Wednesday, March 18, 2009

To Tatt or Not to Tatt: A Journey of Self-Discovery

A mighty, weighty question.

Recently, I posed the question on Twitter whether I should get a tattoo, go on an exotic vacation, get a new car, etc. to celebrate the recent monumental changes in my life. Hands down, the concensus was to acquire a tattoo. Now an explanation of why this is something that requires much consideration on my part.

All of my life, I'd pretty much been taught that tattoos were body mutilation along with piercing. Now before anyone goes and gets upset, hello? That just happens to be the environment in which I was raised out on the windswept, rural, prairies of western Nebraska, a very ultra-conservative place. The only people who ever got tattoos where guys who were sailors, truck drivers or Hell's Angels. So, see where I got my thinking? And because I have been none of those . . . well , the thought just never crossed my mind.

So, when raising my boys, I taught them the same thing, horrified at the thought of my sweet little fair-skinned boys coming home with permanent black ink somewhere on their body looking like a biker. I about passed out when my eldest came home a year ago with his ears pierced. Again, only girls do that, not boys. Remember, I am from Nebraska.
But times change. And no, I am not having a mid-life crisis as my father seems to think any change signals.

All right, here's where it gets strange: I am seriously thinking of getting a tattoo. Me. The tattoo-averse chick from the prairie. Of late, it has not been a fleeting thought, it has actually been a thought that hounds my thinking! And yes, it is even titillating to think of doing it!

Now, for the extremely mind-boggling part? If this is something I were to pursue, I am actually thinking I want a snake! Yep, I fear snakes like I fear nothing else. I hate snakes. All I have to do is to look at a photo of one and that night I am haunted by vivid nightmares about them. Think of the Lonesome Dove scene where the horse is crossing the river . . . yeah, those are the stuff my dreams are made of when it comes to vipers.

About the snake and where I'd put it. I don't want a little one. I want a whipcord-thin-slim, long, black asp slithering gracefulling down my spine to the middle of my hips with the tail curling slightly onto my shoulder-blade. Classy, simple, elegant, mysterious. Of my own design. Or one like above (without the copyright info).

All of this confused me to say the least. So, I took it to my counselor. Yeah, I see one. So what? She's simply fabulous! Anyway, I shared my thoughts about it with her.

We discussed this at length. Our final take was this: I've am basically a free-spirt who has been living in a box of other people's making for far too long and the last few months have been letting myself be me, just me. In addition, I have a desire to express who I have come to know as "me" in a tangible and visible way. The choice of the snake may be a way to express my embracing of the things I have previously feared in my life. By putting it on my back instead of my arm, I display this but do not have to look at the snake all the time. It makes sense.

Still, the jury is out on whether I will acquire the ink and if I do, what form it will take. My friend "C" said she got one when she was 21 on her hip, it was Mickey Mouse. Now that she is older and has put on some weight, it now more resembles "Dumbo", the ears are larger :) I suppose one needs to be careful and think ahead when choosing the design :)

If you'd like to visualize what it would look like, check If you wish, feel free to express an opinion of whether I should consider it, what and where. Doesn't mean it will change my mind, but I'd like to hear your thoughts.

A great amount of thought will be given to this, more so than I'd anticipated. It might mean more to me at 45 than 21. And maybe I will continue to wait until my journey of self-discovery has logged a few more miles.

I'll let you know!


Anonymous said...

Sent you an @twitter about this, but the pic of a tattoo posted on this blog? Looks exactly like an ovary, complete with fallopian tubes, to me. Just FYI!

I'm all for tats (my hubby has 2). I want one now, but I'm only 25 and scared of what it'll look like later on. So if I do get one, it'll prob be post-kids and stuff. (I want a single 5-point star on the back of my hip.)

Garden Wise Guy said...

Stephanie: I commend you on your rational thought process. It's just what I would be doing. I have not tats, nor do I long for one, but that aside, my first impression is to go for it. It's not so much the tat itself (besides, you won't see it) but the act of deciding to do it, then following through that has the potential to change your self-image. You, and only you, can determine whether that new self-image is a good thing.

There's something about the site of your intended asp that leads to another observation. How much of this is about you and how much is about what you want others to think about you? Ask yourself if you'd still do this if no one on the planet ever knew you had the tat?

If you're partly motivated by what you imagine others will think of the art (I say "imagine" since the vast majority will say nothing, you can only imagine that it affects someone else's impression of you) does that have bearing on your decision.

It's after midnight and I just got in from dinner with a bunch of dynamic garden writers. I still have some work to do on line, so pardon me while I bug out. I hope my ramblings give you a little fuel for your thought process.

You're quite a complex lady - I'm enjoying getting to know you on line. Keep the connection open.