Body Art + Donate Blood
For the longest time now I’ve been thinking of getting myself a tattoo or two. In fact I already have a couple of designs in mind, the first one a Hebrew phrase and the other one an image I drew myself years ago. Now had I not come across earlier while sorting out my stuff an old issue of National Geographic that had the modern-day Maori people as its main feature, my interest on body art wouldn’t have gotten rekindled.
I’ve always been a big fan of self-expression. I think anyone who can express themselves without the fear of what others have got to say are the coolest bunch who have ever walked the earth. And that is why I’m drawn to the arts. Experimental music, spoken poetry, graffiti art and freestyle dancing (which I want to learn because it is so not me) are just some of the forms of art that are born out of the desire to express the Self, and I only have the biggest admiration and respect for them.
Tattoo and piercings are the kinds of art that have always received a bad rap, even though their historical roots date back to the earliest of Neolithic societies. Maybe because tattoos and piercings have morphed as symbols of free spirit, independent thinking and “rebellion” as time grotesquely went by, and as we all know we live in a world where, despite of it being a home to varying individuals who claim to champion Love, Freedom and Respect, it is afraid and suspicious of its people going “out of the box”.
Ironically though most of the tattooed people I know do not have any intelligible reasons why they got themselves inked, or know if their tattoos have any significance behind them. Usually the reason that brought them to getting tattoos, although they won’t admit it, is they only want to be perceived as some sort of arcane individuals who have engaging personalities to speak of, when the truth is they’re only using tattoos to cover up for the gaping holes in their characters. Especially those girls who have flower/butterfly tattoos on their backs, lower spines and hips and would wear clothes that will conveniently show them off. What the? Yet when you try to make a conversation with them they can’t even string a couple of coherent sentences.
If there is one reason though why I’m still having second thoughts about getting tattoos, it’s the issue of blood donation. As it is widely known, if a person has a tattoo she is automatically not eligible to donate blood. (Yes, it is not enough that tattooed folks have to put up with the allegations of being heroin and sex addicts.)
To regularly donate blood is one of my missions in life, and I’ve been readying myself up to that, thanks to the strict guidelines for the eligibility (you have to be a non-smoker, non-drinker, have regular, sufficient sleep and weighs no less than 110 pounds.)
I’ve been trying to be healthy, and my weight’s somewhere around 110 pounds. But no tattoos? Blood banks such as the Red Cross should revise their rules when it comes to tattooed individuals who wish to donate blood. I understand that their being strict is a matter of safety issue, with diseases and viruses such as the HIV AIDS and Hepatitis being feared to get transmitted through the needles that are used in tattooing. But that is an age-old fear, and an out-and-out discrimination to the tattooed community. Almost all of the tattoo shops, especially these days, have certifications from their local health departments, and almost all of them make it a standard operating procedure to show their clients first the process of sterilization that the tools to be used in the inking undertake.
I hope I could find a way to be able to donate blood even if I am already tattooed. I hope it won’t be a big issue. I’ll go to the website of Red Cross after this regarding this matter, or better yet I’ll try to visit a Red Cross office one of these days.
I’m not going to get tattoos because I’m an attention whore who will prance around and shove my tattoos to other people’s faces. In fact I’m thinking of having my tattoos not in plain display, and will only be seen unless I’m stripped down to my birthday suit. The tattoo images I plan to gift my skin are very meaningful and personal to me (so is my mission to donate blood), and those future tattoos of mine will be no-nonsense emblems of my individuality as long as I live in this body. So if I am able to succeed at expressing myself through another venue (having tattoos) and be able to help (donate blood) at the same time, then another entry in my bucket’s list will be crossed out.