Okay, now it can be known. I’ve done it. I said I would and I did—I got a tattoo. Actually, I got it a week ago and kind of kept it under wraps. Why? Well, have you met my mom?
She is not going to be happy about this. Let’s just say she’s not a fan of permanently altering body parts. This is so not going to go over well. She’ll be here in a few hours and since I’m not allowed to cover the tattoo, which is on the top of my foot, with a sock or shoe for at least another week, well, it’s going to hit the fan. But at least now I can write about it on this blog and post tons of pictures on Facebook. This comes at an inopportune moment (not that there really ever would have been a good one) because last week something I wrote in my other blog, Two Chunky Girls, has my mother thinking I’m now a satan worshipper or something.
So what’s the point to all this? Well, last Friday was the official one-year anniversary of My Accidental Muse, as well as being my 41st birthday. One of the first posts I wrote was about how cool it was to be able to write about whatever I wanted without an editor red-lining it or a boss throwing a cup of coffee at me because he didn’t like it (true story, by the way). Yup, my blog made me footloose and fancy free. I could say whatever I wanted.
Except for stuff that would hurt people’s feelings. Or would get me fired from my day job. Or things that my mom was really better off not knowing.
So in the end, I became my own worst editor. It’s still an ongoing battle in my head.
Which brings me back to the tattoo. Why did I get it? Plain and simple—I wanted a beautiful piece of art that belonged to me, that I could take everywhere and look at whenever I needed to be inspired. When I stopped “editing” that desire, Christy, at Blue Flame Tattoo in Raleigh, gave that to me.
Tattoos are completely mainstream these days (not that Mom sees it that way) and I think it will be great in 40 years when me and my friends are comparing our ink in the nursing home. And even though just about everyone will call a tattoo cool, even if they don’t have one themselves, tattoos will always be linked to the exotic, the bad-ass, the outlaw. That’s the history of tattooing, from pagan ritual to military/prison initiation, to marking animals (and humans) for identification purposes. The difference now is the acceptance, and expectation, of the artistic element, which is what drew me to get one.
So let me get this out of the way: it wasn’t a mid-life crisis. It wasn’t a childish stand by a 41-year-old woman to show her mom she could do whatever she wanted with her life, it wasn’t a commemoration of some event or milestone, or a memorial to something that once was. I just wanted a beautiful piece of art created by a talented artist that I could be inspired by every day.
Why did I get what I got? I wanted something abstract, something graphic, mostly black with pops of color. I wanted it to represent movement, freedom and chaos, with swirls and dots and layers that folded on one another. I wanted it to appear organic, with elements of the foreign and exotic. To me, that represented not just my creative process, but the organized chaos that seems to fuel my life.
And that’s what Christy gave me. I love it.
In a few hours my mom will see it. There will be disappointment, there will be discussion, and I’ll probably feel bad about it for a bit. But it’s mine forever and I’m sure we’ll all get used to it.
That, or we’ll definitely have something to discuss at every holiday dinner from here through eternity.
****Update: My parents arrived and it took about 10 minutes when all of a sudden Mom said, “That’s not a real tattoo, is it?” And I said, “Yup.” And she said, “And you were brave enough to sit through that?” And that was it!
My dad made a face and said, “What were you thinking? Do you have any others?” And that was it, too.
So I guess we’re all just gonna forget about it and move on!