Books and Tattoos - Why We Love Reading
I don't have any tattoos. I've thought about it but have no real desire to get one. Mainly, I think, because I'd want my tattoos to be meaningful and represent myself in the present as well as the future. The problem with my personality is that I change so much and have such a vast menagerie of interests that it's hard knowing what wouldn't just embarrass my future self. Plus, I'm not overly fond of needles...so I stick to books.
Books? How are books anything like tattoos? I've heard many people describe tattooing as a way of using their body as way of documenting or telling the story of their life. Tattoos are an artful, physical representation of one's "self" - the person you used to be and the person you are now. They embody your personality and interests on your skin.
Books do the same thing in a similar way. They contain memories, ideas, underlined passages, annotations, and not only the stories themselves but a piece of our own story as well. We can glance at a book on the shelf and remember who we were when we read it and why it made a prominent impact on our life.
Book lovers hate parting with their books. To the non or seldom reader, they don't get it. They simply see an object that is disposable once it's been read. But to the bibliophile, their books are so much more than that; they contain an essence of themselves in the past they can experience time and time again. And at the most difficult moments in life, when we fall off the path and lose sight of who we are, books can be maps that help us find ourselves again.
Like tattoos, the books we have on our shelves are the physical representations of our personality. Ever wonder why they say you can tell a lot about a person by their library? Because you can. The first thing book people do when they go into someone's house is to look over the books they have on the shelf. It offers tremendous insight into that person's personality and interests.
My books are my friends. Yes, a strange way of describing it but true nonetheless. They contain people that I've talked with, gone on adventures with, and loved and lost with. They contain places I've gone to that I couldn't or wouldn't ever dream of visiting otherwise. I've experienced and lived multiple lifetimes between the covers of a book.
But my books also contain the essence of my younger self who I don't ever want to forget. My books are my tattoos. I'm proud to show them off and display their beauty. My life has always been splattered and soaked with ink.