I love Her (my tattoo)



My grandmother was the first person I saw with tattoos, she had eight to be exact. I was fascinated by the marks on her right forearm. Two scorpions, a bird, her name and some other drawings. As a child, I often asked her about the markings and she'd say 'igba sisi mi ni mo ya won' (I got them as a young woman) but that answer was never satisfactory. I moved to England and I forgot about Alhaja's tattoos until I turned 19. I got the urge to get my own tattoo and I thought of her. I know now there was some defiance behind her tattoos, my father told me so. When she was getting ready to marry my grandfather, he objected to her tattoos and she was given the option to either get the offending marks drawn over (my grandfather, a devout Muslim, did not like images of animals drawn on what he perceived to be a holy temple) or forget getting married. My Alhaja chose the latter and according to my father, she told Alhaji that the markings were there when they met and he liked her, so, they'll stay. They parted ways, he went off to fight the Germans in Algeria as part of Her Majesty's army and my grandmother married another man.

They met up again in 1949, my grandmother was about board a bus at
Adeniji Adele when they walked into each other. My father told me my grandfather knew she was already married then, he told her then that he'd seen so much death and destruction that he was no longer sure about God. He asked her about her tattoos, she told him she still had them. He told her he saw scorpions in the desert and he thought they were signs from her, offering him protection.
My Alhaja left her first husband at the age of 22, he had become a serial womaniser, who left home for weeks on end. They got married, Grandma and Pa, a month later, Alhaja wore a western style wedding dress that showed off her tatoos.

In the tattoo shop, I thought of getting a scorpion and I decided against it, I chose to dedicate my new tatoo to my Alhaja and all the women who raised me. So here..... (it says 'but for the love of sistahs)

15 comments:

TheYarner said...

wow.. your grandmother was a real trail blazer then.. standing up for what she believed in. Thx for following my blog.

BSNC said...

wow that is soo nice... you make your alhaja proud

fareedasview said...

9ice...
Love the tattoo and the inspiration,wow!!!

LG said...

kai!' i luv ur granma's courage o :-)
ur's lovely too

blogoratti said...

Nice..don't have the courage to do tats though!
All in all to the love of sistahs!!

Buttercup said...

oh wow..this was a beautiful story....my grandma also has tattoos, i've never asked her about them tho and i also wanna get one.

'but for the love of sistahs'..i like!

Sting said...

Awesome. I love it! First time here and i'll most definitely be back.

Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

oh its PERFECT

Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

i forgot to mention.. omo u have one kind graceful neck like that oh... LOVES IT

Ms. SpicyTee said...

Alhaja rock ooo..LOL
My my mum has a very large tattoo on her tummy..
It was a birth tattoo. I love admiring tatto..but I cant go for one.. You go gurl.
First time here,i'll keep a tab on u

Chari said...

awwww...*SIGH* eeyaa..omo I dey like hear story like that mehn..

L-VII said...

@All, thank you for reading, took me a while to write.

@Overwhelmed Naija Babe, graceful neck ke? wetin be dat...lol

@Ms.SpicyTee, tatts are addictive, what is a birth tattoo? Is it cultural?

@Chari, thanks a bunch.

juiceegal said...

I love d fact dat ur grandma stood up nd left her 1st husband wen he ws womanisin,very untypical of women in dose days.Nd iv gt a tatto jst xctly where u hv urs onli mine is a cross.

RocNaija said...

Inspiring...

Dante said...

Beautiful.. first time...
Most def, will be back again!