It’s been a long road these past two years, with many decisions, many emotions and as you may have guessed, more than a few laughs. This is my family we’re talking about, after all.
The last piece of the puzzle was completed recently, when I opted to get 3D tattoos for nipples. Yes, it’s such a thing, and yes, it’s really cool. My tattoo artist, Kyla Gutsche, is a world-renowned specialist in medical tattooing; there was no chance I was getting spider webs or smiley faces put there, though I supposed I could have asked.
The Royal Ontario Museum is holding a special exhibit this summer on the art of tattooing, and a few weeks back there was a special showing by Why We Ink, a group that celebrates the tattoos of cancer survivors and the people who love them.
Kyla was asked if she’d like to submit anything; I’d just completed my work with her, and I’d had a photo session done by my friend and colleague, Danny Bailey. In one of the best pictures, I’m wearing a wild mask (though nothing else); I’d wanted to represent any woman. It was an amazing example of Kyla’s — and Danny’s — work, as well as the surgical team of Dr. Nicole Hodgson and Dr. Ronen Avram at Juravinski Hospital.
Too amazing, it seems. In advertising the event on Facebook, Kyla’s business account was suspended for nudity. Why We Ink also saw the picture censored; the first one ever. Remember, these are fake boobs and tattooed nipples. I can walk through a mall and blush at Victoria’s Secret displays, but let’s not see the scary lady’s pretend parts.
It’s a pretty sad commentary on who we’ve become when we’re surrounded by hyper-sexualized imagery to sell everything from shoes to cars yet honest depictions of what thousands of women face every day are somehow wrong.
Facebook left my posting of the image alone, and dozens of my friends around the world reposted it to make a point. I put it up on my personal website’s blog, along with a couple of videos we shot about what has taken place over the past two years. Don’t worry, I left my top on for the videos.
As I’ve done through much of this, I don’t exactly tell my sons what I’m doing. Their girlfriends always know, but I just answer what they ask and we all agree that what Mom does with her boobs is her business, even if she’s sharing them with the world. There are days when I doubt they’re even paying attention.
Ari, 21, was at the liquor store the other day. A longtime employee, Jeffrey, knows us too well. When Ari came of age, I’d just send him to the store and say, “Find Jeffrey, he knows what I drink,” and he would and he did.
Ari called this “embarrassing.” I called it handy.
“So, Ari! Read about your hair,” Jeffrey yelled across the store. Ari tucked in a smile. He’s used to this. “It must be tough, your mom writing about everything!”
“Well, it will make it harder for me to be a spy,” replied Ari. “No 007 for me.”
“No secrets left about you,” Jeffrey said.
There are plenty of secrets left about Ari. My readers would die if they knew my real kids.
“But, to be honest,” laughed Ari, “there really are no secrets left about my mom, either.”
Jeffrey looked at him blankly.
Ari walked into the house an hour later.
“Jeffrey doesn’t read your blog.”