Tuesday, July 12, 2016

30 Days of Blogging, Day 11: Ink

Planning my next tattoo has been more excruciating than the actual ink-dipped needles piercing my skin. I've had a lot of ideas: an Oscar Wilde quote, a pug, a drawing of my favorite children's story--Ferdinand the Bull--but my next one will probably be this on my wrist:

I have a passion for not ending sentences.

I love to hear tattoo stories--what they mean to the individual, their history, the silly or sad story connected to them.

Tattoo #1
Did you know it's super hard to take a picture of the back of your own shoulder?

I did not wake up on the day I got my first tattoo with that plan in mind. I had recently turned 18 and I was going to go to Six Flags-Denver with  my recently graduated friends--they graduated, I did not. If my friends judged me for having to stay in high school for my second senior year I'll never know, but we were young, fun, and free--like a Better Than Ezra song. 

We packed in Jackie's car and headed north to Denver, but Megan declared we were taking a detour on the way to Six Flags--she was gonna get a tattoo. 

As we crowded around her in Bound by Design on Colfax I felt something stir in my prissy Christian insides. 

I'm gonna get a tattoo too.


Since I was a theatre nerd I decided to get the comedy-tragedy persona masks. As I flipped through the book of tattoos my prissy Christian insides churned since a lot of the mask pictures were devilish, terrifying clowns. The tattoo artist grew impatient with my indecisiveness and pointed at the mask necklace that was hanging around my neck and recommended I go to the Kinkos down the block and photocopy it. As Sabbeth and I walked down the street a strange man followed us and catcalled as he threw coins at us--a white suburban girl's first catcall--lucky me!

The tattoo hurt. Of course it hurt. I gripped Sabbeth's hand. It cost $90, most of my first paycheck from King Soopers.

I hid my tattoo for months, until the guilt pushed me into telling my mother. She was disappointed in me. I thought it was a dumb thing to be disappointed in. 

Tattoo #2
 Starting to wonder if I should get my back checked for suspicious moles...

I was 19 and I wanted a cross tattoo. To be honest I was a little tired of my mother telling me that good Christian girls don't get tattoos, my body is a temple, blah, blah, blah. This was basically me getting back at my mother to show her that good Christian girls can have good Christian tattoos.

My friend Nate from the record store I worked at decided to go together to Bound By Design in the morning before we went to Lilith Fair--probably the most 90's thing I've ever done. I'm pretty sure I even wore daisy hair-clips and denim overalls with red Keds. 

Nate got his first tattoo--a tribal sun--and I got my second, courtesy of Big Mike. We sat on the lawn at Fiddler's Green with our and enjoyed the sweet feminist sounds of The Indigo Girls, Sheryl Crow, and Sarah McLaughlin. 

This is the only tattoo I have that I really don't like; not because of the cross, but because it's ugly, and I really wasn't sincere when I got it. 

Never get a revenge tattoo.

Tattoo #3
You guys would tell me if you saw anything suspicious, right? Guys?

I got this one for my 22nd birthday. I was really into peace signs and daisies. I probably still am. 

This was the last tattoo I got at Bound By Design, also by Big Mike. I went by myself, after work, still in my suit. I felt pretty square sitting around the facially pierced artists in my trousers and pearls. 

Shortly after I got this tattoo I lost my virginity.

The two events are unrelated.

Tattoo #4
I'm definitely going to be better about wearing sunscreen...

My partner and I had been planning getting some kind of matching tattoo together. We agreed they should have something to do with music and included a rainbow--'cuz we're gay.

I searched and searched. I never knew there were so could be so many variances of a treble clef. We agreed on similar designs--mine would be more spiky and edgy and on my other shoulder, hers more a tribute to her love of classical music and on the small of her back.

We crowded into a small room with our friend Jen at Laughing Buddha on Capitol Hill in Seattle. While the significance of sharing something so permanent and personal with my partner didn't escape me, I also loved that I got to be there to experience another person close to me getting their first tattoo.

Seven years after we split up, I catch it out of the corner of my eye on occasion. It remains an untainted, fond memory. 

Tattoo #5
Finally! An area of my body that isn't riddled with freckles.

On a holiday weekend with my girlfriend (who was constantly telling me not to call her girlfriend), we got drunk and decided we wanted to get tattoos. 

I wanted something to signify my pride in an 'S' pattern. She liked my design and got an extra star to denote the colors of the chakras.

We went to Lucky Devil on Capitol Hill and got our matching tattoos.

Shortly after I broke up with her; not because we got matching tattoos, but because she was a mean alcoholic. She said horrible things to me about my body. She criticized me a lot, in general. 

Due to my lack of backbone I continued to see her on and off for the next year--I even worked at her business part-time--until she showed up at my apartment in the middle of the night completely wasted and demanded I have sex with her. I told her no, more than once. She got angry and punched my wall. I told her I never wanted to see her again. 

Shortly after in a text conversation she was surprised that I was so angry. When I told her she had a drinking problem her response was "You have a drinking problem!"

I don't have a drinking problem

This is what I thought about for a long time every time I would look at these stars. I kind of hated her for stealing the joy from a rainbow of stars. It takes a lot of work to instill new significance to something that was robbed of happy memories.

Enjoy this piglet palette cleanser. Don't think of the shitty person. Look at the piglet.

I'll write about the significance of the semi-colon tattoo when I get it. In the meantime, hit me in the comments and tell me your tattoo story.


Nicole Y said...

Two tattoos for me. The one of my side hurt like a bitch. Very cliche Asian tattoo cherry blossoms, tree branches and my last name written in Japanese. I love every bit of it. 2nd tattoo on my hip. By far my favorite. This tattoo represents the loss of my college roommate. Her and 3 other friends died in a car accident while driving up to Schweitzer... I was supposed to be in the car too. I wanted to get something to remember her by
Everyone else was getting the date of the event tattoed on them and all I could think to myself was, why. Why would you want to remember that day. I will always remember that day even if its not tattooed on my body January 11 2008. I wanted to remember the good times. Thus I was listening to my iPod one day and there it was the perfect phrase it express how I was feeling. I immediately burst into tears. Help me remember the way that it used to be. Yes yes yes this is a rascal flats song and before the judging starts. Please take a listen. While this may be considered a love song. The lyrics go onto to describe how all he wants is just one more night one more good memory. This is all I could ever want and all I want to remember about my friend. Sorry for the sappy post, but you have shared so much I wanted to share back! Keep on blogging and know that you always have 1 very loyal fan.

Kathryn said...

If it's the semicolon symbol that I know... Then I love it!!!