I was walking down the street the other day, just minding my own tattooed business waiting to cross the street, when a strange woman turned to me and said, "Why'd you mark your skin up like that?"
MENTAL SIGH. When you're a heavily tattooed person, you get used to (and sometimes a little tired of) strangers constantly commenting on your body art, but at least it's not usually in a confrontational way.
"I just like them," I responded, also my go-to answer when people ask what my tattoos mean.
"Jesus gave you good skin," she responded. "He doesn't want you to mark it up like that."
"That's not really a very nice thing to say." I was sort of proud to stand up for myself a little.
"Jesus doesn't want you to mark up your skin."
"JESUS WANTS YOU TO BE NICE TO PEOPLE," I yelled back like a 4th grader.
The light finally changed and she followed me down the street for awhile yelling, "Do you know Jesus? DO YOU KNOW HIM?"
I'm the great-grandaughter of a Southern Baptist preacher from Oklahoma who grew up with the ideas that dancing leads to fornication, pogs are a form of gambling, Captain Planet is a forbidden show because only God can control the weather, and Halloween is best spent at church. Yes, bitch, I know the dude.
I'm even aware of the verse she's referring to, from Leviticus: "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD." In some of the newer translations, this is translated specifically as "tattoo marks," but I grew up reading the King James version.
(And I read it several times -- that book is full of enough rape and violence and pervy shit to fascinate any pre-teen. You can't even get through Genesis before Lot's banging his daughters.)
I also know from Satan. I grew up with that dude always breathing down my neck, trying to get me to masturbate or read books about the Salem witch trials. (True Story: Little Bible Belt Emily once simultaneously felt so fascinated by and guilty for reading a book about the Salem witch trials that she was finally forced to burn it in the back yard to keep from finishing it. It was a library book.)
I'll never forget the time our pastor, Brother Robin, whom I will perpetually picture in my mind's eye with veins popping out of his sweaty forehead as he preached, told a story about a young man who listened to SECULAR music known as "metal." This young man one day decided to lay down naked on his bed and invite Satan into his body and from that point on he was totally possessed! By Satan! This story scared me to death as a child since it definitely really happened.
Seriously, though as a survivor of Southern Baptist, Christ Warrior, Jesus Camp-style evangelism, I'm not really a believer in Satan OR Jesus these days. I do have my own form of individualized spirituality that both gives my life a sense of meaning and helps keep me sober. I believe in a higher power, even if that higher power is just "the universe" which is both bigger than me and a reminder that I am not in control of most of what happens in this world.
Also, if you haven't seen Jesus Camp and you want to understand what being raised as an evangelical Christian is like (or why Harry Potter should be put to death), give it a watch. Hell House is another good one.
But like cigarettes, Satan is just COOLER than the other guy. (Kidding, kidding, I don't smoke either.) Honestly, I have a little bit of ex-evangelical fascination with Satan-y stuff and while I wasn't wearing any of my Satan accessories the day the Jesus Lady took my tattoos to task, she sort of inspired me to buy some more.
I try not to wear them to school functions or childrens' birthday parties.
Daughters of Satan Enamel Pin Badge, $6, Disturbia Clothing
This was probably my first Satan purchase. It's the perfect enamel pin for making a leather jacket, already the emblem of cool, even cooler. This slogan also comes on a crop top.
Danny Brito Design Your Own Necklace, $18, Etsy
This product is not inherently Satan-specific. You can get any 5 letters strung together for $18; the sample in the shop is "Drake." But I immediately spotted a prime Satan opportunity -- I love how evil contrasts with the bright, child-like colors.
The Devil Made Me Do It, $39, Featherhearts
I don't actually own this shirt, but I have a couple of cute T-shirts from Featherhearts (Bad News Babes and Babe Squad). There are also a couple of "cult" and "witch"-related Ts if you prefer your occult T-shirts less Satan-specific.
Hell Bound Necklace, $90, Souvenir Jewelry
What's talk of Satan without bringing up his home? This is a little too expensive for me to take the plunge just yet, but Souvenir Jewelry's whole collection is awesome and just a tad evil, with rings reading "Doom" and "Metal" and Slayer and Black Sabbath-related necklaces. Whatever you do though, DO NOT INVITE SATAN TO ENTER YOUR BODY. THAT SHIT WILL FUCK YOU UP FOR PERMANENT.
Saved by Satan T-shirt, $35, Etsy
I have a different Saved by Satan T-shirt that I can't find for sale anywhere now, but I like how this one is all tattered and distressed, like you had to wrest it from the clutches of Satan himself! There's also one that says "Free the Witches."
Hail Satan Pennant Wall Banner, $13, Etsy
Um, is there any cuter combination that Pinterest-style craftiness and DEMONIC EVIL? I think not. I don't know if I would have the courage today to sleep right under that thing though.
Hatin for Satan Crop Top, $24.38, Disturbia Clothing
These crop tops run really small; sadly an extra-large exposed at least half of my tits, so I was forced to sell it to someone else. But if you are lesser endowed or slim, AND you love Satan/hate, this might just be the crop top for you. The same slogan also comes on a regular T-shirt and a mug. I also own a patch, which appears to be currently out of stock.
Hail Satan, Eat Pizza T-Shirt, $24, Blackcraft
I don't have this one, but Satan + Pizza = Gold. Also this is Ouija-board themed, which everybody knows is extra evil, which is why you call your mom to come pick you up from a sleepover as a 12-year-old when one comes out and also why you have so many friends and are universally loved by your classmates.
Related: This delicious, Satan-y art print from Society 6.
Eat Pizza, Hail Satan by Natt Skiftett, Society 6
The same artist has many other Satan-y and otherwise awesome designs including this one:
Flesh for Satan T-shirt, $35, These Americans
I don't own this one either, but I do like the vintage-y print and sexy redhead lady, as a newly minted redhead. They also have one that says Satan Is a Lady.
Witch Craft Clutch Bag, $61, Disturbia Clothing
I'm sorry to disrupt the integrity of my Satan-related journalism here, but how cute is this Witch Craft clutch? And everybody knows Satan and witches are totes BFFs anyway.
Ahhhh, should I do a follow-up of just witch stuff? I LOVE witches. Who else went through a Wicccan phase where they "cast circles" in their suburban front yard and wrote angry letters about the sitcom "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" and its misrepresentation of true witchcraft?
Do you like Satan stuff or does it scare you?
Does Jesus want me to mark up my skin? I feel like has more important shit to worry about. But one time I had a one-night stand with a Jewish dude who went, "You could never be buried in a Jewish cemetery" in the middle of a thrust. Swear to Satan.