for christmas this year i received an envelope with cash and a cartoon of myself with a sleeve of tattoos. something odd happened inside me when i opened it, a sort-of gleeful/fearful feeling, an “oh fun… uh-oh!” response. that’s because i love tattoos… but up to that moment i guess i only really loved the idea of tattoos. darn it, now that the opportunity stared me in the face i had to quickly think it through and moderate what emotion to expose to my husband who was anxiously awaiting my reaction. he knew it would be a loaded gift, but he was right to risk it… the excited side of me eventually won out.
so, feb 9 is the day! this unmarked skin of mine will bear an image of my choosing. although i have always reasoned with myself that there would never be a design i would want to bear for a lifetime, i decided right away that i could get something that represented my girls. no possible regrets there… right?
ok, ok portraits aren’t the way to go… but what should the image be? darn it! such a huge decision! when i start thinking too deeply about it, it scares the perfectionist in me to death! oooh, that perfectionist side of myself ruins everything! or not…
yes, there is a LOT of evidence out there of unfortunate tattoos (take a look at “ugliest tattoos” for a giggle), but there are also few that are quite beautiful and meaningful… i definitely prefer to be on that side of things.
but i have to ask myself… why? why am i considering doing this to myself? i am terrified that i will regret the final product, and given my critical side i will likely analyse the thing until it warps into something horrible. it’s true! i do that to myself! i’m a terrible candidate for a tattoo, right? BUT, i want to challenge it – i want to get a tattoo in spite of the perfectionist, as a part of my journey to overcome/accept those parts of myself. plus *some* tattoos are cool, darn it! 🙂
so! the tattoo i’ve decided on may be a tad overloaded with meaning… when i look at it, i want to be reminded of freedom, of releasing control, and of my two beautiful girls – the style of the image will represent my character as a maker and my connection to the creative community and to the creator. ya, that’s loaded…
i’m leaving a cliff hanger here… but will post pics of the process on feb 9, the fateful day. say a prayer for me ok? once the virgin skin is broken, i’m sure i’ll get all de-sensitized and decide on a portrait of my cat next!
do you have a tattoo? why did you get it? what would you get if you don’t have one already?
4 thoughts on “blank flank”
I have had the EXACT same arguments with myself when I try to think what tattoo design I would like to get…and where…and how big…and whether it should be colored or b&w…you get the picture. I’m inching my way toward the big leap, but not quite there yet. That said, my hubby has 3 tattoos, and I think each one marks part of the journey he has traveled during his life. While you’re totally right, some tattoos leave me wondering what in the world they were thinking, at the end of the day these are some of the most personal pieces of art we humans create, and there’s something inherently beautiful about that. I LOVE the tattoo you chose, and I especially love your description of its meaning (in “falling feathers”). Thanks for sharing!!
Cass, thank you so much for your comment! I found the process to be very empowering & meaningful with moments of “what the heck were you thinking Rena?!”. But you are so right – a tattoo is a form of self expression, a touch stone of our journey in this crazy life… I’m looking forward to when I’m old & saggy and stretch our my arm to peer at my feathers, aged like me, but a gateway to the memories they inspire. Good luck with your future art – I hope you write about when & if it appears!!
i totally get your reason for wanting one, my reasons were similar…I thought i never would because people think differently about you if they see you have one and i would keep people’s good opinions if i stayed tattoo free. then i realized it shouldn’t matter what people think about me and i shouldn’t decide how to look so they don’t judge me. It only matters what God thinks. All this wonderful philosophizing aside, i never got a tattoo, i think cuz i’m too scared of the pain, but i am not as opposed to them as i was. even thinking about it helped change my mindset a bit. i think your feathers are beautiful and keep in mind that people always think they know the right way (even i do it) and love to share this with you. (another reason i dread having kids and being around certain relatives.)
thank you sami! people do love to share their mind… two troublesome times i’ve had: (1) when i display my tattoos (2) when i was visibly pregnant & received multiple horror stories of birth and child-rearing (i mean really! they scared the pants off me!).