Courage is always the first step, or maybe it’s
conviction, or maybe your bones can be
shaking in uncertainty inside of you but you
do it anyway. Maybe it’s commitment. Maybe
it’s choice. Either way you will find yourself
in a cramped, dimly-lit shop filled with action
figurines and the smell of stale air-conditioning,
where you will say, This is what I want. On my
skin. Forever. 
You will need a can of Coke
to keep your sugar up, a hand to hold
to keep your spirits up; squeeze
your eyes shut when it hurts too much.
Watching will only make it worse, only make it
feel like a bad decision when it doesn’t have
to be. Think about happy things: puppies and
yogurt parfaits and those cool girls on Pinterest
with their inked wrists and long necks, their clean
white sheets always ready to catch their fragile
bodies. Think about the stares you’ll meet. Think
about the stories you’ll tell. Hum your favorite
song under your breath, an old song you know
by heart. Or hum a new one. Make up
the words, make them your words, as you go
along: Put that buzzing needle to vein. Teach my skin
all the shapes and shades of pain. 
When it’s all over
go home to your sheets that are neither clean
nor white. Rest your shaking bones. Take
comfort—some things are far from temporary.