I Am Rebellious Because (Essay)
Client: Rebellious Magazine
I am rebellious because…I am rebelling against a girl half my age.
A pistol in her own right, she’s an 18-year-old me. Literally. She’s me at 18. As a college freshman, finally away from her small hometown, she did what only the coolest city people did. She got a tattoo. Her left deltoid was honored as the artwork’s permanent home.
A red feather—the feather: a Native American symbol of spirituality; red: representing woman, mother, earth—was sketched once by the Wicker Park tattoo artist. The 18-year-old was not Native American, a mother, or the earth, but she felt the symbolism transcended literal interpretations.
Too excited to request a second drawing, she allowed the tattoo artist to freehand the tattoo based on that single sketch—it was far from perfect. The rebellious girl faced puzzled looks and questions like “is that a mustache on your arm?” for 14 years before starting laser tattoo removal.
Three years later, that bad-ass tattoo refuses to be erased completely.
The 35-year-old woman disapproves of the girl’s decision, but respects the fight of the 18-year-old and her 17-year-old tattoo unwilling to go away quietly.