I have two tattoos. I got the first one on my shoulder, on Mother’s Day, when I was 40. It’s a dragonfly, my talisman, with my kids’ names in different languages: my daughter’s in Japanese and my son’s in Korean. I’d explain, but it’s personal. My second I got just over a month ago. It’s on my right wrist, the molecular structures for dopamine and serotonin. I’m bipolar. The tattoo is symbolic and helpful.
When I got my first tattoo, my Mother freaked out. She sent me an email basically saying that she never expected me to act like a Redneck tramp, the kind who lived in a trailer park and set the worst kind of example for her children. I didn’t speak to her for weeks and when I did, I called her out. She was immediately contrite. I don’t think she had changed her opinion, but she realized that she had jeopardized her relationship with me.
What she didn’t understand, even though I tried to explain, was that I had spent years thinking about that tattoo. And that it was heavily symbolic and important to me. I put my children’s names on my skin … forever. I didn’t go into that tattoo, either of my tattoos, spontaneously. They both are important to me. And I have my next tattoos planned: one each for my Grandfather, who is 102, and my Mother for when they pass.
Sweet girl is desperate for a tattoo. I have spent ages lecturing her about how serious a decision it is. No one should be spontaneous about a tattoo, especially one that is visible in everyday situations. Tattoos can still sway employment decisions, as ridiculous as I think that is. I hope she doesn’t consider a tattoo, at least a visible one, until she’s 30. I doubt I’ll get my wish. I’ve read that my generation will be the most tattooed generation ever. And I’m proud of that.
Big Dude really doesn’t like tattoos, but he’s good about letting me be me. He’s not crazy about my hair, either, the color of which changes with the wind. The style can be mohawk like and he doesn’t complain. I’m really lucky that way. And while part of me would adore being with a man who’s covered in tats, I recognize how fortunate I am to be with someone who is ink free and therefore can have a highly responsible job.
The bottom line for me is that tattoos are a personal decision. I’m for them. I gravitate to folks who have them. I lose respect for people who judge those like me who do have tattoos. I think they make me a better Mom, teaching my kids that they should express their individuality, but only after making sure they’re able to deal with the consequences.
I’d say that I can’t wait to get my next one, but that will mean that either my Grandfather or my Mother has left me. And while I’m prepared for those tats, I’m not prepared for what will bring them.
Things to check out: Blue Rose Tattoo This is where I got my first tattoo. If you’re in the Huntsville, AL area or surrounding, check them out. The Pulse Tattoos This is where I got my second tat. In the Athens, AL area? Check out these guys. Need to find a tattoo shop? Check out Tattoo Shop Finder.
Book Recommendation: Science Ink Looking for something like a dopamine or serotonin tattoo? Or “I Am Starstuff” written in DNA sequence? Check out this book. Good pics and descriptions with personal stories.
Music for this post: “Tattoo” by Hunter Hayes
Sandwich of the day: The Grilled Cheesus using this press. None of the Christians with tattooed Bible verses or Christ on the cross seem to recall Leviticus 19:28 which explicitly admonishes against tattoos. So might as well eat a grilled cheese with the face of Jesus imprinted.