July 9th, 2014

Shaman - Horse

Flexing the Norms and Tattoos

A talk with a friend brought an interesting topic to mind. They were getting a tattoo, but just one. They said that they wanted the flexibility to be themselves and getting more tattoos would put a damper on that expression. I related a lot, and after some consideration I can share my thoughts.

I don't have any tattoos. Is it because I am terribly conventional and don't want to step outside of a rigid box? The answer is no. Believe it or not, am not pursuing tattoos because I want freedom to not be rigidly conventional.

Before I go any further with this I want to be clear that I don't condemn tattoos. They are quite cool and people should get them if they want. They are just not for me.

OK, back to the freedom thing. I believe that norms are anything but rigid. Norms are there to be tested. The words of Mark Daniel Snyder in the article “The Quiet Clash Between Transgender Women And Drag Queens” really speak to how I feel about the flexibility of norms. Mark enjoys playing with gender norms.

“I enjoy messing with gender norms. I enjoy the wide range of gender diversity and expression. Snyder says, “I’m able to see the world of gender in more color almost. I view gender as a galaxy and all the stars, and it’s so expansive and diverse, and I’m just one little star in there.” -- Mark Daniel Snyder

In my own way I enjoy messing with norms. Sometimes I comply with the expected norms. Other times I have people scratching their heads. My excuse could be that I have an artistic streak, but there could be more. I am an explorer, and we are on a group journey.

Tattoos make an incredible statement, but that statement is forever. I feel that the permanency of a tattoo restricts ongoing expansiveness and diversity of expression. We are here to explore life. This exploration is more than just visiting countries and seeking exotic sites. There are inner landscapes to explore. These landscapes map to our relations with others, and in these relations we see the galaxies and stars that Snyder mentions.