It was 7:00AM.
Normal for an ordinary week, but way too early for the morning after a Friday night of inebriation. The days leading up to the night were mired down by self-defeating thoughts and emotional turmoils, which were no one’s fault but my own.
A beautiful Friday night with M. That is something to drink to.
7 wine glasses later, we found ourselves seated in front of a shop, back against the metal shutter doors. Tongues loosened by alcohol, we chatted. I spoke freely, unfiltered thoughts liberated like clouds of bats awakening from their slumber, seeking comfort from the night cloak. M spoke his mind too and I allowed myself to be fascinated by the universe that lay behind his eyes.
I was suddenly seized by an impulse to perform a party trick. A trick to prolong a drunken night – stick your hands down your throat and provoke the volcano of your guts, a furious mixture of alcohol and stomach acid. Overcome by furor, it erupts with one swift gag reflex and allow that vile lava to flow out of you, onto the bushes by the sidewalk.
So there you have it. The Purge 2016.
I am now cleansed, mentally and physically.
It is 7:00AM
I awake to lucidity in the mind and I saw a lotus. The lotus had finally emerged from the murky depths of the pond and is blooming in all its glory. It is strong. It is beautiful. It is me, a metaphor for. I need to remember this glimpse of myself I have seen.
I need a tattoo.
A week later, I found myself at a cozy tattoo parlour in Holland V. It was a sanctuary, with beautiful artwork lining the right wall from floor to ceiling. The air conditioning was a refuge away from the oppressive heat of the sun, reflected off concrete everything.
I waited for the tattoo artist, Lionel to get off the phone, gazing out of the glass shopfront. It overlooked a couple of bars I’ve visited last year. It struck me that just last year in 2015, I was down at one of the outdoor seats with M, chugging beers and smoking cigarettes. Up here one this pedestal, I’m the light and wisps of cigarette ghosts slowly rising above, away from the pits of darkness beneath.
Man, this place is physically and literally a place of recovery.
It’s Wednesday. For someone undergoing a permanent body modification, I am surprisingly calm. A bunch of my friends have discovered my intent to change the skin of my back forever and the reactions were mixed. It was very revealing of the preconceptions people had of tattooed folks existing in their heads. I was not too worried about the non-believers.
After all, my rationale behind my decision was mine in its entirety, emerging after a night of purging and hence absolute luminosity. This is one thing I was absolutely certain I will not have my judgments towards it swayed by other people.
I knew that through the pain, I’ll be worthy of power.
I know a guy, S who had a tattoo on one side of his chest. He likened the tattooing process to a “penknife dragged across the skin”, an apt description for what I’ve experienced too.
The first time the blade penetrated my skin, I was taken aback by the sensation, the immediacy of the agony which rode ride up my spine and deserved to be felt. Spurred on by my obstinate desire to be more powerful than ever, I readied myself to get used to the pain. It then ebbed into a metallic kind of numb and it got to the point where I caught myself almost dosing off as I lay flat on the tattooist version of an operating theater.
An hour later, Lionel was done with the outline. My back felt like a bad sunburn.
We took a break before continuing. The second time coming felt like it lasted an eternity. Time for shading and filling in the dots, which meant “penknife doing the Tasmania Devil’s spin on patches of skin which were already wounded”.
I didn’t cry but did drool a lot. Maybe the nerves in my back were somehow disconnected and reorganized into bizarre combinations, where salivary glands become confused AF and thought they were tear glands.
Two hours later…
I have forgotten all the pain I went through upon laying my eyes upon this beauty. Tears of joy and appreciation stung the back of my eyes. Pure ecstasy pervaded my entire being.
I was reborn.
I am lotus.