The Cat in the Tat, or Let’s Be Honest
I like tattoos. I know, it’s seems weird, since I’m like the bougiest, prissiest person anyone’s ever met. But I do, I like them on boys (my friend Kibwe said, in reference to the Tyga/Big Seans of the world, that skinny and tatted-up is the new “black and ugly as ever”). And I like them on me. The pain, the art, the tackiness — it’s good girl naughty. Before last week, I had three — one on my foot, a teeny one on my back, and an unfortunate-at-the-time-but-now-sorta-amusing one on my hip. I’d always wanted to get a fourth, but I was concerned. When one has four tattoos, does one officially become a tattooed lady?
Three days ago, I became a tattooed lady. Fuck it, I thought to myself. You need something.
My life has been feeling fuzzy lately. Who I used to be and who I am now have not been aligning properly. I needed something to bring it all into focus, a “you’re hysterical, woman!” slap in the face. So I gave myself a little reminder. WRITE. Write. This is what you do, this is who you are. Stop whining, nobody cares. Write something. It’ll save you.
When you’re Type-A anal, first born overachiever — when you’re a successful black woman (never forget that one, it comes with extra agita…mustn’t fall, can’t, everyone’s watching) — and things don’t end up the way you’d planned, it’s shattering. By 30, I’d done everything. I had a fancy magazine career, a dream home, a husband, and four books published. Six years later, I’m jobless, selling the money pit apartment, divorced. In and out of the hospital. A broke single mother who hopes you like her bob. Really? I know, I know…the economy. Everyone’s suffering, why should I think I’m immune? And then you have that horrible, hyper-American thought…well, fuck everybody else. I don’t know them. I know me. And this wasn’t supposed to be my story, dammit!
I know how obnoxious and entitled I sound. I also know that when things go wrong, you quickly find out the kind of person you really are. As Rose Nyland once noted during an overwrought breakdown of Blanche’s, “Boy, when the mask falls it really makes a thud!” I’m sick of walking around in a disconnected haze, eating nothing, dry-swallowing pain pills and overdosing on Ancient Aliens marathons. And pretending to be la-di-da fine. No amount of concealer can erase self-hate.
So it’s time to remember myself. Feeling lost? Write a book. Write it out, bitch. WRITE.