I’ve been pondering for the past year or so getting another tattoo. I’ve even played around with a design. I’m pretty much sold on ‘yes, I am going to get one’ and I’m pretty much decided where it’s going to be.
But there’s always room to canvas opinion from my Internet Faithfuls.
Due to the location of the last tat, I can go for days at a time before I remember I’ve got one, till I see it in the bathroom mirror and go “ooh, there it is!” However, considering the amount of time I spend barefoot (which is considerable, including at the office) this one’s going to be a LOT more visible than the last.
Most people I see on a daily basis at work can’t wrap their heads round the idea of me with a tattoo – you could have knocked the Energizer Bunny down with a feather when he caught a glimpse last summer (his words). I’m not quite sure why this is, but I must portray a bit too much of the good-girl vibe on a day to day basis or something. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with a tattoo or that my colleagues are judgmental, but am I prepared for comments and questions that are bound to be more frequent with a visible design?
<tangent>True story: I’ve got a friend who was training to become a tattoo artist. He gave it up because he couldn’t face putting ‘tramp stamps’ on an endless stream of chav girls for the rest of his life.</tangent>
At the same time, I’ve not regretted for a moment that I got the last one as I adore it and the story behind it. I’d wanted to get one from the age of 14, after my godfather proposed the idea as a way to get me to accept some fairly major scarring as a part of me I could like and take control over. Somehow in the intervening six years a snake up the scar morphed into a dragon on the back, but the whole idea of using ink as a way of reclaiming ownership of a recalcitrant, and frankly fairly broken, body held true. I don’t think I’m alone in this justification for tattoos or piercing. I’ve no desire to turn myself into the painted lady, but I can fully understand the drive people have.
So my hesitation isn’t to do with “am I going to get bored with it in six months?”, it’s more to do with questions over whether the art I want fits with my own body image. I think it does. I want something lighter, more frivolous, and if I’m being honest here, prettier. Not girly-girl, heaven forfend, but definitely feminine. It’s no longer about trying to reclaim my body but, if I close one eye and kinda squint at the whole situation sideways, it’s about putting a stamp on who am I now and going “yes, this is me, and I like me”. The first tat is secret, intensely personal, and with sub-text I don’t think I am explaining very well. This one’s going to be public.
It’s not about aligning myself with certain sub-cultures, though those questions are of course going to be raised, and if I’m being truthful here if I didn’t move in the circles I move in, tattoos might be less acceptable to me. It’s not about branding myself a rebel. Nor, as my mother is convinced, is it a mark of a deep self-loathing and my incipient downfall (she does worry, bless her). Rather than all that it’s just ink on my skin. Something of my personality made visible and public, and an affirmation for me that this is where I want to be. Life has shat fairly heavily on my head in the past and this is just me sticking my tongue out and going “No, you’re not going to win”.
This is me. I’m a work in progress. I’m going to get things wrong, that’s pretty much guaranteed, but I’m going to have fun doing it, and by god I’m going to do it how I want to.
And get a kick-ass tattoo in the process 😉
p.s. 1 – you know those posts you start wanting to say one thing, but then end up talking about something completely different? Yeah, this was one of those. It started with a whole “shall I get a tat?” theme, and ended with a whole “I’m getting a tat, like it or lump it, but here’s my justification”. Ah well, it’s what wanted to get written I guess.
p.s. 2 – To be serious for a moment, if you are seriously getting a tattoo of your own think it through carefully. Don’t get one because you’re friends are, get one because YOU want one. Go to the parlour before hand, talk to the artist, make sure you feel comfortable with them. And talk to other people who’ve had work done there (recommendations are the best way to go). Most importantly, check the place is clean and safe. Some councils license tattoo parlours: make sure you go to a licensed one. Tattoo’s can be removed (eventually, after a lot of painful laser work) but hepatitis and aids will be your friends for the rest of your life.