I love hearing the story behind a person's tattoo. It just never gets old...how they chose the artwork, the placement, what the ink itself means to them, what the experience was like as a whole. The story of my very first tattoo has two sides to it: a fun side, and the serious side. I'll tell you about both.
I've been fascinated by tattoos since I was much younger, and ever since I was 16 I knew that I wanted one. What I didn't know was what I wanted it to be, as I wanted to make sure it was something I would be happy to have on my skin forever. And although I know quite a few people who just up and got a tattoo (or several) because they felt like it that day, and most of them still like their ink, I knew myself and I wanted what I chose to be meaningful to me. There were many moments over a good few years where I came thisclose to getting some ink...but there was always a niggling doubt in my mind about the design I'd eyed. And then in 2006, I was doodling around, and I drew something that just felt right. I kept looking at it and holding it up to various body parts, trying to visualise it on me. I decided that the inside of my left wrist was the perfect placement for the design I'd drawn.
I was thinking about direction at the time; the direction I was headed in life, the direction I wanted to be going in, and how to steer myself along the right path. I was aiming to draw something a bit like the inside of an old compass rose, but in the end I found that I'd drawn something more along the lines of the Star of Bethlehem that you'd see in old images of the Nativity scene...sort of a fictional drawing of what I imagine the North Star looks like. At the time, I was with my now ex, and he was profoundly vocal about his displeasure with my contemplating a tattoo. Apparently he didn't abide by the 'my body, my decision' argument and we had several awful rows about it - even saying if I had something visible on my wrist, I'd be passed over for promotions at work (??!!). Then once he saw the design, he started making snarky comments about what he called my "Jesus cross" tattoo, trying to dissuade me through negativity and a blatant disdain for anything religious. He put a lot of doubts in my mind.
That summer my best friend in NYC, the awesome girly I had lived with when I first moved to the city, was getting married - and I was planning the bachelorette. ;) I had a ridiculous amount of fun in store with a planned girls' getaway to Atlantic City for casinos and clubbing and who knows what else. When KC said she'd found a tattoo artist in AC who she wanted to have do her next tattoo, I told her how badly I wanted to get this done and she jumped in with support and cheerleading. :) We figured out when we could fit it in during that weekend, she booked appointments with "Buffy" for us, and I kept doodling my design everywhere, making sure it was what I wanted.
The weekend itself was hilarious and fun - I have so many stories (and pictures!) from that trip that I could share in its own post...another day. ;) And I honestly couldn't say how close I came to not getting the tattoo - the knowledge of the passive aggressive response I'd get from going against my ex's wishes worried me if I'm honest. But I finally braved the needle - and everything else - and sat for my first tattoo...! I caved on the wrist placement at the last minute which was the only thing that I regretted about it. I wanted it there so I could look down always and see the reminder of my wish to remain on the right path, to keep steering towards my true North, to keep my eyes on the visual pointing to what was up ahead. But those arguments had gotten in my head and so I had Buffy tattoo the design on my back, between my shoulder blades. However I genuinely like it there now - it peeks out of keyhole backed tops perfectly!
It hurt because it was on my spine - but for only a minute because of the small size (it was my first tat, after all!). I was energized afterwards and kept wanting to see it, which is pretty hard to do when it's on your back - the girls had to keep holding mirrors up behind me while I looked in a bigger one, ha. I'm still so glad that I got it. And I feel even more meaning behind the design than I did when I drew it, because there are parallels in it as well about how I had been drifting from my faith for many years prior to getting the tattoo, and how deep down I knew that I was falling farther and farther from God, and I so wanted to get back to the spirituality that I used to have. Perhaps that's why the design came out the way it did - and why it was so important to me that I get it then.
Many years later when I got my 2nd tattoo, I realized that if I had placed that star on my wrist as I wanted to, I wouldn't have been able to get Bug's name inked across there which is exactly where I wanted that to be, so I'd see her name constantly - so everything truly happens for a reason! I still have other designs floating around in my head, and I know I'll get at least one other at some point. But that tiny star on my back is a great reminder to me of following my path and looking to the future.
And now, for one of my favorite linkups of the week - BLOGGER LOVE!! I love highlighting other people's writing who I truly enjoyed in the week. It feels good to shine a spotlight on someone who deserves it and potentially point readers towards new blog finds (and friends)!
Here are a few wonderful posts that caught my eye this week:
- A Letter to My Students > by Hannah at Just Bee Blog (guesting at Simplicity Relished). Hannah is a teacher and in this post she writes a moving letter explaining to her students why she does what she does, and how much she cares about each and every one of them - and why what they learn is so important to them in life. My mom only just retired from teaching and I know how much she cared about her job and trying to instill as much as she could in each of her students before passing them onto the next teacher.
- The Importance of the Father/Daughter Bond > by Anne at Love the Here and Now. Anne shares her view on how daughters learn from their relationships with their father, and from the relationship between their parents. I wholeheartedly agree with Anne; I have been blessed with a wonderful father, and I have been blessed in finding a partner in M who treats me with the same respect, support, and love with which my dad treats my mom. I already see a lovely bond between Bug and her daddy and I hope that she savors the memories of their own special times always.
- Thankful. > by Kendra at Kenji is Here. This post made me think for a long time. Kendra shares a quote she's heard ("What if we woke up tomorrow with only things we were thankful for today...") and how that is changing the way she thinks daily.
- Holiday Gift Guide for Men > by Caitlin at A Little Dash of Darling. I am loving all of these gift guides...and everyone knows men are the *worst* to shop for! There are some fantastic ideas on Caitlin's guide - if you have to buy for someone of the male persuasion I highly recommend checking it out.