Why I want to get a tattoo


Some few months ago, an avalanche of unusual emotion rose along my path, whooshed towards me, overtook me and of course, drowned me in the process. I did not know where it came from, but it was one extremely strong tide. By the title of this post, you would have guessed what this emotion was. Yes, I felt like getting a tattoo. And the reason for wanting a tattoo is not one you would have expected. I did not want it because I felt it was cool and made me look hippie. Truth is, I did not have a reason for wanting a tattoo. I just wanted it. Something was telling me I had to get a tattoo. I mulled over this thought for some time. Whilst I was mulling over it, another set of emotional tide hit me: I started feeling the need to braid my afro hair too. Arrrrgh!

Was I going through some midlife crisis? I asked myself. It was so unusual that, I, a full fleshed son of a full fleshed and typically religious African father would be considering things as outrageous as getting a tattoo and braiding my hair. I must have been going through some sort of midlife crisis.

And then it dawned on me that, I had not attained the official “midlife age” of forty. I was a long way from it. So, what was responsible for my unexplainable desires?

As I could not proffer an answer to the above mind-boggling question, I decided to kick those thoughts out of my head.

That was some months ago.

A few nights ago as I lay on my bed in the dark of my room with my eyes staring at the ceiling, my forgone thoughts came visiting like a repentant ex who had something new to say. The thought of getting a tattoo re-emerged. I thought of Chimamanda Adichie and her Team Natural Hair Movement. I thought of Wole Soyinka and his eternal Afro. And then, like Archimedes did in the 17th century, I screamed “Eureka” on my bed! I had found a reason to get a tattoo! I needed my own signature look as a writer!

Have you attended African literary events with popular authors and not-so-popular authors in attendance? Have you noticed how most of them wear African print attires like a cult? And then, there are those who keep dreads? And those who are identified by their piercings? Yup, writers have found a way to make themselves stand out in the crowd with signature looks. And I want to be a part of that. I want to have a signature look as an African writer. I want a tattoo. I can do without braiding my hair for now (my afro is gone). But I want a tattoo. I am so getting a tattoo.

But not so soon.

I will get a tattoo when I make my first million from writing.

Million dollar, that is.

I mean, I cannot be carrying a tattoo around with a bank account desperately begging for salvation. I need a bragging right of some sort. You know, if anyone wants to complain about my hippie lifestyle (getting a tattoo), I want to be able to tell them to talk to my bank account. *wears shade*

Until then, my fascination with getting a tattoo can remain a fascination.

What is your weirdest fascination? Ever wanted a signature look as a writer? What is it (and why haven’t you got it)?


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