In the second book of the ‘Once Upon a Reality series, To Dwell in Dreams, one of the most physically unique things about Lyn is the giant tattoo on her back. Besides being one of the more fun tie-ins to the original fairy-tale the novel is based in (Sleeping Beauty), Lyn’s tattoo is central to the story in how it highlights her state of mind and eventually facilitates her healing process.
This was definitely a case of ‘write what you know’. Tattoos can mean many things to different people, sometimes positive and sometimes not. I currently have two tattoos and nine piercings. For me, body modification gives me a way to take control of my own body, of my own future, even when it feels like control has been stolen from me. As someone who has suffered through physical, mental and emotional abuse, this means a lot. It’s one thing for me to tell myself that I feel fine, that I think I’m okay and that I’ve healed from what has happened. It is another thing entirely for me to endure the pain of body modification, to ‘sear over’ the past and start truly cleansed. It takes a certain level of dedication, intention, and perseverance. It costs money, time, and (in some cases) the opinion of other’s. It requires a promise: that I will not go back on myself, and the progress I’ve made in becoming myself, as long as that tattoo or hole remains on my body.
When I write certain characters, especially those who have gone through a huge life experience or are exceedingly certain of themselves, I tend to write them as characters who have body modifications. In the ‘Once Upon a Reality’ series, Lyn is the first openly modded character. You’ll meet more as the series progresses, and even more when I complete my current fantasy projects. In my experience, body modification is an avenue through which to claim yourself for your own path. As a Catholic, this also means claiming myself for my unique purpose; for my own, special vocation.
So don’t be surprised if you see more tatted and pierced characters in my upcoming books. In fact, I’d encourage you to really analyze at what kind of modification they get, when, and where. It’s as important as any of their other characterizations, and I would be disappointed if readers just wrote them off.
If you’re an author, do you ever write characters with body modifications? If you’re a reader, how do you perceive body mods?