A tattoo. I’ve been fighting getting one for a long time. The urge began to occur when I would visit the beach each year. Something about that feeling of freedom you get down at the shore gave me that lofty feeling that I might like to get a work of art permently inscribed on my body.
For years I talked about it. Years. I had a boyfriend in the mid 90’s who had a few tattoos. I never told him about my desire to get one I don’t think. He may have actually taken me to get one. I wasn’t ready for that!
Right about that time I had a love for Dolphins and for a few years I kept telling myself I would get a dolphin on my side. Or maybe dog paws. I talked myself out of it though. I never had set foot in a tattoo shop. It was just a dream. One year on the boardwalk in Wildwood NJ I got a henna tattoo at a boardwalk surf shop. But that wore off in a couple weeks. My husbands name across my left wrist slowly disappeared with each shower. There wasn’t a real commitment with henna.
A few years ago I was gathering up the courage to get a tattoo and I actually popped into a local shop in my town just to check it out. I can’t recall the conversation. I think I was taking the place in. I kind of liked it. But it scared me some too. I never went back to get a tattoo.
It wasn’t the pain I worried about. It was just a general anxiety and also the fear of buyers remorse. We weren’t talking about a mural here but to me I was scared I would regret the permanence of the thing. Or maybe I worried what others would think of me. A thing I’ve tried to break free from for much of my life.
In late 2013 when I got cAncer the feeling I wanted a tattoo really began nudging me more and more. I even designed a tattoo I thought I wanted and again went into another shop in our small town for a chat. This shop had been recommended by someone so i felt more comfortable going in. I had a nice chat with the owner but again I never went back.
Something kept holding me back. Until a couple weeks ago when my daughter who will be 17 in a few weeks asked me if she could get a belly piercing. I concurred as long as she paid for it. Then I thought -Hmm I’d be in a tattoo place (bc that’s where those types of piercings have to be done) so maybe it’s time for me to take the plunge.
I have to admit that I am glad I didn’t get the tattoo I designed when I was going through the cAncer journey. I wouldn’t have wanted it long term. It was too much a reminder and for me it turns out that’s not what I want to see on my body each day.
I really had to get past what others would think and I had to make sure the permanence was going to be ok. So when I was out one night at a nearby restaurant I noticed they gave away temporary tattoos of their mascot-a bulldog. So I applied that to my arm and lived with it. I quite liked it. It never made me feel like I wanted to remove it when I saw it. And I realized I didn’t care of anyone else saw it. So I began to figure out exactly what I wanted on my left arm.
I had some ideas and armed with Pinterest I began saving ideas In a folder. I really never committed to getting a tattoo by making an appt. though. The anticipation would be too much. Yesterday I contacted a tattoo parlor where a piercing artist that had been recommended to us was working. I asked about an appointment for my daughter and then quickly asked if they maybe had an opening for a quick tattoo. They didn’t. Oh well guess it wasn’t meant to be.
We drove our daughter to get her piercing. The piercer wasnt there and was running late. Bummer. I looked around at the odd paintings in the place. Heavy metal was blaring. It was pretty surreal. People were coming in and out of rooms. I asked guy at the desk if anyone had a cancellation and could squeeze me in for a really quick tattoo. He went to check. Why did I ask that? Did I ask that? Holy crap this might be happening! My heart began to race. I wanted to run. Another guy came out and asked who the walk-in was. I could have run out. I didn’t have to do this. But I heard myself say “I am”. Crap crap crap.!
So fifteen minutes later I was sitting in a chair getting a tattoo. My entire family was watching. Kevin came to hold my hand. I was so nervous. A little about the pain but mostly just anxious about the entire thing. The tattoo overload of the place, the antiseptic smell(a good thing), the blaring music it was so out of my realm.
But I did it! I chose a tattoo that meant something to me. And I had it placed upside down on my arm according to my tattoo artist Anthony. But it was for me so it was turned for me to see.
As far as pain. It wasn’t really painful at all. Scratching is how I would describe it. I was expecting much, much worse. Buyers remorse? None. I’m happy I’ve done it. I like it a lot.
My daughter wants us to get our birthday date. We share the 22nd as a date. Hmm maybe. Maybe a symbol for Joy too.
Like I told Anthony when I sat down to get my very first tattoo at age 51 “You only live once.”
And living is what intend to do.
Thanks for reading….
Ps- my tattoo means faith, hope, and love. Things that mean a lot to me.