After many many months of contemplation, I finally decided on a tattoo design. I’ve spent a lot of time teetering back and forth, taking polls on artwork, and trying to mentally prepare my parents. Originally I had planned to get the tattoo for my 25th birthday (my parents were conveniently on vacation) but I was pretty set on getting something on my foot, and with trying to train for the half-marathon a foot tattoo just wasn’t feasible in June. So I spent the last few months tweaking ideas, and watching a lot of LA Ink.
I am completely baffled by some of the tattoos I see. I mean, to each his own… but seriously. I am fascinated by the thought process (or in some cases lack of thought process) that people have going into this. I mean, is it really necessary to get your ex-girlfriends face tattooed on your chest? (even if she did just die… you weren’t together at the time… do you really want any future lady friend you have to be looking at your ex-girlfriend every time you get naked?) Or what about the people who get their Pet’s names tattooed on them…. What happens when you out-live your pet, and in 20 years your kid is asking you who is Baxter, and why is his name written on your arm?
That being said, there are also a lot of really cool tattoos out there, and once I started seriously contemplating getting my own ink, I began to notice everyone’s tattoos. It really added a whole new element to people watching, and there are so many things to notice!
So last week I found myself sitting at the tattoo shop, talking with my artist, and picking out fonts. It seemed fitting to get something poetic, and though the words are not my own, what better words to get put on your permanently than words from your favorite poet? Oh Mary Oliver... The quote is the final two lines from the poem The Summer Day "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life." Couldn’t you just read her words all day? I get so lost in her word… or maybe I get found in them?
This quote was also the inspiration for one of the poems that was the cornerstone of my senior thesis, so I feel really comfortable having them permanently on my body. Not only is in an homage to MO, but it is a perfect reminder for me to be actively living my life rather than sitting around waiting for my life to happen to me.
And then there is the Om symbol… ( still awaiting for the parental reaction). There is so much to say about it, and then again no words to really get there. The three syllables (A U M) represent Body, Soul, and spirit, Or Physical, Mental, and Deep Sleep states. The all-pervading consciousness of the soul. For me it serves as a reminder to stay grounded, and also to honor my own truth, and it seems to go hand in hand with Mary Oliver’s words.
I’m really happy with how the font turned out. I wanted something that was easy to read at first glance… nothing too scripty. There are a lot of cool fonts out there, but I didn’t want people to have to do a double take, or struggle to read what it said. I’m also thrilled with the placement on my foot. Easy to hide if I want to, but also easy to show off.
Yes, it was a bit painful on the foot…. But overall I figured it would be painful no matter where it went, so I might as well get it where I wanted it. All the people in the tattoo shop were like “wow that is brave” But thankfully there was no passing out involved (thank you yoga breathing) I found it was also nice to be able to see what the artist was doing while the was tattooing. Not that I had any doubts, but it helped to be able to anticipate when the pain was coming, how long it would last, and to be able to see how much was left to do etc. It was nice to be able to count how many letters I had left. I was thrilled that we were able to get it in two lines... When I first went in she was really skeptical that it would fit, but she did a great job! The line breaks are even true to the poem, so it's perfect.
I found it pretty ironic that last year when I was hobbling around with a staph infection so many people asked me if I had just recently got a tattoo. The whole time I was thinking “if only this was a tattoo!” (for the record the lancing and draining and packing of the staph infection was way more painful than the tattoo). Last night as I was hobbling around with the bandage (hobbling more so from the half-marathon than the tattoo) everyone I ran into was like “Oh no, what happened?” So it was fun to be able to say “nothing, I just got a tattoo!” But I will admit the bright green bandages were very reminiscent of my summer with staph.
Now I’m just hoping for a few more weeks of flip-flop weather (come on Oregon!)