Somebody told me long ago that once you get one tattoo, you will want more tattoos. I didn’t believe them until I actually got a tattoo.
(Yes, this is a Fight Club tattoo, and yes, I know the first rule is we don’t talk about it. My sister took this about 15 minutes after it was finished. Why 15 minutes? I had spent the previous 14 minutes admiring it in the mirror.)
It was a couple of weeks before Christmas in 2011, a Saturday morning. I had planned to get my tattoo months earlier, but couldn’t get it, so I had plenty of time to think about it. (I’d been pondering it for eighteen months and had finalized the spacing/font/placement about eight months before I actually got it.) At first it tickled, then it burned, but it never really hurt. A couple hours later, I went and played a holiday concert under the hot lights in my old high school auditorium, sitting perfectly straight because a) you need to when you play the E-flat clarinet, otherwise you can’t get enough air through it, and b) I didn’t want any straps or other fabric to irritate my brand-new tattoo.
I’ve waited on getting another one, partially because I have no idea where I’d put it. I don’t want one that’s going to be hard for me to cover in a professional environment, but I’m also not getting one in a place where I’d have to strip down to my underwear or less to give the artist room to do their work. (Not to mention my fiancé is not shy about expressing his opinions of tattoos in certain areas and what it makes him think of people with those tattoos.) When I do get another one, it’ll probably be another quote. Maybe someday I’ll even be brave enough to get something with some color to it.
Lately I’ve definitely been feeling the “tattoo itch”. Pinterest has been contributing to this in a big way…even when I don’t intend to go look at pictures of tattoos, they’re on my home page and I can’t help but go look for more! Here I’m linking to pictures of five tattoos that I absolutely love. It’s definitely making me want another one ASAP.
- Music bird. Name a concert band instrument, and I’ve played it, attempted to play it, or written/arranged music for it. I was briefly a music major in college, until I realized I was making myself miserable, but when I quit music school, I didn’t quit music. At one point, I had rehearsals four nights a week for three different groups. I still enjoy picking apart classical music inside my head as I listen to it, but I haven’t played in about a year. I didn’t bring my clarinets or my saxophone with me when I moved to Georgia, and in some ways, I do regret that.
- “Do I dare disturb the universe?” Somehow I escaped having to read “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” until I was a senior in college and took a British Literature course with an actual British professor. We read Prufrock and “The Waste Land” and discussed them. Somehow that question has gotten stuck inside my head. It is the broken record playing every time I’m trying to make a Big Life Decision, and any time I’m second-guessing myself. (I think this would be a good one to put on my ribs.)
- Maple leaf and heart tattoo. I grew up in the woods of northern Michigan, just a few hours’ drive from three different entrance points to Canada. There’s a maple tree in the side yard of the house where I grew up. Until I was 16 and switched bedrooms with my sister, that tree was the first thing I saw when I got up in the morning. Maple trees and leaves will always make me think of home, and they might be my favorite tree. (Though magnolias are a close second now that I’ve actually seen a tree with flowers on it!)
- “mad to live”. On the Road might be my favorite book of all time. This is a tiny snippet of something I hugely agree with: “…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…” I want to be one of the mad ones.
- “Don’t panic.” (Maybe I’d even get a little towel tattooed underneath.) If you’ve never read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you ought to. Do yourself a favor and pick it up. All of Douglas Adams’ books are incredibly witty, but I can honestly say that the Guide gave me the best advice I’ve ever gotten from a piece of literature.