Saturday, May 27, 2006

every cloud has a *white* lining

During this rough patch with my family, I’ve been trying to deconstruct my interest in body modification. I think that doing so will allow me to explain this interest to my family in a way that will convey 1) my recognition that many of the mods I have and will acquire are PERMANENT 2) that the motivation behind my modifications is unrelated to self-mutilation 3) that my interest lies not only in body modification itself but also in the psychology and sociology of such, and research in these fields has enlightened me personally and academically 4) that although something may seem foreign to them, it does not necessarily make it wrong 5) and finally, that this is MY body, and I am ultimately free to adorn it as desired. I think/hope that a conversation that addresses these points will help to resolve some of the main concerns my folks have with modification. Now to wait for exactly the right moment to bring up this sensitive subject….
As far as my job search goes, I’ve filled out countless applications, handed out neat and concise resumés, and talked to so many possible employers that I feel like I’m working again already! Luckily, I think I finally found a position serving at a well-known Italian restaurant chain, but I haven’t gotten a final word or hours just yet. Still, my summer financial status is looking a lot less bleak after this week’s search. Thanks to everyone who contacted me with advice on being visibly modified and trying to find a job – all of the tips really paid off! For those of my readers on the same frustrating hunt, I’d like to recommend three pieces of advice that I felt were especially beneficial:
1) Bring a typed resumé, even if the company requires you to fill out an additional application. Be sure to include your education, work history, and at least 3 references. If the employer sees that you’ve come prepared and are responsible, you may get an immediate interview or at least look pretty dern sharp.
2) When you’re out and about, even when not actively looking for employment, keep an eye out for modified employees or even managers. If mods are already a non-issue, then you should have no problem getting an interview.
3) Let your personality destroy any negative impressions of you that are based on your mods. If you’re friendlier and more personable than other applicants, you’re more likely to get a job –mods and all!

I’ll leave you with some photos I took at a recent local music show of a tattoo done by an amateur tattoo artist I know. The main reason I wanted to feature his work is that he employs an interesting technique when doing custom pieces. He makes the bright colors in these tats really stand out by outlining the entire design in white ink! I personally love it. If you’re interested in his work, get in touch with me for his contact info.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Inner happiness and Unavoidable discontent

In NYC today I had my first experience with a tattoo convention. And just two days ago I renewed my membership in the corsetry club (see photo at left). It goes without saying that my week has been spectacular. After I received my 8 14 gauge CBR piercings, I was checking them out in the full length mirror that's hung in my piercer's studio. He deciphered my expression upon examining them exactly in asking "Back to normal now?" Indeed :o)
The only problem is that my parents have recently gotten more serious than ever about their dislike for body modification. In a nutshell, if they see any new mods on my body, my college education will be put on hold for quite awhile. I'm 20 years old, absolutely in love with my school, and I have a new set of corset piercings that my parents don't know about. What to do?... I love my family incredibly, but they don't seem to see my body in the same way that I do. I think that I'm beautifying it with every mod, but they interpret my acquisitions as mutilations and desecrations. Even if so, I believe that I should have the right to change my body in any way I desire regardless of the opinions and attitudes of society or my family.
In addition to the frustration with my family, trying to find a job while possessing a facial piercing and stretched lobes is much harder than I had imagined. I thought I'd turn to Shannon Larratt for some advice as to what I should do to make my job search a little less frustrating. Unfortunately, after searching through a number of his past articles, I uncovered only this advice:

"If you are turned down for a job, or fired from a job for piercings or tattoos, the simplest way to remedy the situation is to use your voice. Fighting it in court is generally a losing battle, and will eat up your time and money. On the other hand, telling everyone you know what happened to you, and urging them to not support this business until they remedy the situation is free, ethical, very effective and most importantly sends a clear message.

I realize that I am about to ask you to accept some self imposed hardship, but unless it's utterly necessary, please do not tell them that you're willing to compromise and take out or hide your body modifications. When that happens, it lets them know that they can push us around, and that expressing who we are means less to us than $6.50 an hour.

Although I'd love to contribute to the fight against modder discrimination, I need a! I have almost no cash, and the bills never stop rolling in. My only option may be to remove my visible mods. On the bright side, even this compromise would allow me to retain my nape piercing, industrial piercing, tongue piercing, and even my corset. I sure will miss my vertical labret, though. And the act of removing one of my oldest and favorite mods before I actually want to will be incredibly distressing. Just the thought makes me feel helpless. I'm a good, loving, and intelligent person - am I wrong to think that this is all that matters?
I really don't mean to be ranting on and on here, but I don't know where else to voice my utter frustration. I don't think I'll ever give up on modification, and especially not because other people are telling me that it's not normal or acceptable. However, it makes me so sad to think that both people I love and people I have never met before look down upon me because of my appearance. It almost makes me sick. My friends and I have theorized that by the time we are in our 30s, visible mods will be quite common, and society will adapt accoridingly. If a woman with tattoo sleeves decides to go through medical school, is she really going to be denied a job in a field that is in desperate need of employees simply because of her mods? I certainly hope and think not.
I'm going to continue my search tomorrow for a job that allow employees to be modded, but if my quest fails, I may be forced into a summer of waiting tables in my partially unadorned form. Again, I apologize for the rant, but at least I know that posting it here assures that it well be read with understanding. Thanks for reading :o)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Japan invades!

I have always loved the casual luxury of LeSportsac purses and bags. The company has yet to disappoint me in the variety department, as every style bag they sell comes in a number of funky patterns. The newest prints to grace these nylon canvases come from Italian artist Simone Legno, founder of the Tokidoki brand (fun to say, and it means "sometimes" in Japanese) . Although unavailable online at this time, items from the Spring 2006 collection can be found at LeSportsac retailers worldwide (and on eBay, of course). Although I think that Legno's work is worth mentioning regardless, it pertains to body modification in that her purses from the Summer LeSportsac Tokidoki collection feature the elegantly tattooed Japanese women that are often depicted in her artwork. You can also find her art on t-shirts, iSkins, skateboard decks, and in various advertisements.
I have recently noticed a huge increase in the number of ads, especially in fashion magazines, that use body modification to help promote their products. I'm not the only one who sees this phenomenon occurring, and I'm probably not the only one stumped as to what it means for modification and the way it is perceived by Western society. Does it perhaps foreshadow that fine art tattoos will one day become nothing more than a fashion commonality, like earlobe piercing? Or on the less extreme level, does it mean that even plain-skinned audiences find body modification enticing? I can't be sure, but I applaud designers who incorporate tattoos and piercings into their work regardless simply because I love flaunting the modified bling they create.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Another modified mind!

So, it's finally that time of year again when we emerge from hibernation and gladly adapt to rising temperatures. Unfortunately, for most students, this is also the time of year that is filled with term papers, exams, and innumerable other obstacles that separate us from the golden prospect of *summer vacation.* Due to my hectic school and work schedules, the luxury of blogging as often as I'd like hasn't exactly been at my disposal. I do apologize to any regular readers for this lack of posts , and I'd actually like to take a second to thank you all for reading over these past few months. It's an amazing feeling to have people read something you have written passionately about.

Aside from my excuses, excuses, I do have something quite interesting for you all to check out. I've had a link to The Modified Round Table website for some time now, but only recently accessed and explored it. It is basically a discussion forum for thought-provoking body modification issues. Contributors to the forum are carefully chosen by the site's creator based on a sample response to the current topic. The site includes discussions dating from 2000 to the present, so it is quite up to date. I would go into a description about the kind of topics addressed, but let me instead simply say that if you are at all interested in the aspects of body modification that I often discuss in this blog, you will find yourself glued to the screen upon visiting The Modified Round Table. CHECK IT OUT. Period. The end. Do it.
P.S. I swear I did not steal my blog's name from the Round Table's parent site, I guess modified minds just think alike :o)