Monday, January 15, 2018

Wherein I Finally Determine What My Tattoo Should Be

Not my Tattoo!
In conversation with a new friend yesterday, I admitted that I had spent the last twenty years planning my first tattoo. I’ve come up with several possibilities, but I always end up dwelling on whether each design is something I really want to define me for the rest of my life. As well, getting a tattoo feels like it would be the ultimate act of rebellion, and though my mom has been gone for twenty years now and, let’s be honest, it would be pretty easy to hide one from my dad (especially if I did not blog about it in a public place or, say, post photos of it on Facebook once it actually happened) it seems funny that I would feel that way about a tattoo, when I think of much of the rest of my life as a gradual act of rebelling against what I was taught I should do/be/become.

Here I am, approaching my 50s, many years-clear of any of the traditional institutions of my youth that would have considered a permanent marking of the body unacceptable (though happily, not the people) and a tattoo still feels . . . well . . . Taboo.

I honestly don’t know that I’ll ever commit, but in my head, I am someone with a tattoo. I am also someone who wears long, flowy, colorful skirts and big dangly earrings that catch and reflect the light and chime softly when I move. (And I move like a dancer, by the way, rather than a person who relies on roll-bar technology in her shoes to keep her upright.) In my head, I am a person who can tell you what phase the moon is in, I know the Sanskrit names for all the yoga poses, and when my life comes to a halt at random moments to leave myself post-it notes of inspiration, I do so in the most beautiful calligraphy.

The vanilla truth of me is that my standard apparel is blue jeans and a t-shirt, and I can go days and days without putting on earrings or bothering to look outside once it is dark out. For yoga, I do downward dog and variations of what comes before or after dog . . . and table and tree pose . . . shark, bent flipper shark, and lately I’ve added squirrel (not a typo – squirrel). I do spend an extraordinary amount of time with pen in hand (or keyboard at the finger tips), but most of what I scribble is illegible, or at least probably ought to have been left uncaptured.

But aside from the tattoo, and the definite lack of flowy in the apparel department, I find I am more or less living up to the person I envision in my mind’s eye these days, even if I have not managed to design that iconic tattoo that entirely encompasses who I am.

I am a writer; I have written; I continue to write. I am a foodie; I can both impress and please in the kitchen. I am a happy and fulfilled wife and mother; my kids are the best roommates I’ve ever had (next to their dad), as well as my favorite people to hang out with (also competing mainly with their dad). I am building a business from a model in my heart. It has to do with books and people who commit words to paper and, though I have no idea if I will ever achieve success according to anyone else’s standards, I know that I am both content with my life and also motivated in a way that I have always dreamed I would be.

Yesterday, my new friend shared her perspective on tattoos, that they are reminders of who she was at a point in time, not commitments to define the rest of her life. I really like that point of view. It suits me, and I am surprised I did not come up with it myself. I’ve spent 20 years looking for a symbol that encompasses everything I am, but should I ever get a tattoo, it will likely be something that only defines a snippet. It will serve as a reminder, not a sentence. And until I reach that moment in time when I raise my arm, my flowing apparel parting to reveal indelible calligraphy, likely in Sanskrit . . .

Hold on . . .  I have to go look up “becoming” in Sanskrit . . . or maybe I should look up squirrel. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh my dear friend, you continue to speak my language♡♡♡ I too have spent at least the last 20 yrs pondering my tattoo. I just tell people I have difficulty committing to one image. Of course, they tell me that if I get one, I will most likely get more lol. Thanks for helping me know that the lovely lotus I've admired for yrs might actually become my 1st body art.


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