Today I got a tattoo …

Not a “real” tattoo, a henna tattoo … infinitely much more pleasurable to receive.  I met the artist at a Sex+ coffee shop, where one could remove their shirt and undo their bra in the library without anyone giving a crap.  In fact, I probably could have done it outside the library and no one would have given a crap, except perhaps myself …

The artist, Jeanjoel, had no preconception about what design he’d create.  I didn’t even decide where I wanted to place it until we started talking, then we mutually decided – up the spine.  Taking my chai latte into the library and straddling a chair while a man browsed books on Japanese bondage, I released my inhibitions … mostly.  Bravely pulling off my sweater and camisole (quick as a flash) before hugging up to a large throw pillow, I felt as nonchalant as I possibly could.  It was, afterall, no big deal.  Everything was covered.  Besides, it was nothing compared to my recent adventure posing nude for a female photographer friend along a hiking trail during the dead of winter. (Well, not completely nude … I wore a scarf and really long socks.)  Point is, I’m modest by nature and generally prefer to show my “special bits” to a very select few.  One could argue that perhaps I’m self-conscious about my body, but I assure you I am most comfortable and in love with my 39 year old body than I ever was at any other point in my life so far.  Which is, perhaps, why I’m suddenly agreeing to be an experimental model and taking my shirt off in coffee shops.

The henna, cold and thick along my back, felt like a bunch of small random lines and dots.  Little did I know what Jeanjoel was creating.  A student of life and Trancendental Meditation, he is a deeply intuitive and connected being.  He essentially captured … well, me … in the henna.  The piece perfectly represents exactly where I feel I’m at in my life right now.  A true artist to his core, he undercharges for his henna work.  I paid him double.  He’s worth even more than that …

The henna starts with a lotus, rooting in my base chakra, and stemming up into intertwining trees and branches forming a heart, with a sun shining above the treetops … perfectly placed in my center, where I believe is the seat of my soul.  I don’t think he read my poem about “roots and branches intertwined,” but it was definitely present in his work.  So, I wear this image of my Self on my back … this Self which knows its Being-ness … or at least, is learning more about it day by day …

I embrace my body.  I embrace my Being.  I embrace my Self.  I even, finally, am embracing the beauty of my divinely sensual sexuality.  It’s not a ploy, a trick, something to be ashamed of or hidden … it’s not something I use.  It’s something I AM.  Sex+, but monogamous.  Self-confident, but modest.  Jeanjoel interpreted his work as showing a duality.  I’d say that’s right.  I am the dichotomy … and everything in between.