The cliché Om tramp stamp
By Amelia Catone
I have an “om” tramp stamp. I got it in Montreal, where all good slightly dirty things go down on vacation.
If it makes you feel any better I was a chaperone for something when I got it. Would you trust me with your 19-year old? Yeah, me neither.
The last time I was in Montreal I was about 13 weeks pregnant and just barely coming off of the really hardcore “throwing up on the street like a junkie” phase. Didn’t help that there were blasts of raw sewage smell shooting up from all sorts of odd places on our rambles around the city. And I was there with my parents and sister. My dad told me about the time he had come to Montreal in college and he and his friend had gone to a strip club. When approached by a 6-foot tall African stripper they could only say “We have no money; we’re just here for a drink.” Must have sucked for you, dad. Could have had 30% more lap dance with your 1960s American dollars.
So yeah. Om. Right above my crack.
But I really meant it. I loved yoga at that time. Lurved it. Loaved it. Luffed it. I also loved dirty vodka martinis and Baltimore booty house. So?
I still love yoga. But we’ve broken up and gotten back together a few times. So if yoga was my boyfriend, I probably would have had his name lasered off my ass in 2006. But he’s not, so I didn’t.
I have more Sanskrit on my body. Plus two lotuses. Yeah… two. Because as you know… no shit, no lotus. And we all go through so much shit, right? Yeah. So much.
The other Sanskrit pieces were more recent and were legitimately committed to my body in an effort to heal.
I placed them at the points where I hold my stress, the areas on the front and back of my right shoulder that tighten up like fists in the face of outright nonsense. They are not aesthetic. One is “ma” and the other is “am.” I am pretty sure I know what both mean. Just in case, I consulted this guy. If you’re going to have a Sanskrit tattoo, you’ll definitely have to cut and paste from his blog. Just make sure it all faces the right way.
I have one lotus on my forearm, the design of which I lifted from a box of tissues from Target. How could I make this up? I straight up brought the damn box to the tattoo shop, the artist photocopied it, and I had myself a really lovely and original piece of body art.
The other lotus on my shoulder just happens to be the background for Elephant Journal’s web and magazine design. What? I didn’t even know what Elephant was at the time. I took it from a flyer of this Kadampa Buddhist sangha in Brooklyn that I was going to for a little while. And got that tattoo done at New York Hardcore by this badass chick I think was named Rebecca. I went back to have it retouched and they said she had left. Fled? Left. I don’t recall the exact formation of the syllables, but she wasn’t there.
We are going to be a generation of tatted up old folks.
You with your Tazmanian Devil on your calf; you with your dolphin on your shoulder; you with the Smurf playing soccer on your left butt cheek (hi Uncle Joe); you with what used to be Bugs Bunny on a surfboard on your shoulder but is now an indeterminate blob (what the eff were you thinking, Bradford?) and you with that really fly black-and-white portrait of your baby on your arm that has now sagged into something out of Pan’s Labyrinth. I own my “om” tramp stamp. It’s still intact, it reminds me of that trip to Montreal and my relative youth, and it rarely makes an appearance in public (though somehow it did make it onto the one of the fliers of the yoga studio where I teach, but not because I had anything to do with those photos of me in yoga mudra… thanks). I look at it with the eyes of a much older, sophisticated woman, like I’m watching a cute, jaunty teenager and say, “Oh, you.”
About Amelia Catone
Amelia Catone and yoga have been together for about a decade; around 2006 their Facebook status would have been “it’s complicated,” but they worked out their differences and have decided to settle down together in Boston. Like Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, they have the tattoos and scars to commemorate their love for one another. Amelia and yoga have created one child, who is now a wonderful two-year old named Selah Vera (whose name, Selah V., has also made it permanently onto her mother’s body).