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  • Writer's picturealaurafilbin

5 August 2021: Why Mushrooms?

On Saturday, I went on an adventure with my best friend to Old Sacramento, just for the sake of doing something after a year of nothing. We wandered shops, went into a museum, and came out at the end of the day with spontaneous tattoos.

I love getting tattoos, adorning my body with art that holds special meaning to me, small pieces of the puzzle that make me up as a whole. In a way, it's my way of reclaiming my body from the world, deciding that, yes, all these parts of me are beautiful and I will show it off if I damn well please. I wear shorts to show off my fish on my thigh. I wear crop tops to show off my Leia rebel symbol on my hip. This latest tattoo is a group of mushrooms on the inside of my left arm, joining Frankenstein in my growing literary sleeve.

So the question I know I'll be receiving for the rest of my life (the part I hate most about tattoos is having to explain/justify them to the world forever) is "why mushrooms?" and the answer is Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

Y'all may or may not remember, but I read that book in a matter of hours when I first bought it because it was so immersive and such a great story.

Here's the blurb:

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region. Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemí’s dreams with visions of blood and doom. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

Throughout the story, mushrooms play a significant part (though I won't spoil how for those who haven't read it), so I decided to add them to my arm. I love them.

I would also like to quickly shout out Red at Old Sac Tattoo, because he fit us in as walk-ins and drew up custom designs for us in a matter of twenty or thirty minutes. His fine line work is excellent and the color saturation is beautiful.

I'm grateful to finally get a small slice of normalcy back—I spent 2020, my entire twenty-fifth year of life, hiding from the world. I didn't get a single tattoo in that time, and I'm thrilled to break that streak.

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