Thursday, 24 September 2009

To Ink, or Not To Ink - that is the question.

For years I resisted the temptation to get a tattoo. I quite liked the fact that my body was (for the most part) unchanged, and I liked having "clear" skin when it seemed that everyone around me was getting 'inked' in some way. The main thing that put me off was the thought of what Old Peoples homes are going to look like in 50 years time; There will be all of these 80 odd year old women sitting there, covered in tattoos of skulls and their favourite rock bands and several workings of the word "Mother". Worse still was the thought of all of the piercings that are going to be about as well, especially, oh god forbid, the "intimate" ones!! Let me explain what terrifies me about the last point in particular: You go into any old persons home nowdays and it is always the same thing - you can hear the staff calling and talking to one another from room to room. Generally the conversation goes something like: "Sue, where are you?" "I'm in Mary's room." "What are you doing in there?" "Changing something." "What are you changing?" "Her brooch - she wants the Dolphin one on today." "Oh, she wants the 'Dolphin' one on today does she (giggles), ok - let me know when you are finished..."etc etc. BUT, in 50 years time, I imagine that it might go something like this: "Sue, where are you?" "I'm in Mary's room." "What are you doing in there?" "Err, changing.....something." "What are you changing?" "Just.....'something', errrm - her piercing if you must know!" "Oh, she wants the Dolphin one in today does she ?(giggles)....." "LOOK, I am already doing this by 'feel' and trying not to look, and if you force me to think about it I am going to lose my breakfast, so just give me a break, OK?!!!"

See what I mean??

Here is a pic of the tatoo I eventually had done.

It is on my right calf, and it's meaning is "Eternal Love, Passion, and Transformation".  The reason it is on my right calf is because that is the leg that was most affected when I broke my back.  Although my Injury doesn't stop me from doing anything at all, none the less I have noticed this year that my right leg is smaller now than my left. At first I was really upset and did everything I could to cover it up, but then I thought "why should I?"  Over the years I have learned so much from the pain caused by my back injury, that instead of being ashamed of my leg, I decided I wanted to celibrate what has happened to me instead and getting the tattoo was the best way of doing it. I love my tattoo and am now debating whether or not to start chronicling the rest of my life on my body. I have been lucky enough to have lived a hell of a life, I have seen and done so many things that others never get the opportunity to experience, which I will write more about later. So why not turn my body into a work of art that mirrors the life I have had and continue to have???

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Poem: "The Two Faces of Pain".

As discussed in an earlier post, I broke my back 10 years ago and although I can walk, it has left me with a condition which causes me permanent and sometimes chronic pain. Sometimes the pain gets so bad that I have what I can only describe as pain "blackouts" where I dont remember what has happened to me, and I have to rely on accounts from family and friends as to what they witness me going through when these episodes occur.

Now the mind is an amazing thing, and as I have said I dont remember most of what actually physically happens to me, I can only attempt to describe what others say they have seen, and what it feels like inside my mind instead, and the best way for me to do that is in the form of a poem. This poem is split into two parts (The Two "Faces", if you like.) The first part deals both with what goes on in my mind whilst the pain episode is happening, and also what my friends witness. The second part details some of the things that the pain has taught me about myself and the world around me over the last 10 years. I see my pain as a seperate entity to myself, so also that is how I have written this poem; I am addressing pain as I would another person. OK - here goes:

"The Two Faces of Pain".

I writhe and I scream
And my tortured soul bleeds,
I scratch at the frozen walls
And my Insane Mind reels.

You drag me along
The dark halls of my mind,
I fight you but
You pay me back in kind.

My heart and mind break
And I am blind to all I see,
I am trapped in here with you
And can never break free.

I cry out and I twist,
You bend me into shapes unknown,
And my heart searches blindly
For relief that will never come.

My fingers clutch at thin air
And my feet thump the floor,
And I thrash my head while
Begging you "please no more".

You showed me the world
That I was longing to see,
But I can see it now
So let me be.

You taught me to count my blessings
By breaking me in two,
And how not to judge
By running me through.

You teach me to look
Until the truth I find,
By pushing, punishing and
Bending my mind.

You teach me how to love
By breaking my heart,
And how to keep it together
By tearing me apart.

You show me how to care for others
By ignoring my plea's,
And how to walk tall
By forcing me to my knees.

I hate you, and I love you
Both at the same time,
You break me constantly
But will always be mine.

Whatever road I walk
You are there holding my hand,
Like deformed diseased lovers
Through time's eternal sand.

Copyright by Sami-Jane Harris. 2010. All rights reserved

Memories of my Father and Summer Rain.

There is something luxurious and wonderful about summer rain: Unlike its winter counterpart which whips your face and tries to bite and nip at your hands, summer rain caresses, thoughtfully washing away all of the pollen, dust and debris of a hot humid day. Its feels warm and seductive, like a lover running thier fingers over your body, massaging away the stresses and strains of life. It refreshes rather than freezes, causing you to feel alive, rather than half dead, and it enlivens everything around you too; A tiny drooping roadside flower, struggling under road dust and the heat of the day, will suddenly burst into life under the influence of summer rain.

I remember walking through a barley field with my Father one scorching summers day, I think I was about 5 or 6 years of age. It started to rain and so my Dad scooped me up into his arms and ran with me towards the shelter of some Dutch Elm trees that were nearby. Suddenly he stopped, so I asked him why we were standing in the rain, in the middle of the barley field. He just smiled at me, tilted his head backwards, letting the rain wash the dust from his face and grinned from ear to ear. I soon got the message and followed suit, holding my arms out to the sides while my Dad slowly turned us around and around. We were laughing at the sheer joy of standing together in a field of barley, and of being washed by the wonderful summer rain.

When I became tired I laid my head on his bare chest and closed my eyes. I could feel my Dad's arms around me, holding me tightly while the rain ran down my face and dripped off my nose onto his skin. His skin smelled of sunshine, barley (of course) and Dock and Glycerine Ointment, soon after he carried me home. My last memory of that day is of feeling the warm, rain soaked barley brushing against the bottom of my legs and feet, and of feeling so completely safe in my Dad's arms.

It remains one of my happiest memories to this day.

Copyright by Sami-Jane Harris. 2010. All rights reserved

"Union" - a new poem

Ok, this is a new "shortie" that I have written, but I like it so I thought it is still worth posting:


I cried his tears of ecstacy
As he dripped his life onto my tongue,
And we died in each other's eyes
As our lives were undone.

I tasted the rage in his heart
As he fed fire into my veins,
And we flew towards oblivion
As we wrapped each other in chains.

Copyright by Sami-Jane Harris. 2010. All rights reserved