tribal (11.56 am)

there is a tattoo on my left forearm.

it is a tribal mark.

it was not chosen from a set of options in a three ring binder or a gallery on a wall.

it was driven into my skin with a common sewing pin.  the soot scraped off blackened glass of a kerosene lantern and mixed with the moisture of crushed hibiscus flowers.  a twelve year old girl was the steady handed artist.   i submitted with nerves, watching a nine year old child near me receive her own via the edge of a razor blade.

it means i belong.  recognized as one of their own…as i have been since near birth.  not pointed to…this mark is for me.  to remind me of my heart home.

to remind me of a childhood tribe who:

  • held me on their hips.
  • caressed my hand whenever we spoke.
  • carried me across flooded rivers.
  • laughed to tears, delighted by anything i did differently.
  • brought offerings of food from their scant resources over and over to show me that i was valued, cared for.
  • walked five miles to say goodbye every time the airplane bumped across the grassy strip to disappear for months at a time.

they laid claim to me with a new name  and i claimed a piece of their culture to keep as close to me as possible…embedded in my skin to show what i hold in my heart.


i used to think that this was the only tribe i could ever name as mine, putting that word in a mind-crafted box of trinkets and treasures from my past.

the truth is god has given me a hundred tribes in this lifetime.  each for a purpose and a season.

i can only show some, but i claim them all

only one tattoo on my arm.  hundreds on my heart. 


13 thoughts on “tribal (11.56 am)

  1. Hi Kris! Love this! I hope to be able to find some time soon to go back and read some more of your writing! :) I have actually been considering putting some thoughts in written form soon too. So good to still be part of one of each other’s ‘tribe.’ Love ya!

    • becky, would love it if you wrote…please, please tell me if you do. and if i can help motivate you in any way. :) i’m liking wordpress. and our tribe rocks. :) xo

  2. Man, the way you write blows me away each time! You get to the essence of the emotion behind it and I’m right there with you! Love the story of your tattoo. :-)

  3. This makes me teary-eyed, Kris. Wish I had gotten a tribal mark back in the day too. I love your reminder though that each “tribe” we are in is so important, and that they are all written on our hearts.

    • love what you got from it jackie. thanks for taking the time to say so. it encourages me. xo and it’s not too late…kurt got his png tattoo in a less “tribal” setting. ;) if the urge strikes…go for it! :)

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