I remember the first time I envisioned myself with a body covered in words. I was watching The Haunting in Connecticut and part of the movie involved bodies etched with words, every inch of skin covered with carved in words. Though I’m sure the moment was meant to be one of horror, I gazed upon these images with longing. To me, the etching of words upon skin looked beautiful. Words immortalized in flesh.
Thus it is fitting that my second tattoo was not only comprised of words but about words. I’ve talked a lot about words on here. I think in concepts and words, though sometimes I can’t make words come out my mouth. Words are how I understand my world and I find great beauty in well-crafted quotes. As a teenager I would spend hours copying down quotes from my favorite books, scanning the pages for words that spoke to me. I covered my walls in words, scrawling quotes all over their bright pink paint. As I’ve grown older, words have maintained their hold over me.
These first words etched into my flesh come from the song “Fighting for Nothing” by Meg and Dia. (Here’s a link to the song, you should go listen to it). I remember the first time I heard their music. Husband and I were browsing through youtube trying to find new music when we came across their song “Black Wedding” and were hooked. We started listening to their music obsessively, and while we listened to everything available by them, one song stood out to me. I began listening to “Fighting for Nothing” on repeat again and again. The song spoke to me. It empowered me.
“I’ve got my mouth: it’s a weapon,
it’s a bombshell, it’s a cannon,
I’ve got my words – I hope they
hurt you, I hope they scar you,
I hope they heal you”
The concept of the mouth as a weapon speaks to me. We can wage our best wars through words. Words can be used to defend ourselves or to wage war for what matters. I think it’s also important to recognize the power of words to heal as well as wound. Words can be wielded as a weapon, formed to cut deep and leave scars, but words can also be crafted to heal the soul and repair damage wrought by the self or by others. Well-crafted words are our most powerful tool in this world. Words are power and strength but also compassion and kindness. Words are how we communicate and communication is the key to successful relationships and a good life.
“I hope they cut you open,
make you see that some
things are worth bruising
for make you see your
life’s not to be lived alone,
make sure you’re not
fighting for nothing”
As powerful as words are, it is vital that we understand why we use them. Why do we fight? What motivates us? We must know why it is we fight. I fight for equality. I fight against ableism. I fight against sexism. I fight against oppression. I use my words, carefully crafted words, to wage these wars. I wield my mouth as a weapon, my fingertips tap out words for the fight.
This tattoo is my reminder to never forget what it is I’m fighting for. These words etched into my skin remind me of the power my words hold and the importance of using them for the right battles. I must always ensure I’m not fighting for nothing.