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Sunday, May 11, 2008

"...Someday They Will Have to Forget Me Forcibly."

I don't have any tattoos. Or "tuh-toos" as Amy Poehler would say. There have been rare occasions where I thought there was something important enough to permanently carve into my skin for the world (or just me and one other person) to see for the rest of my life. But nothing has ever been important enough. My younger brother--at last count--has 12 tats. Each one is someone's name that is important to him and is done in the same color ink in similar fonts. I think that's pretty beautiful, although I'm sure because he is a rapper in the south and has gold fronts, many people don't see it the same way. One day I'd love to have a discussion with you guys about what must be the difference between living as a black male and living as a black female in this country.

But not today...

Today I talk about tattoos because I've found something that I will get tattooed to my arm. I'm hoping to do it within the next month. I'm scared because I don't do *pain* very well, hate needles, the sight of blood has been known to make me faint, and did I mention I don't like needles? Yeah. But this is something important enough to make me go through a few minutes of excruciating pain. Sort of birth?

What I want to have emblazoned across my forehead or chest (but WONT! and instead will let fall gracefully to my arm) is what has been my favorite quote and mantra since I was 15 years old:

I have lived so much
that someday they will have to
forget me forcibly...
my heart was inexhaustible.
(by Pablo Neruda)

No matter what I do, I try to live by this...code, I guess is the word. I don't want to be famous. But I do want to touch lives. I do want to touch so many people's lives that you'd never be able to take count. There's a second quote I learned in high school in Ms. Chambliss' sociology class that always stuck with me as well. It's simply:

Live so that there is standing room only at your funeral.

Through this site and a few other things I've done over the past couple of years, I've been able to start on that journey. I spend most of my time on here talking about bare breasts (yum...) and the like, but behind the scenes, I get life-affirming messages from people every day. It's something I wish everyone could experience.

Someone wrote this comment to me today:

"Hi Arlan. You know, last week when you did the live feed, I was really needing cheering up and you did a fabulous job. You really do so much for so many of us, you have no idea. Again, a few nights ago, I was in need of someone to talk to. I tried several "lesbian" chats, including on myspace but there was no intelligent conversation any where. I was sinking and did all I could do, turn to drugs so I could just sleep. Now here I am again, still needing someone and you so graciously share your story. At the very least, I do not feel quite so alone in my darkness. At least someone has shined in a little bit of light. Thanks just is not adequate Arlan. You are a keeper! Blessings, Chandra"

I wanted to share that with you guys because it already filled me up and there was still some left. Does that make sense? I think I might start sharing more messages that I get...crediting them anonymously of course. But so that you can start to get an idea. It never feels like it's being said to me. When someone recognizes me while I'm out and is excited to meet me, it never feels like they could possibly be feeling that way for me. You know? So I wanna reflect that light back towards all of you who make it possible.

And now with that last sentence, I'm officially starting to feel like a poor man's version of Oprah or Tom I will stop!! haha...

And for those of you who just wanna see two chicks doin it, here ya go:



okay well i dont do pain either. im deathly afraid of needles and i was so scared, but when i finally got my tattoo it wasnt as ad as i thought. it feels like when ur hand falls asleep and tingles. if you want, ill hold your hand =]

Anonymous said...

great quote
Thanks for the clip

Euniique said...

I got my first tattoo in June of last year. Everyone kept telling me how much pain I would be in [everyone that didn't have tattoos that is] and it was pretty much painless for me especially since I got the tattoo on my right shoulder blade. Its in no way like giving birth lol. Certain areas are more sensitive than others. Mine bled a lot but that's mainly because it was tattooed over my bone. I'm s small chick so there wasn't any meat to cushion that needle. I think that you will be ok, but you do know that tattoos are addictive riiight? lol I'm going to recruit training for the Marine Corps on May 26th. When I come back home I'm getting a Marine related tattoo.

Rae Rae said...

I definitely want a tattoo in the near future! I'm probably going to get a tribal arm band thing... but I dunno yet. I'm not a huge fan of pain either. Good luck with your tat whenever you get it =D

Paige said...


This blog made me tear up a little. And because I couldn't send you this via Myspace, I'll just have to write to you here.
You said you wanted to touch countless people's lives. You're doing well on your goal, and you can add mine to your list. I consider you my Hero. To be quite honest, there aren't even a handful of people who I could call my heros, so it means a lot to me when I can actually find someone to give the title to.
Being an in-the-closet teenager has been difficult. But your blog always seems to cheer me up, and make things more bearable. When I feel as if I'm the only one, just one in the masses of society, it's always a comfort to go on your blogs and your myspace and see so many of us. It's like you've united many of the lesbians into one convienient little place. =]
I just don't even really know how to explain to you how I feel. It's just great, and I thank you so much for just being you. It's helped me to become a better me, and to accept me for who I really am.

Oh, and just to let you know.. Within maybe.. an hour of posting myself on the Daily Lesbian Experiment, I had five friend requests from five lovely lesbians. What's great about it is, I'm not just taking up space on their friend's lists, but I'm talking to them all. So thank you for this as well.

-Love, Paige.

arlan said...



...means a lot.

...means everything.


Anonymous said...

tattoos dont hurt that much they are more annoying then any thing i was so scarred to get my first one done but it didnt hurt. g/l lol make sure to post pics! you know we all wanna see:P

Anonymous said...

ok first of all, i LOVE pablo nerudo. his love poems are unbelievable. and second of all, id like to hear about the black male vs black female thing you wont get into. im neither of those things so it would be a nice insight for me.

Anonymous said...

Well i have 4 tats and i thought long and hard before getting any of them because it is there forever and as far as pain goes its a different kind of pain its one of those things that hurts so sweet and only one of mine actually hurt(on the lower back off to the side) the one on my upper arm i really didn't even feel! Talk to the artist alot it takes your mind off it and you'll learn a lot! Hope that makes you a little less nervous!

Minnie-sota said...

Hey, Arlan! That's a great quote. I got my first tattoo for my birthday in 2007 after spending, oh, 25 years or so thinking about it.

Now I want another one but can't find a design I like.

Good luck with yours.

ComeInside said...

When I was getting my first tattoo, my Artist gave me a little test drive.. he ran the gun over my skin with no ink first so I could test out the pain and see if I thought I could handle it. So I suggest that. Also he said this to me, "when you wait until you have something that means a lot to you, it lessens the pain, and makes it worth it." And I definitely think that quote is worth it. :)

Also, You just rock! I can't count the times, when after I read your blog for the day, it came up later in my conversations.
Thanks for always giving me something new to think about, and hot and stimulating to tickle my senses!

Peace and Love!

Anonymous said...

I really like this side of you Arlan..its deep! The poetry, the real issues. That post you got from that girl is so true...there is no real place to really chat with someone and talk about real issues. Everyone is to busy having a good time not that I blame them. But I really do feel that YOU bring out the realness of the community and I too look forward to reading your blogs and I loved watching the video stuff too. I respect you and look up to you. Pls never leave us. Thanks for all you do and thanks for helping others. I hope you have a good week and good luck with the tattoo..i'm like you i'm still waiting for that one thing I think I could live with for the rest of my life on my

Heather said...

Saturday was a year since my first tattoo. I went in, shaking like a leaf. Took a Xanax to calm me down, and I was still shaking like a leaf, felt like I was going to vomit, it was horrible. I hate needles, blood, the whole 9 yards, but I really wanted this tattoo, so I sucked it up. I've loved every second of having it. It's a Celtic knot butterfly. It symbolizes my heritage (I'm majorly Irish) and the butterfly stands for rebirth, and I got it when I came out to my family. I may not be able to see it as it is on the back of my neck, but knowing it's there is enough, and surprisingly it wasn't very painful at all. Since then I have a two-part tattoo on my wrists It's a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow with a shamrock and stalks of heather (my name). It's an original idea, and I love it! But just an fyi, wrist tattoos hurt like a bitch! Good luck with yours! You'll love it!

Anonymous said...

I have three tatoos. each one is a marker to something incredibly important in my life. the first is when my grandpa pasted away, the second is when my mom got breast cancer. the last, largest and most recent is when my girlfriend of 5 yrs left me for a man. for that i designed a wilting vine that runs up my back. when i finally got over her, i added a blooming tiger lily to the top of the vine on my shoulder blade. i think you should get your tatoo. its not as painful as you may think, and seeing it there on you everyday is incredibly inspiring and worth the nervuosness. you get my full support! rock on! :)

DarlingNikki_acs said...

Thank You once again for brightening my day! Every time I read your blod, It's an inspiration, but today's was beyond compare. You really touched my heart, and I hope the 10,000 people you meet along the way feel the same. You have a gift, and thanks for sharing it!

Kelley (vaneaquin) said...

Hey Arlan! I was like that, too, when I got my first tattoo :) I only have one and it's really big, but it has no color... and the guy who did it for me was really gentle and if I needed a break he'd let me have one. It really doesn't hurt as much as you think it does, and I got mine done on my upper left back. It took him 45 minutes to finish it, and I never had to take a break. Don't let people fool you and say bad shit about tattoos, it's not even really a needle when you look at it. Most good tattooists know what they're doing and are pretty light handed. Good luck getting your first tat!

Just remember, tip them well or your next tat WILL hurt ;)

xSTiTCHx said...

You know, tattoo's arent that bad! haha it really depends on where you put it and since its your arm it'll be a breeze ^.^

btw I really enjoyed reading this, as I do your other blogs. It makes me happy to see that there are more people out there striving to bring joy to other peoples lives, there aren't many people out there like that anymore.

sara said...

i got two tatoos
the first one (near belly button) i remember pain, i was complaining all the way through. the second one, on the back of my arm didn't hurt at all, i mean you can feel they are messing with you, just like when you get waxed, but us girls are used to that. good luck and keep up the good work

ps: wasn't feeling for that kinda vid. after the profound text

Kaeli said...

Quick & Dirty: You rock, the vid was hot, & tats do hurt, but the pain is always worth it and I guarantee you'll even go back for more. ;]

Elizabeth said...

I have 14 tattoos :) You can see them all on my myspace ( Some of them were painful/irritating, especially the large one that goes over my shoulder/blade onto my back, but the rest were pretty mellow and I was falling asleep... And they were oozy but very few of them bled. Everyone means something to me in some way or another, even if it just marks a place and time. I think they make me beautiful- they make me comfortable talking about and showing off my body where I wouldn't be willing or able to otherwise. It's personal, mortal art that you can share (or not). :)

kandy said...

i have 2 tatts and gettin a rainbow sun on my shoulder blade in a couple weeks. i have my ears,belly buttin,eyebrow and cartalige periced and getin a labret soon lol

Jessi said...

To help with the pain... might sound weird but it works. Take a credit card and scratch the area u want to get tattooed with the edge of it. This gets your nerve endings used to being irritated and will take away the pain. Your arm is used to being touched, bumped into, so your nerve endings there arent as will be just fine. Just don't drink or take any aspiran/pain killers before because it thins your blood. So u will have a greater chance of bleeding, and that leads to longer healing times. Get some fragrance free lotion..aveeno healing works wonderful. You want to avoid neosporin, chlorine, vasoline, and direct sunlight on your tattoo while it is healing. Dont pick the scabs and your good. I have 15 tattoos and have learned that lotion heals better and the color/ink doesnt fade out. Just remember fragerance free cuz the alcohol will burn..

Kristina said...

I'm getting my first tattoo in about three weeks. It's a birthday gift from my girlfriend, Amanda. I have to admit I'm a bit FREAKED!! Like you, I hate needles and hate pain.... so, believe me I feel your pain. =)