge fan of Jane Eyre (blame GCSE English) but I love the phrase “I am no bird and no net ensnares me”. I was deeply moved by the incredible novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston which gave me the idea that “There are years that ask questions and years that answer”. However the one writer who has inspired me more than any other is Oscar Wilde and he has given me so many incredible words to choose from. On a whimsical day I would choose “I can resist everything except temptation”; on a more serious day “Who, being loved is poor?” The more I think about this the harder it becomes.
So now you have an insight into the choices I am struggling with and can understand just how hard it is. Maybe the only answer is to have multiple tattoos in different places until I have sated every whim. Now, which font should I use? Decisions, decisions…