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.


Martie said...

Although it gives me more info on why, it doesn't give me much on what! I will just have to see it for myself when you get here...........love ya!

Coffeypot said...

I went through the Navy and went to the tattoo parlor many times with my shipmates and watched them get one, but I never did. My dad drove a gas truck for Sinclair and made gas deliveries to the Atlanta Federal Pen.

When he got there he would drive in the first gate, get out and go wait in a room with a trustee while other trustees drove the truck through two other gates and unloaded. While he waited, the trustee was putting a tattoo of the American Flag on his right forearm - with pencil lead and a needle. The tat was about half way thought when the trustee was killed by another cell mate. The tat was never finished and he told me over and over that he wished he had never started. And he said the no matter how cool I think a tat is now, as I aged it would be out of place.

For example, one of my mates got a little baldheaded red devil about 4 inches long on his upper arm. He is now a Pentecostal Minister in SC.

So I didn’t. I was thinking, one day, about a girl I saw get a butterfly on her boob. I thought that in 30 or 40 years it would look like a condor. Recon your spider will look like an octopus later on?

But I have though about getting one. Just can’t make up my mind as to what.

Andrea said...

I'm one of those rare people that have one and only one and I regret it deeply.

I keep it as a reminder to not to stupid things. :)

Good luck getting this one covered. Sounds like it was a long time coming and will be quite cathartic for you.