Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Story of My Tattoo

I grew up with the belief that tattoos were for sailors and dope heads. So it wasn't until the tattoo became popularized by the general public and girls on Spring Break in Florida that I actually considered getting one myself. Then my son's former girlfriend, and the Swiss exchange student who was living with her decided they were getting tattooed, and they invited me to go.

My love for angels and birds had made me an instant fan of the wings on the FedEx box in the movie Castaway. So when I didn't see anything I liked in the tattoo shop, I attempted a drawing of my own, which was supposed to look like this:

...but came out, according to the tattoo artist, looking like a heart in a basketball hoop. Obviously he didn't share my artistic vision.

What I ended up with was what I like to describe to people as "wings that have been ripped off of a dead bird." Now, don't get me wrong. The color is beautiful. The feathers are detailed and gorgeous. But the raw bones at the top sometimes make me feel like a biker chick...which I am not. When I wear white, I feel as if people are wondering what kind of hideous birthmark I was born with.

So do I regret it? Yes and no. I'm grateful for the experience of having been through the entire process. The romantic in me believes that the intent behind my tattoo (the FedEx wings) later manifested itself into my job with FedEx. But do I want to be reminded of this permanent marking later in life, when my skin is sagging and wrinkled and someone has to change my diapers? Absolutely not.

I realize that a tattoo is a very personal thing. I think it may be an attempt to leave a trail of who we are and what we've experienced. But the truth is, that makes about as much sense as a scout trying to erect a trail marker on his horse.

The true legacy is to leave our marks outside of our own skin.


fragilewisdom said...

Good Post. I have always thought that I would get a tattoo. Then I got the job I have now where I see tattoos on sagging skin regularly. Not a pretty sight. I probably won't get one now although the romantic in me still wants one.

Linda S. Socha said...

On the other hand Maurita...think of the speculation you will inspire in your old age!( A long time away by the way)

Urban Cynic said...

I have a tattoo that I got when I was 18; it's a cartoon character & I wish I didn't have it any more to be honest - I keep meaning to get another tattoo over the top (a scarab as its appropriate for me & it'd fit!) they just cost a fortune now!

Urban Cynic said...

OK - your 2 topics to choose from today:
1) What's the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
2)What place have you visited (abroad or USA)that you would consider living in?

MauritaMason said...

fw, it seems that people without a tattoo are soon going to be in the minority. I think you're wise if you decide against it.

Linda, ha! I don't mind speculation, as long as it isn't discussed out loud.

UC, I've thought about that. I don't think I would want a tattoo I chose when I was 18. It would probably have been a bucking bronco, or something else with a Western theme. John Wayne's face, maybe. I hope you can get your scarab one day! Also, thanks for the topics. I'm enjoying this!

wildstorm said...

Certainly a means of personal expression, I like tattoos, but I chickened out when I turned 30 and again when I turned 40.

Simon said...

I’m not a fan of tattoos at all, though most of the people I know have at least one. I just don’t get it. However great they may look as an image, I don’t like them on people’s skin, whatever their age. Not even a pair of wings that have been torn from a dead bird. I’m sorry.

Pam said...

I watched with fascination the progress of a tatoo expansion on a workmate.A Yorkshire girl,she had a small English tudor rose tattood below her belly button.By the ninth month that was some full-blown rose let me tell ya! I found your blog through Susan's Black Street, and have enjoyed reading back through your previous posts. Re: Blinded by the Light. You mean it's not "wrapped up like a douche"???

MauritaMason said...

wildstorm, chickening out can be a good thing!

Simon, it's okay. I'd rather have you like what's on the inside.

Hi Pam! Glad you stopped by to read and leave a comment. And I do believe it IS 'wrapped up like a douche.'