When pondering what to blog about today, I kept coming back to my fascination with the idea that people are not their surfaces. We've all heard the sayings about making a good first impression and the seemingly opposite ones about not judging a book by its cover - but humans will forever try to categorize someone by their first impression. My personal experience has been that there is confusion when that first snap judgement turns out not to be correct or complete.
But most people are not defined by their surface. Sometimes the rest of the person is not in line with what society would have them categorized as.
Tattoos are an interesting example of this. I have numerous tattoos but they're not usually that visible. I don't know how often I've met someone and they've been almost shocked to later find out that I have tattoos. Does that make me a different person? Not to me but maybe their world-view required a shift to accommodate the "new" image of me. Yet my tattoos are more outer signs of inner truths to me. There's a reason and a meaning to every one of them.
I think some of this carries over into my writing as well. Shapeshifters are a great example of them being more than what you see when you meet them. I do have characters with tattoos or body piercings but those make sense for their characters. I have characters who are changed or forced to realize they are not who THEY thought they are and must remake their own view of themselves.
I'm not sure I'm ever going to get over my fascination but I hope my readers enjoy the surprises when characters are not who or what they seem as well.