In college, I found out information on my birth parents that I'd never known before. It arrived in the mail and I opened the envelope while I was sitting on my bedroom rug a few feet from floor-to-ceiling mirrored closet doors. I lifted my eyes from the piece of paper to my reflection and I swear to you there was more there than I'd ever seen before. Unless you can access a deep understanding of what composes our identity, or unless you are also adopted - you might wonder what I'm talking about. But I swear it's true, I saw more of myself that afternoon - things I'd never seen - that added to who I am.
A little over a month ago, I walked myself into a tattoo shop. I had an idea that was both decades old and younger than that one Saturday. I wanted a tattoo and I got one. I formed a bond with the artist who carved my ankle the way women form bonds with the midwives or doctors who help deliver their babies. I didn't want to leave the place when I was done, and I also knew I'd be back. Since that day, I have analyzed the hell out of the experience, especially curious why I liked it so much.
Tonight I had a thought that hadn't come up previously in all my moments (hours) of analyzing... I remembered the experience of finding out my ethnicity and some of my birth parents' background all those years ago and the feeling of "discovering" more of myself. I compared that with the tattoo experience and the two events remind me of each other. Having that tattoo is "me." Since I got it, I have gained a little more of my identity. I'm a girl who wants an expression of art right on my skin and I didn't know that before for sure. I was scared by the opinions of others, particularly one family member who said that "tattoos are for gas station attendants." Well... I bet there are more than a few gas station attendants out there who I could be good friends with.
The big question now is: what else have I not yet discovered about myself? I'm looking forward to finding out.