A few years ago as I was going through the most ridiculous divorce ever I had this idea that to honor the occasion and to be rebellious and all those other things I felt I needed to do which is just another way of saying I needed to celebrate, as I was finally free of the waste of air and space that was once my ex-husband and nothing more than the donor of sperm to my children, I decided that a tattoo would be the perfect way to mark my new beginning. Sort of like jumping out of an airplane, if you will. I talked to one of my girlfriends who had actually gone through her own divorce around the same time, minus all the shit, and told her what I wanted to do and I if I remember correctly I think we pinky swore to seal the deal. The ironic thing about Kelly is that she and seem to have been traveling down very similar paths so for us to do this together was sort of a big deal. Fast forward to when my drama was over (actually, it has never been over but that's a completely different story) and the time came when she and her now husband, Wes, decided to go out and get the tattoo I, of course, chickened out being the needle phob that I am. The official word for that is trypanohpobia just in case you were wondering- although most medical professionals rarely use it so it is simply called needle phobia. Anyway I bailed on them and they went off and they both got tattoos that night. That was, ironically enough, Labor Day weekend four years ago. So, Saturday night the four of us went out to our favorite pizza place, Palio's. During the evening's many conversations someone brought up tattoos and since I hadn't done mine they decided we should drive by the place they went so that we could just go check it out.
(I think I've been to one tattoo parlor in my life when I was down in Deep Ellum some years ago when Eric and I were dating. The art is amazing and being an artist myself, I can appreciate what goes into it and since I cannot draw a straight line to save my life it amazes me to see the things that these artists do.)
We did "take a little trip" to go check out the tattoo parlor Ink, Inc. and lo and behold they were having an anniversary party marking their 4th year in business. We went in and checked out the art but they had no availability left that night so appointments were made for Kelly, Wes and I to go back Sunday evening and if I didn't want to follow through it was no big deal. Let me just say that the whole time I was in there checking out the art I completely was adamant that I was not about to do it (remember....I'm a needle phob) though I did think quite long and hard about what I would have done. Four years ago I had thought I wanted a cross on my hip but never really felt right about it being what I truly wanted. Saturday night I decided that if I was to actually put ink to skin I wanted something that would be meaningful to me. I wasn't about to get a heart or angel wings or even a butterfly. I simply wanted the birth dates of my two kiddos with me to take to my grave. I decided that I wasn't about the dashes or slashes between the numbers. I contemplated having the 0 before the number of their month but eventually decided against it. Plus it was just one more number on each line to have inked which ultimately meant more pain. I wasn't sure if I wanted the numbers going around my ankle or just stacked. What I knew though that those numbers were what I wanted and that was it. Something simple was all.
Sunday night we went back for our appointment and I was still not about to sit down in that chair. Wes went first, having a dragon fixed that he had placed about 20 years ago. It looks amazing but it is quite large. It seems the rule of thumb is you have to go about twice as large to cover something up to make it look good and hide what was there before. Kelly added to her cute little dragonfly by bringing in two adorable ladybugs and one more dragonfly The sweet bugs represent her family. Toward the end of the session the artist made a statement which made a lot of sense. He said that I wouldn't be there if I really didn't want to do it. My reasoning for being there, though, was that I really wanted to see it being done. And even though I hate needles coming anywhere within a 5 mile radius of me it really doesn't bother me to watch. I was more interested in the process as well as to see just how much pain those two would be in during the process. But once he was done with the other two he convinced me (actually it was peer pressure) to let him draw it out so I could see what it would look like but I still could choose not to go through with it. I agreed. (For those of you who don't know me well, I adore typography so the numbers for me are fitting. Also, think Angelina Jolie and the tattoos she got of the coordinates of the birth places of her children. See, I'm not so strange after all considering my kids were born in the exact same hospital but she isn't why I did what I did. In fact, she has absolutely nothing to do with why I chose birth dates.)
n. pl. ty·pog·ra·phies
a. The art and technique of printing with movable type.
b. The composition of printed material from movable type.
2. The arrangement and appearance of printed matter.
Once I saw the numbers I really liked them but was still quite apprehensive about the process and how much pain I would be in so he told me he would basically "demo" without ink so I could see just how it felt, that way I was not committed to something I didn't want to do. He was so cool about it even waiting for me to say "go". It hurt but it was tolerable so I gave him the green light to ink me up. When we were ready for the real thing he waited again for me to say "go". It took about a total of 5 minutes to have it done and while the "demo" was quite a bit less painful than the actual process it was not as bad as I had made it out to be in my mind. I walked out of there with a new attitude....and while I didn't believe when they all told me I would be planning my next one by the time I walked out, they were right. I've already been thinking about what I would do next if I do decide to get another. No worries....I'm not about to go Dennis Rodman on anyone.
Ultimately for someone who hates needles as much as I do I'm in awe of the fact I actually followed through with it. And I might have been 4 years late as per our pinky swear but everything happens when and how it should and four years later I'm not so sure I would have been happy with what I chose to permanently put on my body had I followed through then so I am really glad I waited.
Maybe I will form those numbers into an ankle bracelet of sorts. We'll have to see how much more pain I want to endure....and I'm sure it won't be $20 like the first one was. Time will tell.