Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Under the Needle

When I turned 21, I got a tattoo. I'd wanted one for a long time, and by jingo, in the spirit of doing what I wanted to do and not what anyone else wanted me to do, I got one. It was a black widow, on the back of my shoulder. Back then, not many chicks had tattoos - so it was quite a statement. It was cool, and a great conversation starter. I loved it. All these years later, I still love it.

Any inked person will tell you that tattoos are addictive, and it's a rare person who gets just one. A few years later, I found myself back in the shop for another tattoo. It was a crescent-shaped swirl with a chikara in the center - a symbol for strength. It's also a symbol used by my favorite rock band and incorporated into many of their album covers and set designs. I loved it. All these years later, I still love it.

Not long after THAT, I got a third tattoo. It's something I scribbled on a piece of scrap paper, just messing around while my ex got a tattoo. He thought it was neat. I thought it was okay. He encouraged me to get it, but I was retiscent. Eventually he persuaded me - I climbed in the chair and had a whim-doodle etched into me.

Big mistake.

We divorced within a year after that - mainly because he cheated on me, but that was just the icing on the cake. I'm not going down that road today. But the point was, I was stuck with a tattoo I didn't even really like, and the one who supposedly did like it didn't like the rest of me enough to stay with just me. Nice little souvenir.

Once I got ahold of myself mentally and emotionally, I promptly designed a new tattoo with the goal of covering the mistake tattoo. I really dug it if I say so myself.

By the time I got around to doing anything about it, I'd met the Hub and we'd begun a new life together. He isn't real wild about tattoos and strongly disliked my mistake in particular. I showed him my new design, which he seemed to think was kind of nice - but he really wasn't keen on me getting any more ink under my skin at all.

Perhaps tattoo removal would be better?

I looked into that and promptly shat my pants at how much it cost. Needless to say, I decided to just live with the mistake and count it as a battle scar.

After so many years, I really don't see it anymore - it's just become a part of me, like an ugly birthmark. But occasionally someone will ask me about it, and then I become embarrassingly aware of how much I dislike it and all that is attached to it in my memories.

Through several moves and rearrangements of storage and such, I continued to hold on to my little coverup design sketch. Sort of like holding onto that pair of size 7 jeans, even though you know there's just. No. Way. But, maybe someday ... hell, a girl can dream ...

This summer we befriended some people out on the lake, one of which is a tattoo artist. He's very good. He even impresses the Hub, and that's saying something. I mentioned recently that I still wish I could get the mistake tattoo covered up, and to my absolute shock, Hub seemed receptive to it. WOOHOO!

So. This weekend we gathered with our friends for a football game and to let the kids play. I talked to Tatguy and showed him my mistake, and the sketch I had managed to hang on to all this time. He liked it. He seemed genuinely geeked to do it for me, as we discussed colors and ideas. In short, I'll be heading his way this Saturday to go under the needle.

I couldn't be more excited, and I don't think I've ever loved the Hub more. ;)

Now that the appointment is on the calendar, reality is sinking in. Though it's been a good 15 years or more since I've been under said needle, I still have a vivid recollection of the searing pain involved with this particular one.

Like someone touching a red hot match head to your skin.
Or being stabbed with an acid-dipped porcupine quill.
Or having a very focused colony of wasps play target practice on you.

It's gonna suck. Especially because it's a bit larger and way more involved than the original.

But, I am cool with that. It's all to fulfill my dream of obliterating the last outer remnant of my painful past with some lovely new skin art. All my own. All my decision.

Maybe since I've passed a melon-headed kid now, it won't seem so painful as it did back then.

I hope.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Care Packages

Much like the changing of the seasons, I seem to be around every three months or so anymore. Sorry ... I've gotten away from blogging. Anyone who's still actually checking in from time to time knows that. And thanks for still checking.

I always mean to get back to blogging. I miss it and I enjoyed it a lot when I was actively posting. So far I haven't been doing too well with it, but I still keep vowing.

Meanwhile, I recently adopted a soldier. I learned of a project going on that is matching willing senders with some deployed men and women in Afghanistan. These soldiers, for whatever reason, get very little to no deliveries at mail call time. Can you imagine being 18/20 years old, on the other side of the planet, fighting for your country, and while your buddies get letters and packages from home, no one - not a single soul - writes to you or seems to care?

Well I'm a rather patriotic gal, and soldiers always get me right there (knocking on chest). They're making the ultimate sacrifice of spending years out of their lives, and maybe their lives altogether, in order to protect our way of life and keep the world a safer place. So I signed up to "adopt" one. The wonderful lady organizing the project has made sure we all understand that these guys (and girls, but I'll just say guys in the slang way) work their arses off and at the end of the day are exhausted and may only have enough oomph in them to take a shower and fall into their cots. So as a sponsor, we may not hear back from them much and possibly never will at all. (Let's face it - your average guy is horrible about correspondence anyway, right?) But rest assured from the feedback she gets from those on the inside, the letters and care packages they receive after months of nothing are a huge morale booster at every mail call. The only thing requested of your commitment is that you send at least a note or card once a week, and every so often maybe a treat or two tucked in. Magazines, a deck of cards, a bag of microwave popcorn, whatever.

I figure it's the least I can do for one homesick freedom fighter.

I got my soldier's name and sent my first care package yesterday. Just a brief note thanking them for their service, and with a puzzle magazine, auto trader, and multi-pak of gum enclosed. Already I can't wait till it arrives and brightens their day - though I probably will never know exactly when that will be. I don't mind. I just want them to not feel so far away from our wonderful America, and to know there are those back home praying for them. I signed my note, "Your newly adoptive mom -- well, let's just say, older sister". ;)

I'm thinking of sending a bag of Halloween candy next week. That should make them very popular. :)

If anyone's interested in adopting a soldier, let me know and I'll shoot you the info for the gal running this particular project. Many thanks to my pal Coffeypot for putting me in touch with her.

I really will try to post more. Until next time ~~

Addition: For further snoopiness on this topic, please visit my new sideblog, My Soldier.