Life is a story. It’s made up of a beginning, middle, and an end. At the same time, each part of it is made up of smaller stories, which in turn are made up of even smaller ones. Our society and culture, everything outside of the biological that makes us human, is made up of stories. Whether the stories are fact or fiction is really neither here nor there, what are important are the stories themselves.
We are stories. They are the material that makes up our past and our future; they are the building blocks of our souls, and our passions. Every experience in your life builds upon the previous ones, each small segment, a story in and of itself, stacking on top of the one before it to make one longer, fuller, more engrossing tale.
You can view this metaphor in any way that you want: each story a brick in the building of a house, each life-event words on a page in an endless set of encyclopedias, every moment of your life a drop of water in a river rushing out to sea, etc. My personal favorite is to imagine my life as a movie, each event a frame in a strip of film. Life is a Cinema.
As time goes by, the plot progresses, and our movies intertwine, frame by frame; we pass through, and in and out of each other’s films. The people around you and the events in your life aren't the only things that influence your story, the tales and stories that move you and inspire you leave their individual imprints throughout your own.
Think back to the stories that you grew up with, think back to the tales that first taught you the difference between right and wrong. Reflect on your beliefs (not necessarily religious, though that works too), the filters through which you view the world, and your thoughts in regards to life, the universe, and everything… Chances are, those beliefs have their roots somewhere in the stories that you've heard, read, or watched.
Stories and everything they entail are how I choose to see the world. Likewise, a film is a perfect way to give shape to these thoughts in my head… Now, I know that my mom reads this, and that she’s not going to be happy to hear this part, but this entire worldview is the basis for the next tattoo that I have been planning for myself for quite some time now.
My mom's current reaction...
I know people have different viewpoints in regards to tattoos. Some people can’t stand them and view the idea of putting something permanent on your body as a mistake. Others get one or two little ones, while still others cover themselves in them for one reason or another. Sometimes people will get them for the sake of the art, enjoying having stunning artwork on their body. Others use them as symbols for greater aspects of themselves. I think I fall in to that latter group.
As we go through life, people, places, events, and ideas will leave indelible marks on our personas. Whether you want to call it your heart, soul, or your mind, it changes, permanently, based upon the things that happen in your life. That’s what I get my tattoos for, to represent those changes to me as a human in a very real and physical way… This cinematic addition is no different.
I’m planning to get it on my right shoulder and upper arm, wrapping around however the artist sees fit (though it will preferably still be covered by a simple t-shirt). As the film winds and twists around my arm, there will be different pictures in individual frames. Each picture will represent one of the stories that has shaped or altered my worldview, the stories that have influenced my own.
You may have noticed that the title of this post has a “Part 1” at the end. That’s because this particular post is only about the concept of the film, I’m not going to touch on the individual stories here. Rather, I’ll write a series of posts, each one going in to depth about the story that has influenced that particular frame of my world view.
So keep watch! There will be more to come on this topic…