While this is (thankfully) becoming less and less the case, there is still this perception that anyone with tattoos, or at least more than an ill thought-out butterfly on their ankle from some Spring Break in college, is somehow a deviant. To this day people are surprised when they find out I have any, let alone how many I have (8 at this point).
(BTW, where did you THINK I was going with the Post title???? You are a sick, sick person!)
I still get the question from time to time – “But are you still going to like something you picked in your 30s when you’re 80?”
First of all, if I get to 80 I’m pretty sure the last damned thing I’m going to be worried about is my tats. Second, personally I don’t just get random stuff, or stuff I “like.” Every single piece I have is tied to a meaning, so how can I ever get “sick of it”? It’s like – if you get a tattoo of a CareBear because when you were a kid you liked CareBears – – there may eventually be some regret there. But if you get a CareBear because your Grandma called you CareBear – you will rock that CareBear every day until you die.
The Progression of a Tattoo
For me, the least amount of time I’ve ever spent planning a tattoo was about 6 months, and the longest was 10 years (the first one, obviously). A few of them pretty much ended up exactly how they started, but others started very differently. For example, I was originally going to get a bi-plane on my shoulder because despite being afraid of heights, I overcame that fear to fly in a bi-plane, which is something I always wanted to do. While I was still planning the design, I went snorkeling for the first time – something else I’d also been terrified of despite loving the ocean and sea life. I saw beautiful turtles on that first trip, and the turtle image resonated with me more than the plane. They both stood for the same thing – not letting fear keep me from amazing experiences, but Wah-Lah: Turtle.
So I’ve currently been planning my next one for about a year, and it has gone through MANY evolutions and I thought it might be interesting to share (or not, but “it’s my blog I can do what I want to!”)
I wanted something for my forearm, and the imagery of a bird in an elaborate bird cage resonated with me; seemed to speak to how I felt on the inside. My thought was for it to be B&W only.
As I started to struggle more with my depression issues, I wanted to represent what I felt like on the inside AND the façade of the outside, so I added the door to the cage being open with one bird inside looking longingly up while a flock of bird fly in the “open air” above the cage. Still B&W only.
After everything went to hell in a hand basket this spring, the bird IN the cage became a bluebird while everything else was B&W.
Shortly after that the bluebird became a stylized semicolon.
Then in walked my reading of Turtles All the Way Down and my subsequent metaphorical interpretation of what it feels like to be in my brain. And now I am fixated on this idea of a Scarecrow in color, with a bluebird perched on his shoulder, perhaps with B&W crows in a gnarled old tree looming deep in the background…
So that’s where I’m at. It will probably be months and months, maybe even close to a year before I finally get anything. So who knows where the design will be by then – I might end up getting a hamster eating tiny foods for all I know.