Challenge – Day Seven

What tattoos you have and if they have meaning.

At first glance I might come across as a Basic Girl. For those of you who may need some lingo help, Urban Dictionary defines the Basic Girl as:

She is your run of the mill white girl that has no identity of her own. She has no redeeming unique qualities…think of her as being like a cracker-jack house in a middle class neighborhood. Whatever is popular, she is into it whether she likes it or not personally.

Not to say that I have no individuality, but if you’re the judge-a-book-by-its-cover type, I at a glance come across as a typical, conservative, middle-class, 40-something. (Sigh. Not my favorite F-word.) Part of my image is designed to impart professional credibility, so there’s no eccentric hair, no nose-ring, no off-beat outfits. My style has pretty much evolved to be conventional and comfortable.

That being said, I think body art is fabulous and I’m quick to admire it on other people. I also happen to find tattooed men very attractive. Show me a shirtless, inked feller and I’m likely to gawk until he’s convinced I’m a bit of a creeper.

I have wanted a tattoo since the mid-90’s but struggled with choosing a design. Despite my less than edgy look, I didn’t want the Basic Girl Tattoo; I was looking for something unique and personally meaningful. The reality was, this was something I was permanently etching into my skin. I wanted it to be timeless, perfect, but never could decide on what that was.

Who was going to ink me was never in question. I wasn’t about to let just anybody poke me repeatedly with a needle to make an enduring drawing. In my mind art and creation is intensely personal; being someone’s living canvass requires a level of intimacy that I’m not comfortable sharing with some random stranger. No matter how skilled they are.

Enter my friend Ryan. (Yeah, right. “Ryan.”) I’ve watched him put himself through hell and then crawl up out of that pit to become the person I always knew he could be. He’s amazingly talented and has spun that into a successful career. More so, I trust him. Implicitly. If you understood the the depth of the trust issues I have, you would recognize how big of a deal that sentence is.

I made a decision to commit to a tattoo on the 1 year anniversary of the Big Break-up. It was a milestone that I needed to memorialize through pain and beauty. I wanted it to be my testament to self, embodying both change and survival. I pitched the concept to Ryan – I envisioned a tree that transitioned through the seasons. (Change.) However, it wasn’t just to be a tree, but also a woman. (Self.) I wanted it full color and on my back, covering my heart… and that was all I had.

Ryan said, ok, no problem. And we didn’t talk about it again until the day I showed up for my appointment. I never saw a drawing, I never spoke to him about details. I just showed up sight unseen and trusted that it would be perfect. I wasn’t disappointed. The drawing was exquisite and the finished piece made me cry. It personified everything I felt and never said aloud.

Because I chose a brilliant artist who knew my story, that I had a connection with, I ended up with a tattoo that is both visually gorgeous and emotionally profound. Not only does the piece itself have deep meaning for me, but the process was an instrumental step on the journey of reshaping self. I made a choice to put my faith in someone during a time when I was absolutely terrified to trust.

The question is – one and done?


(And, no, you can’t see it… sorry.)

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