I have a thing for tattoos of touching and meaningful phrases. They move me.
I have two tattoos (well, one and 1/3. My first one is really small. I was terrified.) and neither of them say anything. Not even really symbolically.
My first tattoo I got during my freshman year at college. I was very into Jesus and spent most of my time praying and swaying at the Baptist Student Union, so I got an icthus, which, according to the explanation I’ve given for over ten years, is the symbol of Christianity and would serve as a reminder that “God is with me,” no matter what.
These days it serves as more of a reminder that people change, but they are never too far from being who they once were. Cryptic.
The second tattoo is bigger, and Josh (I like to think lovingly) refers to it as my “tramp stamp.” It’s a silhouette of a sparrow in flight.
Whatever, it was a definite time of change in my life and I totally deserved to do something stupid. I’d gotten divorced, I’d lost a job I’d had for years, and Josh and I had decided to get married and start our life together. It was transition.
(By the way, we saw a commercial for those Transitions lenses the other day, and Max was all about it. “Mom! They’re glasses AND sunglasses. That’s amazing!” I couldn’t think of a way to tell him that they always look dingy and that he’d definitely look weird with color changing lenses on the playground. I remember a kid in 6th grade had those, and his always had this yellowish tinge that was off just enough to give him a nice air of truck driver/pedophilia.)
MY POINT IS that I have two tattoos and neither is of the thought provoking literary flavor. And that’s not because they are so meaningful in and of themselves.
It’s because I never thought of the fact that I could do anything so cool.
I have a book of awesome word tattoos, and I had it when I got my second tattoo. But it never occurred to me to do something that I loved so much. I never put those two things together – that I could get a tattoo and that there were awesome phrases just aching to be inked.
As a matter of fact, that I could have gotten one of those smart tattoos didn’t occur to me…until yesterday.
Yeah. Years of admiring pithy and wise inkings only to realize I could have had one all along.
Once I realized that, I had a few very odd hours of almost mourning. It was like I’d missed the coolest body ink lottery by just one number.
I’m over it now.
I think, though, that it probably says something about me that out of all the things in my life I could change or erase or redo, the one that bothers me most is my tattoo.
Or maybe that I’ve just now realized my oversight says more.