Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tattoo or Not Tattoo


I got a gig getting paid to write. This has been a dream of mine and I am so happy about it. When my first paycheck came I decided to save my writing money and use it towards something special. After brief consideration I decided that I would use the cash to get my tattoos removed.

Alas, my tattoos, boring old things from decades past….let me tell you about them. My first was a snake on my ankle that forms the first letter of the word “Love.” The “o” is a spade. I designed it myself. I got it, still in my teens, with Matt Zombie from legend Mike Perfetto in a basement in Brooklyn. It cost $5. Matt paid for it.

My second was a small cave painting style running panther on my forearm done by yet another New York City legend Michael McCabe. The graphic was carved into a knife that my father had given me. It turns out it is the logo of a german knife company, so yes, I have a logo on me.

My third was a small heart on my wrist with the “eternity” symbol above it, ala “love forever”, also by Mike McCabe. I felt sick to my stomach when I got home and looked under the bandage.

My fourth and 5th, by legend Dan Higgs, were a classic rose and then a classic “sailor’s grave” style storm at sea inside a heart. I designed the concept of the latter, leaving out the sinking ship that a traditional “sailor’s grave” tattoo would have and just having a raging storm in my heart.

My 6th, also by Dan, was a small pair of birds on my right hand. Probably my favorite.

My last tattoo was another traditional one, a black panther head over a banner that read “Mi Vida Loca”, by someone I realized I did not really like as he tattooed me. I forget his name. I got it with the intention that I was going to own and accept my whole crazy story, my life, with all of its magic and its tragedy.

That was partially true. I was certainly into the traditional work but I also got it because a girl I was jealous of had those words on her arm minus the panther. She had a baby with a rock star and was hanging around my boyfriend who was in the process of breaking up with me. As soon as I got home from the shop, I knew that getting the tattoo was a mistake and I knew it was the last one I would ever get. It wasn’t a mistake because it was a reaction to a girl. It was a mistake because on some level I had outgrown the sentiment, the needing to permanently mark myself to somehow “own” my story, during the very process of getting the tattoo.

The thing about my tattoos is that they are such a misrepresentation of who I am. They are a loud billboard for someone I once was light years ago (remember?), a part of me, and that is it. I have no desire to hide away my past, obviously, i write about it all the time, but i have no need to be stuck there either. So why keep them?

Yet, I must admit I am ambivalent about getting them removed. The process hurts and costs money, so I really need to be invested in removing them to go ahead and do it, yes? And I must not be all that invested because I have yet to take the plunge. Maybe I would move faster if money was not an issue and I did not have a list of things I would also like to spend my writing money on.

Additionally, I am not in any pain here, and pain is the motivator, right? I have lived with my tattoos for decades, they are part of me, I like them, I like how I look. My husband likes them. They do not compromise my life in any way. If I wind up not removing them I will still be a happy old lady. And If they were gone I would certainly miss them on occasion the way you might miss and old friend who went a separate way. But I am just not invested in them, not invested in keeping them. The bottom line is that tattoos can be attractive and so can green glitter eye shadow. I just do not necessarily feel like wearing green glitter eye shadow everyday.

In the end I wound up buying a pair of Marc Jacobs couture shoes with the writing money and my pal Dani suggested I write this story for my blog. More to be revealed…until next time,,,xh

this song kills me every time....ah life

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