When I was 16 I wanted an earring. I wish I had gotten one, it would have been daring, a declarative statement of my budding independence from the reins of my parents and the conservative society in which we lived. Most importantly, it would have been temporary and by now would have closed and left no discernible mark of the misdeeds of youth, no commemoration of my stupidity.
As I write this for you, I am 40, and at any time in the last 20 plus years I could have gotten an earring or a tattoo. I didn’t and not because my parents didn’t want me to, or because society would look at me differently. There were plenty of friends who got the earrings, go the tattoos, tried drugs, and I noticed they weren’t any cooler the day after than they had been the day before. If they were idiots on Monday and got an earring on Tuesday then they were bound to still be idiots on Wednesday.
The guys whose athleticism I admired, the guys whose leadership influenced me, the guys whose club I wanted to join didn’t rely on jewelry or ornamentation to make their presence noticed or felt. It was their actions that spoke to me. It was their choices that impressed me. I knew that if I decided to let an earring or a tattoo do the talking for me than I was just posing. A poseur who was letting his clothes, his jewelry or his ink do the talking for him. I wanted my actions to say more than, ‘look at me, I got a tattoo…just like that guy, and that guy, and that guy.’
Your body is not as much a ‘what’ as it is a ‘who’ and it should be treated better than you would a possession or thing. In the case of animals, we regulate how they can be branded or marked as a sign of our civility. As of today, it is illegal to pierce the ears of your dog. We should be as civil toward ourselves. Designing, painting and accessorizing are what you do to your bike, your car, your computer, your website, even your business – all temporal things which could be replaced. This body is the only one you have, that makes it special and you should treat it as such.
Your body isn’t just a reflection of you, it is the vessel of your soul and therefore a representation of the God that breathed life into it. Take care to insure the integrity of your vessel.