This Too Shall Pass.
A few days ago I was talking with my sister about evolution, as she just graduated with a Degree in Biology and she spent her senior year thesis-ing on the evolution of a particular species of frog. Anyway, she helped to unfold a misconception I had held about evolution. I had the process framed in my mind as a kind of preparation for the future. WRONG, she told me. Rather, evolving is all about being in the moment (something we hear so much about these days), about responding to the surrounding environment, circumstances and stimuli in THIS very moment, and coincidentally if we respond well now, we may have better chances of producing offspring later- which is the part of Darwin's theory I think most people focus on, but it is more of a bonus rather than the actual process of evolution.
So, in evolving, which we're doing in each moment, there is no sense of a future, there is only this moment. Each moment is different from the previous and different from the next. We are constantly evolving, adapting to the new moment, a new environment or situation- therefore we are constantly changing- constantly pushing things around us to evolve. So we co-create reality- our environment, the universe and ourselves- all being reinvented in every moment. Everything changes, and it changes all the time.
Let's put that on the back-burner for a minute. Sounds good.
I have three tattoos, a nose ring, a buzzed head and several ear piercings (all of which represent some concept, or commemoration). I'm big into physical manifestations- I like bodily expressionism, and I have been exploring the world of body modification. I am also in recovery from an eating disorder and so I've been involved in some sort of bodily preoccupation for a while. I've recently been thinking quite a bit about the implications of these things. How far is it healthy or acceptable to take this? Are they even healthy to engage in to begin with? Are these body modifications (tattoos, piercings, hair styles and colors) simply another way of expressing the eating disorder- after all, they are both bodily manifestations of abstract concepts, ideas, or notions of flaws or inadequacies. Can I even draw a correlation between them or are they the same thing, being expressed in more or less socially acceptable ways?
I've thought a great deal about the meanings, intentions and mentalities that went into each of my tattoos and in the design and decision to get them. Generally speaking, I think what draws this semi-permeable membrane between modification and mutilation is the intention and reason with which someone goes into getting a tattoo. If the motivation is coming from a positive place within yourself- all thumbs up! If the motivation is to please others- think twice! And if the motivation is some sort of self-destructive negative pressure from within yourself- NO GO!
A lot of people say they wouldn't get a tattoo because it's so permanent, and what if they don't want it when they're 80? My response goes like this:
"A tattoo is about as permanent as your body, which by the way- isn't permanent! Everything changes, and certainly there is practically nothing I can think of that I'm sure I'd want to have on my body when I'm 80 or the years between now and then. BUT, that being said, these moments are important and deserve being remembered, if for no other reason than to remind myself that at some point in my life these things were important to me, even if they have lost some of their weight over the years. Just as all these experiences create who I am becoming as a person (which is also always changing) my body is a physical representation of that person, and all of those things are a part of me, they are a part of my body now too. So even if I change as a person, the moments that inspire body modification necessarily are a part of whatever changes I go through in the future."
NOW. Back to evolution.
If, as theory goes, I am adapting and evolving to my environment and responding to stimuli in every moment (responding by getting tattooed) I inevitably will change in the next moment as well. So if in this new moment, the new me has a new tattoo, I am continuing to alter my environment which is altering me (and back and forth and back and forth etc.) I only continue to engage in this interaction with my universe and it with me in a different way- expressing to the world around me what I've learned and gained from these interactions and illustrating my perpetual growth in a physical way.
So if the nature of everything is that it changes, and people are looking for something they will ALWAYS want on their body FOREVER, well then you'll never get a tattoo. BUT if you're living for the moment, and truly evolving, well then you'll be like me eventually, 80 years old, covered in tattoos- the COOL GRANDMA.