Hey, remember the character from that lame show Fantasy Island? Yeah, that’s not the tattoo I’m going to write about today. Psych! LOL I want to discuss the stuff you put on your skin permanently. And by discuss I really mean I write and you read and ponder and then put cool comments below. I’m a stinker, I know. But you are growing to love me, I can tell! =)
So, tattoos are a love them or hate them kind of thing for most people. I got my first tattoo for a 40th birthday present to myself. Wanting to make sure I did not make a mistake, I picked out a design and printed it out and taped it onto the bathroom mirror. This advice came from someone who regretted her decision. After looking at it for several months, I still liked it. Then I put a temporary tattoo on my wrist to see if it would look good there. It was a butterfly but it got the job done. Yup. I liked it. It help me decide I wanted it positioned so I could look at it right side up. It was for me after all. My darling friend Bonnie was getting her first tattoo also so it was a wonderful bonding experience for us gals.
JoAnne thought I was nuts. She is not a big fan of tattoos. (Which is funny because her gorgeous man has plenty of them – ironic?) She asked me why I was getting one. I am still not sure why. I just wanted something I had total control over, maybe. My life has been rife with emotional pain and I’ve processed them in many different ways including therapy. For some reason, doing this made me feel like I had absolute control of my body.
Here is a photo of my pretty lame tattoo on my left wrist that my friend’s hip daughter called a “white girl tattoo” and no I do not know what that means. Teenagers are brutal. As you can see it is pretty innocuous. I chose it because I am a percussionist and all the drum tattoos looked stupid. I used to use the treble cleft to sign my maiden name SONG because I thought it was cool when I was nothing-years old and was stupid. LOL I am not a big fan of heart shaped anything so it was a little surprising that I chose that design. Thirteen years later I do not regret it although I do think I could have chosen something more meaningful.
Everyone had different questions for me when I got that tattoo. Why in the world would you get something permanent like that on your body? Did it hurt? What if you change your mind? Why your wrist? My answers were: because I wanted to experience something I could totally control, no it did not hurt – on a pain scale of 1-10 maybe a 2 when they were darkening the circles, if I change my mind it sucks to be me, and my wrist because I’m a percussionist and the wrist is what drives the drum sticks (plus I wanted to see it).
Around my 50th birthday I wanted another one so my sister gifted me the cost of the tattoo and a dinner out in downtown Raleigh. She has a couple of tattoos herself so she was supportive. It was a really nice bonding ritual for us and I’m really appreciative of her acceptance. For this tattoo I wanted something more meaningful so I went online and looked at a lot of designs. I wanted to honor my Korean grandmother by using a dragonfly. I love those insects. Once, when I was little and bored with weeding in her garden, she caught a dragonfly and tied it to a thread and then tied the other end to a post so it could fly around and I could watch it. Ever the faithful Buddhist, of course, she let it go after about an hour. It wasn’t until after her death that I discovered in Buddhism a dragonfly symbolizes a sense of self. I cried hard that day knowing Grandmother was always helping me understand myself and helping me to get through life with an abusive Mother. She was an amazing woman. I also wanted to give a nod to my birth father who was a tank mechanic in the USMC and honor my father who raised me and taught me everything I knew about car care – oil changes, transmission fluid changes, spark plug replacement, tires, brakes, you name it — he taught me to be self sufficient. Gears made sense so I got this tattoo on my right wrist:
I absolutely love this tattoo. A fantastic artist at https://www.madethelstattoo.com did everything I asked. He had not used a single needle before so I was a little apprehensive but he did a fantastic job. This one hurt on a level 4 when he was outlining with a single needle. I love Mad Ethel’s studio because it looks like a cross between a saloon and and Asian parlour. I felt strangely at home. My artist has moved on but there are many reputable artists that work at the shop and I highly recommend them if you are ever in the Raleigh, NC area.
That tattoo has a lot of meaning for me and I have absolutely no regrets getting it. I’m ready for my next one and I’ve had the design on my bathroom mirror for a couple of years. I meant to get it last year but. . . COVID. Once I have my immunization and the cases level out in my area I will head in. I’m out of wrists so I’m going to get one on my right ankle. I adore cats so I found one that I feel I can live with for the rest of my life. I guess an advantage of getting tattoos after 40 is that you don’t have to look at them for as long? LOL Why a cat tattoo you might ask? They do represent mystery, quiet intelligence and grace which I have none of. I do love cats and I think their independence while still doling out affection describes an aspect of me perfectly. Here is the tattoo I am considering. It has clean lines and I like how the cat stretches:
Do you love or hate tattoos? Do you have one and what does it mean to you? If you hate tattoos, how come? Please comment below. I love reading the comments. If you do decide to get one make sure to print the image and tape it to the bathroom wall or on the wall across from the toilet so you are sure to see it every day for several months. It helped me.