I have two tattoos which never fail to catch people by surprise. I guess I don’t come across as the self-stamping kind. This is partly true, which is why I have trouble giving adequate explanations of my non-Maryam Yesamechign markings. If only I could blame it on the Holy Mother. Nope, all me and my well-thought out permanent life decisions:
The first one – a stick figure on the run on my ankle, headed for my little toe by the looks of it – is easily explained in two simple words: frosh week.
The second one – a cross between a salamander and a gecco, hiding out on my inside right elbow – is also easily, if not satisfyingly, explained: dull night in Montreal. Since then, I’ve come up with what I hope were more impressive explanations for it. Among them, my two favorites are
1) that it is actually an Aladdin’s lamp, and its placement on my arm signifies my belief in taking charge of one’s wishes (good one, eh?)
2) that it reminds me of the lizards (salamanders? geccos?) that used to scuttle in and out and up and down the walls and fences of my childhood home in Addis and so it is a gesture towards that magical time in my life (even better, eh?)
I like the second explanation best, because that qualifies it to belong in the family of Ethiopian culture/language inspired tattoos that are becoming the next big thing. Hey, who said that it has to be only fidel or meskel or karta inspired?! I am wearing it, ergo it is a habesha tattoo. End of discussion.
Big prize (either that or some sage life advice) if you can give me a better explanation for them, for the next time I hear Oh, you have tattoos?! (Actually, it often goes more like Oh! YOU have tattoos?!)
Meanwhile, here are some impressive ones in the slideshow gallery below.