Tattoos. The word itself evokes a reaction but really, folks, it’s all a matter of perspective.
Hear me out now. Like most everything else on the planet, people land in one of three camps when it comes to tattoos. a) Love ’em. b) Hate ’em. c) Basically ambivalent. A simple categorization system that applies to more areas of life than you’d think.
Black olives? Love ’em. Novels? Love ’em. Heels or shoes that pinch? Hate ’em. Sports teams? Ambivalent.
I could go on and on and on, but you don’t have time for that and neither do I. So let’s roll back to today’s topic: tattoos.
I got one last year. It wasn’t my first. Technically I got my first tattoo a month before I turned thirty because…well, because I wanted one. I guess I could come up with a more abstract or meaningful reason for permanently inking my body but there it is. I wanted one, I was a grown a** adult, so I got a tattoo.
I don’t mean to sound flippant. I thought long and hard about the decision to make sure I was all in because, you know, tattoo. I picked something that reminds me of courage, strength, resilience, and new beginnings in my life. And it was good.
Last year was different, though. I decided I wanted a second tattoo, but this one would be visible when I’m wearing more than a bathing suit. It was my coming out party for the yes-I-actually-have-a-tattoo club, and the difference between ink at twenty-nine and forty-six is like night and day. I sat with this choice for weeks on end – looking at pictures, thinking about what each meant to me and where I am in my journey, searching for the truest voice. I ended up choosing a small tree with birds nearby, placing it between my shoulders below my neck, and it’s been a beautiful reminder to me every day.
Can I explain any of this to you if you’re in the Hate ‘Em or Ambivalent crowd? Not really. The urge to get a tattoo simply eludes lots of people (including BrightSide), and that’s cool. What works for me doesn’t have to work for you.
There was a moment a few months ago, though, when I just about fell out listening to tattoo talk. We were visiting BrightSide’s family in D.C. when I overheard Bear talking to Mo about my new ink. She was telling her aunt how I really liked trees. And birds. Boy, did I like the trees and birds. A lot. And Mo replied, “Well, I like ice cream but I’m not getting it tattooed on me!”
Best. Comment. Ever.