Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Cliche--My New Tattoo

It happened! I got a new tattoo this week! It was actually my Mother's Day present...

This wasn't my first tattoo rodeo however.  When I was 21 I got a tattoo. I chose a very intricate design from a necklace I got in Ireland when I studied abroad for a semester. It was a Celtic symbol which meant everlasting life. I was a very spiritual and deep 21-year-old. When I got to the tattoo shop, they told me the design was so intricate that it would take a couple hours and a lot of money.  So instead, I flipped through the books on the counter picked a Chinese symbol that supposedly meant "To Enjoy One's Self" and slapped down my 40 bucks. I decided to have them tattoo the symbol on my back so no one could see it when I went on my very important job interviews after college graduation. I am sort of taking credit for possibly starting the "tramp stamp" trend.  Yes, I was maybe one of the very first tramps.  That sounds bad, I wasn't trampy, I was just stamped.  Oh you know what I mean, I got the tattoo on my lower back.  And then in the next five years thousands of drunk wannabe rebellious college girls got Chinese symbol tattoos on their lower backs.  I wasn't really a trend setter or a rebel, I was a cliche.

So here I am, an almost 41-year-old suburbanite minivan driving mom who wants a tattoo. I've actually wanted one for years. But according to what I see online, I'm sort of a cliche again. A middle-age woman gets a tattoo to show everyone she's not so old sort of thing I guess. Ugh. To fight the cliche and prove myself a true tattoo wanter/lover, I decided to get it somewhere totally visible. I'm not going to try and hide this one (and I always hated that I couldn't see my own tattoo).

I asked around for some tattoo referrals and found a pretty fancy shop in my town. There were no burly dudes smoking cigarettes at the front desk like the place I went to 20 years ago. No, this place was posh and smelled of incense and very cool looking pierced, tattooed people worked the front desk. They set up a 'design consultation' and explained that after I felt comfortable with the artwork I would set up my tattoo appointment.  It was all very grown up and mature.

After my consult with my artist, Steve, I set up my appointment for last Friday. Then my world sort of blew up and Peyton got his concussion and spent the night in the hospital and ahhhhh. So, over the weekend I called to reschedule my tattoo.  At first the woman at the front desk was annoyed that I had cancelled but then when I told her about my boy's injury, she cooled off.  Actually we talked for a while about how scary and vulnerable it is to be a mother and then set up my tattoo appointment for Tuesday night.

I was not that nervous about the pain because duh, a needle for 30 minutes is nothing compared to what we've all been through by the time we are almost 41. I mean four babies, minor surgeries, worrying about all the major shit in life. A needle making something pretty on my arm? No problem.

My new tattoo is a feather based on a drawing from my friend Liane.  
My buddy Liane took these pictures. And she and I talked about our kids while Steve tattooed my arm.  It was so different than 20 years ago, when I talked about going to the bar and taking final exams while being tattooed.

Of course I was putting up a picture on Instagram right after he was done. Ha!

I chose a feather originally because of an Emily Dickinson poem.  

After doing a little more research into what feathers can represent or symbolize, I like the feather idea even more.  Feathers can signify "unrestrained freedom" and flying away from or above problems and/or sadness.  In Native American culture, feathers can signify bravery and courage and honor.  

I dig all of that.  And I can summon up the meanings for different times in my life going forward.  Right now, I am feeling the need for hope pretty hard.  But I will forever LOVE the idea of having "unrestrained freedom." I mean right?

I think it looks good as I walk into a room...this is seriously how I walk into a lot of rooms.

I don't want to be a cliche. I want to be a bad ass who has a piece of art that tells a story on my body.  I want to be unafraid to express myself and be myself. That's why I got a tattoo. And if that is cliche, than fuck it I am proud to be one.


  1. You are a total badass and I LOVE IT. It's gorgeous and so very you.

  2. You are a total badass and I LOVE IT. It's gorgeous and so very you.

  3. It looks like you were born with it. xo

  4. You are one of the coolest chicks I know. I love it!

  5. It's absolutely fantastic and the story behind it is what makes me teary with joy for you.
    Also, when I look at it I see an instrument for writing. For telling your story. The old quills of the Victorian age.

    It makes your story visible and that is totally BADASS.


  6. I think you're brave and amazing and NOT cliche, but just wonderful YOU! It looks great, so glad you love it!!!

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