Wendy Bones has a tattoo across her chest that reads “May Death Never Stop You." Chest pieces often contain phrases that reflect a strongly held philosophy towards life, and this is no different for her. She got this tattoo after a huge loss in her life felt like a kind of death. She lost her first love, her best friend, and a lot of her identity. Through this struggle she took great comfort in the words “May Death Never Stop You," the title of an album by one of her favourite bands, My Chemical Romance. These words encouraged her to never stop fighting for life, resisting death and despair and rather than roll over and die, she metamorphosed.
Wendy is the co-owner of Meow, a boutique and second-hand clothing store in Uptown Waterloo. Through Meow, Wendy and her partner Melissa give new life to objects that were previously loved or unappreciated as the case may be. They often attend estate sales and pick through the possessions of those who are no longer with us, giving those artifacts new value by choosing, displaying and then re-homing them. It has always struck me as infinitely sad that one’s personal effects - a cocktail ring, a dollhouse, a typewriter - imbued with life through being loved (ala The Velveteen Rabbit), might end up mouldering away in a landfill once its owner leaves this world. When a new person reanimates an object, it keeps a piece of its previous owner in the living world.
It’s not only through physical objects that they extend lives, but also through collecting stories from those they buy from, sell to, or who just stop in to the store to chat. Vintage and second-hand clothes inspire memories, which in turn inspires the sharing of memories. Wendy is a visual artist and writer, and she incorporates the stories she collects into her work, and puts them back out into the world.
In her personal life, in her chosen career, in her artwork and her writing, Wendy sees an ending not as an impenetrable obstacle, but rather like “a dead end sign . . . you can’t go straight, but you can still go left or right, so keep fighting and don’t be defeated." And that’s the message behind her tattoo - continue to live in the face of loss, even if it feels as though part of you dies, you can fight and come back to life, and keep on fighting.
Books for Tats
Vintage Fashion and Couture: From Poiret to McQueen tells the story of vintage fashion from the 1910s to today through sumptuous photographs of key designs, and stories of the memorable women who have worn them.