Nick Koun’s “The Secret Identity”

There are some things you just know. When I read the phrase ‘The Secret Identity of the Universe’ from Bianca’s poem, I knew that I wanted it on my skin. Over the years, I’ve come to believe that every individual has a secret identity–an amalgamation of hidden desires, clandestine resentments, and unyielding hope. Each tattoo I’ve chosen to procure [as in the case with most, I suspect] has been to mark a rite of passage.

The poem, coupled with the outreach component of the project, worked on me immediately. When I saw the phrase that now sits embedded in my skin until I take my last breath upon this earth, I knew immediately that it had a visceral meaning that I could never articulate myself. Lexington, like its people, has a secret identity. The words speak to the difficulty of leading an authentic life.

As a gay man born and raised in rural Kentucky, my tattoo reminds me of all the wasted years I spent trying to be something that I was not. It reminds me of the importance of NOT having a secret identity–of the virtue of ‘living out loud.’ It also reinforces my absolute conviction that each of us has all the makings of a hero, be it great or small.”

Nick Kouns

Nick Koun’s fourth tattoo is “The Secret Identity.”