Friday, March 06, 2015

Nothing perishes

So maybe the first thing to say about turning 40 is that I got a tattoo.

Not, like, across my forehead--but not tiny and not in a super-discreet location: capable of being concealed by professional wear (and in my currently northerly clime for up to seven months of the year regardless of what I'm wearing), but otherwise pretty visible. That was kind of the point.

I didn't get the tattoo for my fortieth, exactly; I'd been contemplating it for more than a year and my birthday just provided a convenient milestone. Still, getting a tattoo at all, and getting this one in particular, is intimately connected to my sense of aging and my desire to keep faith with my past selves as I move on to whatever I do move on to.

Anyone who's been reading this blog for any length of time will recognize that making sense of the past and unraveling the relationship between history and identity--whether personal or collective--is my only real interest, the thing that drives pretty much everything I do; indeed, twenty-five years' worth of journals and letters show that this is far from a recent obsession. (If I'm constant in anything, it may be in my search for continuity and my fear of finding it wanting.)

So I guess my tattoo is another reminder of who I am and what I value, a way of both staking myself to a moment in time and acknowledging the unknown. I'm not afraid to see the image change as my body also changes.

That, too, is kind of the point.


sophylou said...

I also have a strong desire to find continuity and fear losing it, so, I love the tattoo, and the sentiments behind it.

Comradde PhysioProffe said...

What's it mean? Looks very cool! I love the typeface.

Flavia said...

Thanks, both!


What, they don't have The Google where you are?

It's from Ovid's Metamorphoses: "everything changes, nothing perishes." The typeface is Centaur--designed in 1914 for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but basically an adaptation of an early 15th-16th C. humanist typeface.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Man, I wish I'd thought of that.

Unknown said...

The tattoo has the added benefit of making literature, and your commitment to it, corporal and visible to your students.