I got my first tattoo my second year living away from home. I’d always wanted tattoos as a kid, loved the look of art permanently inscribed on people, and knew it was just a matter of when. My first tattoo was very carefully crafted. I designed a starfish in basic black ink, and photocopied the image several times over so I could look at it everywhere, in case I wanted to change my mind. I asked around to dear friends, and found a female tattoo artist I respected and admired, and who did justice putting my own art on my body. It was a thoughtful process and a decision that ripped open some floodgates that only the internet makes possible — a friend documented my fresh, new body art and posted it to Facebook.
A few days after getting my tattoo, I got a long, nasty call from my mother: “Why would you desecrate your body like that?!” She was furious. We got into a heated debate over the phone while I paced back and forth in front of my local coffee shop.
“You can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery!” My mother railed.