Daily Prompt: Tattoo…You? Do you have a tattoo? If so, what’s the story behind your ink? If you don’t have a tattoo, what might you consider getting emblazoned on you skin?
“In my day, tattoos were for sailors, whores and convicts,”
That’s what Gram said when I showed her my first tattoo about a week after the ink had set. Her ultra-conservative, Roman Catholic lifestyle wouldn’t have allowed her to imagine a woman intentionally marking herself in this intimate, permanent way – unless they were a streetwalker.
“But that’s adorable!”
So much for my rebel status.
I tried really hard to create waves in the family pool when I was 26 by being the first person in my family to get a tattoo. The image I had of a person with a tattoo included a sneer, a pack of smokes rolled up in the sleeve and maybe a gap between the teeth and definitely a big-ass bike. I wanted to be that guy..uh girl…
Apparently, though, it was only the latest in a long list of what-the-hell-did-she-go-and-do-now stunts I pulled. So by 26, my family was long immune to my inner rebel and her crazy antics and simply took it in stride. Damn!
When I started dreaming of getting a tattoo, I thrilled in the badness of it. Of course, at 14 you’d expect butterflies or Marvin the Martian. No, no, not rebel-y enough for me! I knew I needed something that would propel me to the top of my social caste as an anarchist, punk-rocker (wannabe). I spent hours thinking of the dirtiest, nastiest thing I could ink myself with to shock the establishment and piss off my parents but nothing seemed rebellious enough. And really, my sensible voice would always take over and scream: “HELLOOOOOO!!!– PERMANENT!”
So, I started to experiment with drawing on myself. My favourite was the pictures I drew at the corners of my eyes in various markers or eyeliners…as close to a tattoo as I dared. My mother was neither shocked, nor alarmed by this or the Siouxie and the Banshees eyebrows I would draw in with thick black eyeliner to give my artwork a frame next to the checkerboard I scissor cut into one side of my hair and food dyed to give contrast….
Perhaps it’s because the world was becoming a visually startling and bombarding environment, but no one was really shocked. Perhaps it was simply the dawning of an age of tolerance for “different”. Either way, I wanted so badly to be a rebel but by the time I had the guts to do anything truly rebellious, it was passé. I can thank Axl Rose, Sid Vicious and Tommy Lee for that, I suppose.
Two kids, 2 cesareans and 240 pounds gained and lost later, my adorable little belly tattoo isn’t quite as sexy as it was 18 years ago. (cause now I know what a good tattoo looks like…). These days it has a “character line” in it; but it’s still my first – and firsts are always special.