My Face

The markings on my face are inspired from Pre-Islamic Arabic tradition. Many women have similar markings in Turkey, Iran, Syria, Morocco and Jordan. These markings are symbols of protection from danger and the evil eye.

I was tattooed in Croatia and Costa Rica. The balkan gypsies also have simian dots on the face and many central American cultures also have a history of tattooing. I learned about the meaning of the symbolism of Arabic facial tattoo as I traveled, and admired them. I had I dream where my face was marked and it seemed natural and necessary to receive the symbols.

Although a dying practice I admire this form of beauty and protection. I believe as the world becomes a melting pot of culture and modern society becomes prominent, many unique ancient traditions are lost. I believe more variety and variation yields a more tolerant accepting society. The trend today in our capitalistic dominated society is to see beauty as we are presented on television. This leads to great dissatisfaction by many people. Plastic surgeries and body augmentation are becoming common practice. People are dissatisfied with the way they look because it does not fit a prototype displayed to them.

In ancient cultures marking the body in different ways was a common practice. In Egypt evidence of tattooing has be found on mummies thousands of years old. The pre-columbian traditions in south America also practiced the art of tattooing. Many indigenous cultures still do these rituals in Brazil and the Amazon communities.

In Japan the Ainu women were adorned with distinctive lip tattoos, black around the mouth. In China, the minority groups of Yunnan, full face tattoos were a practice among ladies. In Polynesian culture, women’s full face tattoos are still common today although among older women. In Maori culture tattooing among both men and women is traditional. Many native cultures in North America had traditional facial tattoos.

Everyone should be his or her own form of beauty. Acceptance is beauty. Tolerance is beauty. Not conforming is beautiful.

I believe that the Capitalistic system drains the soul from the society. Everyone becomes more competitive, more critical, more negative.

People become like the advertisements they hear on the television. Mechanical and robotic.

The kindest people I ever met were in the Polenesian Islands when I traveled by sailing boat from New Zealand to Indonesia. These people were not exposed to modern culture. There were no brand named goods or shopping malls. These people, although they did not have many material goods had pure hearts. Kind and helpful. Generous and friendly.

I admired these people. In Daoist philosophy it states that, one who fills a glass house with jade and gold can never be able to protect it. Which means that, the more possessions you have the more worry you have. The ascetics of India and the Sufis of Turkey and Iran also had the same philosophy.

I gave up television many years ago. Although media can me good means of communication it is sponsored by big business which is motivated to make us crave. Desire and dissatisfaction is the fuel for the capitalistic model. We must want more than we already have.

In buddhism there is the thought of non duality, this is also present in Daoist thought. Where the yin is a complementary and necessary part of the yang. The yin symbolizing darkness and the yang symbolizing the bright.

My reasons for choosing to tattoo my face are entwined with these thoughts. My body isnt me. My body is a house for my soul. I don’t even see them most of the time. I don’t feel differently if I have markings on my face or I do not, because my identity is not my appearance.


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