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Conversation between Marilyn Rondon and Olivia Ramos.

 

Marilyn Rondon

Why Does Mommy Have Tattoos?

Book, 2016

 

 

RONDON:  ‪hii‬‬

 

RAMOS:  ‪Hi Marilyn - thank you for joining us‬‬

 

i am so happy to finally discuss your book

 

thanks for having me again‬‬

 

sweet me too!

 

making a book is a huge commitment‬‬

 

i remember - it must have been 2011-12 sitting at The Room and you telling me you wanted to do this

 

yeah, actually before then, I've been wanting to write children's books since I started illustrating over a decade ago.

 

The idea for this book was born back in the winter of 2012- the book has been finished for a year, publishing just takes a while.‬‬

 

‪it was a three year process‬‬

 

yup‬‬

 

‪the illustrations are amazing - and the content, comes from you and your tattoos‬‬

 

 

 

thank you. Yea I used some of mine as examples and others are tattoos you would see on a wall walking into a tattoo shop, I wanted to keep that traditional vibe‬‬

 

‪it is a contemporary subject - as in there are a lot of mom's today with tattoos‬‬

 

unlike perhaps a few decades back

 

‪i feel like the number increases daily too, but the book isn't just entirely about tattoos either, in a way it's about life, and acceptance.‬‬

 

‪tell me more about that - acceptance is a big key to happiness‬‬

 

do you mean acceptance from you, or of you?‬‬

 

‪self acceptance, and for children to understand and accept as well‬‬

 

i had stigmas about tattoos growing up because my parents were ignorant towards the culture

 

only gang members and hookers had tattoos

 

and sailors‬‬

 

it's most definitely not the case nowadays‬‬

 

yea, man everyone has them, school teachers, bank tellers (they just hide them well) fitness instructors, models, actors, doctors

 

and i know this because they always talk to me about my tattoo and then are like "man i want more" lol

 

 

 

you are totally covered‬‬

 

bout 60% actually‬‬

 

‪and growing?‬‬

 

yea, i haven't gotten anything new in a while but i wanna keep adding to my collection‬‬

 

what is it about?‬‬

 

you say it is a collection, you can have a collection at home

 

what is it about having on you at all times?

 

everything in life is disposable except your body‬‬

 

you only have that, as a guarantee while you're alive

 

it's a way of keeping people in my life, memories, a time-line of where i was and how old i was when i got each tattoo

 

‪there are two things i get out of that:‬‬

 

one - it is a nomadic gesture - as in - I can be anywhere and take my entire life with me

 

and similarly - two - I am all i ever need

 

‪i guess, everyone can interpret it differently, my friends are precious to me, i feel lucky to carry their art on me permanently‬‬

 

what happens when you are maxed out?‬‬

 

of space?‬‬

 

will you delay or slow down so that you reach 100% at the end of your life?‬‬

 

it's impossible to answer that question cause i could die at any point, anyone can. I get them at times when i feel like i need them the most‬‬

 

‪yes - no sense in predicting the end of anything‬‬

 

it's stressful‬‬

 

‪lol - i'll change the subject

 

 

 

 

no worries haha‬‬

 

when you wrote the book - were you thinking more of the mom's that would be reading it or the children that would be listening?‬‬

 

‪i was thinking about both. but i mainly wrote it for the children‬‬

 

‪it is very simple in a great way and more than anything it is very positive - which makes your your answer ring true‬‬

 

there is no drama or struggle

 

all about the magical purposes behind the tattoos

 

if you were writing for mothers would it be different?

 

‪i don't know, i would have probably written an entirely different book‬‬

 

I just thought about the questions in a different format - did you in a way write it to the memory of you as a child?‬‬

 

‪yea definitely i feel i would have had a different experience growing up had i read something like this.‬‬

 

when you got your first tattoo did you feel like you were betraying your family or culture?‬‬

 

‪i was hiding it from them, in a way yeah, and that's why i ran with it‬‬

 

i didn't wanna hear what my parents thought

 

i just wanted them to accept me

 

before my father passed, i don't think he even knew I had so many

 

he'd moved back to Venezuela, the last time i saw him i was 19

 

he passed in 2011- I already had quite a lot

 

but i never sent him pictures and would only speak to him over the phone

 

so he never saw me as heavily tattooed

 

‪i remember you telling me about your father getting a tattoo under his foot‬‬

 

and that's the tattoo you got on your throat - not sure if I am remembering correctly

 

he never got to see it?

 

No i got it after he passed‬‬

 

it was a memorial tattoo to him

 

not identical to his

 

‪it is probably one of the most impressive tattoos you have‬‬

 

that and then you tattooed your face - how did people react to it?

 

there was fuss over it‬‬

 

how come?‬‬

 

it's your face

 

i think because i'm a woman

 

 

 

explain that a bit more if you can‬‬

 

for example‬‬

 

when i got my first face tattoo

 

it was done by a woman, a very talented artist

 

she had been tattooing her boyfriend's face at the time

 

and felt comfortable tattooing mine when i asked

 

after she did it, she nearly lost her job over it

 

because i'm a woman

 

‪that doesn't make any sense to me‬‬

 

maybe cause i am a woman

 

it doesn't make sense at all‬‬

 

it's ridiculous

 

and partly - this is why the book is about mommy getting tattoos and not daddy or parents‬‬

 

i mean it's not because you are the writer and you happen to be a woman - it is because there is specific prejudice about women and tattoos

 

yeah absolutely‬‬

 

i wanted to give tattooed women a voice

 

that has been not ignored but maybe not thought about