Saturday, February 25, 2006

On Tattoo's

Tattoo.. Do You?

How do you feel about tattoos? What is your opinion of those who have chosen to self-decorate their bodies this way?

I have five tattoos. That's five times that I've chosen to permanently mark my body. Each choice was at a different time in my life, each was for a different reason.

I got my first tat when I was 16 years old. Now some people may think that I wasn't mature enough at that age to make a decision like that, but at 16, I was already married, living on my own, and pregnant with my first child. I chose a butterfly as my first tattoo, I chose it as a symbol of my independance, as a new being emerging from her cocoon, (bravely) ready to explore a whole new world. I have no regrets for my choices at the time, nor for my reasoning.

I chose a hummingbird as my second 'permanent skin decor'. I was 18 at the time, a new widow, and pregnant with my second child. I was three months along when my husband was killed by a drunk driver. I needed that hummingbird, safely placed in a secret spot on my skin, to remind me that there was still beauty in this world, and that happiness, however fleeting it may be, could still be found. My hummingbird symbolized then, and still does now, HOPE.

By the time I received my third ink, I had become good friends with the owner of the tattoo parlor, and with his wife. It was a Christmas present from them to me, and of course, it had to be red and green, right? So I selected a little dragon to fly across my upper arm. He was my symbol for fantasy, imagination, and wonder. He reminds me to exercise all three regularly, because when you don't, they lose their strength. And you lose most of all.

I have a huge peacock on my back. He was chosen to remind me that beauty is not always apparent at first glance. Sometimes, you have to search for it. That tat is not finished, and never will be. The artist, my good friend, and a man I admired deeply, died before it could be completed. I've had offers from other artists, but have always and will always, say no. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's my tribute to a great man. No one can imitate or replace him.

Flames dance on my body also. They are my symbol of the power of passion that rages deep within me. Passion, like fire, can burn you if you allow it to gain control. It can also warm you to the depths of your soul.

My father, upon discovering my tattoo's for the first time, asked me "Don't you know your body is a temple to the Lord?" I replied without even thinking, "Yes, Daddy, but how many churches have you seen that DIDN'T have stained glass windows?" I don't remember him saying anything in response.

I've known my oldest son was artistically talented since he was old enough to pick up his first crayon and scribble on the wall. He's now an extremely talented tattoo artist. I'm so very proud of the work he does. I never planned on getting anymore tattoo's until he picked up the gun, and while we haven't been able to arrange it yet, my next ink will be done by him, and more importantly, proudly displayed by me!

No comments: