My first night on my own on the road at the backpackers in Mossel Bay was fun and it was crazy. I hooked with the drifters, the ones who bum a bed wherever they can, the ones who drink beer and smoke weed – those ones. The ones who praat kak (talk shit) till the early morning hours and keep on saying “I got to go to bed now … work tomorrow” – those ones. The ones who hook for a few months and exchange stories and ideas and lives and sometimes bodily fluids – those ones. The ones who are free, totally free, the ones who don’t give a shit about society and its values or what people may think of them – those ones.
I reckon it was the tattoos that did it. You know I got some real intense ones now. You know the ones – the ones with the words just below my inner elbows. The ones I can’t hide when I wear short sleeves – those ones. The ones that say: freedom and redemption – yes those ones. The weird symbols on my wrists – those ones. The bright colours on my ankles. The continent on my shoulder the lines across my ribs – those ones. The tattoos were my opening to the free ones.
The tattoos made me realise how much people judge you on your outside. How few people look past your ink and into your soul. The tattoos yes, they are both a barrier and a opening. I guess if they are a barrier, then the people who are on the other side of that wall are not meant to be in this life I have now.
So yes I am learning now to say I don’t care what you think, this is me. I learned that from the free ones. My ink is a map. It tells the story of my life. Each one of the nine, marks a point in my life. Not all happy and not all good points, but they are scratched into my skin so I can remember. Remember where I came from and remember where I’m going.