Words by Eloise Armary

‘Feel the early morning sun on her skin, the soft, warm wind in her hair, 

and smell the sweet touch of grass and lavender in the air.’

These words are bits of a short story written by Alice Pierre. They were physically written on my body, although I’m not sure if they actually were because my body couldn’t hold the whole short story. I modelled for her exhibition ‘write me a novel’. After the photoshoot, I thought: it’s pretty, words on bodies. 

Words shape our life. We write them on paper, we release them in the air, we hold them inside us, but we rarely write them on paper. Words have always been important to me. I started reading before I have been taught and I never stopped ever since. I read everything on sight. Words in novels make me live the life of others, words in non-fiction help me better understand the world, I write words myself to better understand my own life. 

Words are so pretty. Little circles and lines help us communicate with each other. It made a lot of sense to me to keep words on my body, with me always. So I flicked through Alice’s short story to choose what words I wanted, and I found these. Actually, I wrote down a longer quote. It follows as such:

‘The same smell arising from the chopping board at this very moment, only mixed with that of garlic and fresh basil.’

In the story, this young woman feels anxious, so she cooks. The smells of the food reminded her of nice summer memories in the south of France. I related to this paragraph. Cooking relaxes me, my whole body is stimulated by the texture, the smells and the sounds in the kitchen. It is a meditation. Cooking reminds me of the Wednesdays with my mother, when I was up on a chair pushing the carrots into the electric grater and shaking the vinaigrette with my very small hands. Cooking means baking a chocolate cake that smells in the whole house and that I cannot wait to share with people I love. Cooking means family, love and belonging. I have been taught and I teach recipes – I keep on traditions and start my owns. 

It’s after I had the tattoo done that I realised the deeper meaning of having these words marked on my body. The sentence is perceiving the world through all my bodily senses. What makes who I am is not my thoughts – though this is how I define myself most of the time. All these thoughts though can bring me a lot of anxiety, I sometimes feel as though I am floating in the air, bodiless, navigating in thoughts. But how happy do I feel when I notice light when I feel the heat when I smell the fresh air. This is all life is about. I don’t need to be more because I am already a part of the world. 

So I got a tattoo, now words about the little things move with me each day on my back.

Categories: Arts The Burrow

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