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.