Tuesday, November 03, 2015

My Tattoo

It had been haunting me; bouncing about in the back of my head for years, but something I would never do.   I was afraid; both of the pain and disappointing other people, but it was something I wanted.   My friend Miguel said "maybe it is something you are not supposed to get," but I countered "because of my fear it is something I HAVE to get."   He was the only one in on my internal debate and didn't think I would go through with it.  Neither did I actually.

My first design idea was "7/30/13" which is the day I was diagnosed and my world changed.   I would place it on my upper right arm, inside flesh so it would be hidden by a sleeve and remain a tattoo just for me.   Some people I would propose hypothetical tattoo ideas to with that date would say it was a bad idea because it was a bad date.   Everyone assumed it was a negative thing and wondered why I wanted to commemorate that date given my life changed and not for the better from their perspective.  And while I think of that date as a second birthday, I decided not to get it just because I didn't want a lifetime of justifying the idea and trying to prove it was a good day in the long run.   So the tattoo was back on the backburner but the desire was still haunting me.

While in Captiva, I decided on a new placement for my mythical tattoo; my right wrist.  Still a place where it was just for me, but also a place where I could see it.   The coward in me also felt that if girls could get a tattoo there, so could I.   And I could hide it by my watch if need be.  All I needed now was a design.

My first design stuck with me and a date on my wrist was pretty much decided, but it still didn't sit right thanks to the advise of others.   I still didn't want a lifetime of justifying it to everyone, so I started thinking about what means something to me.  My faith is a guiding force and a defining aspect of how I see myself.   While not religious, I am spiritual and believe in many of the Jewish philosophies found in the texts.    And I have spent the last two years of my life fight for life.   2+2=4 and Jewish faith + life = a Chai.   Decision made, but courage still lacking.   Then I had another operation and ended up in Hell.

While sitting in my hospital room and feeling miserable, a show came on about only survivors of plane crashes and, since NOTHING was on, I watched it.  It was OK for the most part and not half as depressing as I feared it would be and it sealed the deal on my tattoo with something a survivor said.  She said "life had put scars on me and changed my body in way I never wanted, so I found the courage to do it in a way I did."    That was it: I was getting a tattoo, but when?

Months went by and the tattoo stayed on my brain.  I began watching those stupid tattooing shows on TV and reading about them.   My rule was "if a design stayed in my mind for 6 months that I wanted, then I could get it for a lifetime."   I went about 3 1/2 months before I found myself driving to the tattoo shop at lunch one Friday.    Without thinking, I walked in and inquired about getting a tattoo.   The artist on duty was busy, but they said they could call me when he was done if I left my number.  I had a way out and didn't take it.   I left my number and went back to work as lunch was over.   I could still not do it.

My cell phone rang around 1:30 and they were ready.  Again, without thinking I asked my co-workers if I could go run a quick errand and they didn't ask where to, so I went.   I paid before my tattoo was started, so my window of backing out ended quite quickly.   By 2:10 I was back at work with a bandage on my arm that nobody noticed.   Weird huh?

So that is the story of my tattoo done in a quick and probably incomplete fashion.   I might have more to say later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love you