Life’s Tattoo – Poem

By Rei Tanotsuka, 14 June 2019


Scars. This was something that I wanted to write about. I look at my body and by grace I have managed to get very few “Life Tattoos”, I am grateful for this blessing. I would never claim that traumatic events in life are ever wonderful, however the little imperfections which have accrued through time, also tell my story.

The scars are markers of our experience and when we lose the USB and backups, we will have written our autobiography on the only thing which will never lose…….I hope you enjoy this piece. I was listening to Nu Meditation – Indian Flute as I penned this.

Life’s Tattoos

I got one of my first tattoos when I was around 7 or 8 years old.

The school bell rang and I ran excitedly back to the classroom with my BFF at the time, Katie.

I remember us holding hands and sprinting because we always like to leave the playground at the very last moment, making it back to the classroom, just in time…….that was part of the joy.

I remember falling together with her and so I grazed my knee…..both…..both of my knees. I remember them bleeding but…..I don’t remember crying. I accepted that as part of the joy……and……Katie probably bore the same scars too…..I don’t think they bothered her either.

So now, if you take a look at my knees, there’s a faint discoloration…….and if you want to see, how I was that day running back to the classroom as a boisterous 8 year old, you can.

Have you ever wondered to yourself, how do those little Asian girls get the bowl hair cut with the perfect blunt fringe? Their Daddy’s do it.

I remember when I was a kid, my dad used to cut my hair……My siblings were really cool…….they took it like soldiers and sat there quietly. I was really squiggly…moved around a lot…jostled.

My mum recalls this story…..I don’t remember.

She says I might have been around 4 years old, when my dad got the kitchen scissors, got out the ruler…..(I’m kidding about the ruler), cut out some holes in the garbage bag for an impromptu gown cape……and then proceeded to cut my hair.

I was particularly squiggly that day and apparently the scissors skimmed the outer corner of my left eye……and at that time my was father was astounded….. and my mother……she wasn’t exactly holding the helm either as a lot of blood was oozing out from my eye area.

Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be quite a small cut… if you were to try to see how I was, as a squiggly 4 year old getting a hair cut, all you have to do, is look at the corner of my left eye and you will see her.

It’s amazing……life’s tattoos……no colours on the actual tattoo…..the colour lies in the stories preceding them…….and that’s what’s wonderful now…..

Every body has a story to tell….…..

In Japan there’s an art called Kin Tsugi where broken cups and bowls are repaired with fine craftsmanship……not to conceal the breakage but to celebrate its new form of beauty. Perfection in Imperfection.

A new cup and bowl is always admired for its intrinsic perfection – unscarred, unscathed……flawless, but lacking character…lacking a certain uniqueness that makes it your favourite…..

But as this cup or bowl gets used, a bond slowly forms between and you the object….it might one day become your favourite or it may simply be your go to cup or bowl……..either way, it will now become a part of you…..and when it should break…..maybe discarding it, is not necessary…..maybe you just need to see it in a different light…….

The thing most beautiful about the imperfections which occur through time……….is that the past always holds a piece of our heart………

The future encapsulates our mind…..a piece of it……….but it’s always in the present, in this moment now, that we are, what life is…..yet present is always the moment we take most for granted……..because it seems effortless.

The past, we have to try to recall…..try to remember the details…. and the future? Well, we have to imagine the possibilities……false hopes….but the present, we think it’s a given. That it just is.

But the present is the only reality, the only thing that is real……the only thing that is life…….and I wish, with all my contemplation…..the years devoted to study…..that I can learn to just be.

Finding this simple essence of life in the self, while bestowed upon us from birth… the hardest thing.

A new life lesson that I have discovered recently is, that the most important thing to a person’s life, is the very thing, we know nothing of…….

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