Theory

Professionally coverable, location and design must minimize the potential that the “beautiful hot air balloon” (I don’t have one of these) tattoo might someday look like the Hindenburg.

Practice

1993 – Comedy & Tragedy in front of an orange sun.  Because I am a grown up, because tattoos are coming into their own as a normal adornment, because I love the theatre and still believe that someday I will do theatre outside of high school.  This is the one I am most likely to remove if I ever fall into a pile of cash even though it has held up well.

1993 or 1994 ish – a yellow rose on my left big toe.  I love yellow roses and the discord between roses and my stinky feet entertains me.  The tattoo guy tries to talk me out of it but when that doesn’t work he puts my foot on the stool, about an inch from his groin, and said, “Don’t move”.  I didn’t.  He was right, it has not aged well, but I still love it.

March (16th, 17th, 18th ish) 2001 – John is trying to die in the hospital and it appears that he might just pull it off.  I have been mulling over a tattoo that summarizes the amazing couple of years that we were in and I know that if he actually dies it won’t ever be the same.  He is in the ICU and I am at the tattoo parlor taking a pair of scissors to the left inside thigh of a lousy pair of jeans.  It is just modified flash but it says everything I need it to about everyone I love and cherish.  John, when he sees it the next day, is NOT pleased … but he also doesn’t die right then.  I could have waited, but I didn’t know.

Mid to late fall 2001 – I am exhausted and fried, I need something that feels good but to feel good it has to be big and dramatic to punch through the ambient chaos in my mind.  I don’t have a specific tattoo so I get a non-standard part of my ear pierced.  It used to draw attention (both because it is on the right and it’s placement) now 12 year – olds get that kind of piercing done.

March 2002 – John has died now, because he is forever on my mind I tattoo his artist signature (which I am incorporated into) onto the back of my head with his birth and death years.  I tell the tattoo guy (the same guy who did my 2001) that I want one on my head and he warns me that my head needs to be shaved.  I tell him what I want and he has his girlfriend come shave my head so that it looks as good as it can.  I will never lay eyes on it, sans shaving my head again it can’t even be photographed – it exists perfectly in my minds eye.

I put myself on a 1-year tattoo hiatus because I am SUPER close to becoming the Great Tattooed Lady.  I spend that year planning the most insane and egotistical full back piece that has ever been thought of.  I don’t get it done.

June 2002 – I briefly have a piercing that is covered by clothing.  What the hell, I wanted to feel something.  It doesn’t last long because right then I do not have the patience for avoidable pain.

Today, April 26 – In the summer I had asked my dad to write a phrase for me that summed up one of the greatest gifts he had ever given to me.  A fundamental part of my life which came from him.  I tucked it away for awhile but the experience was one I wanted to share with him.

There are so many moments of my life where I put my head on my father’s  shoulder. Even as I overtake him in size and strength his shoulder is one of the safest places I will ever know and so, today, on my right shoulder I had the words “Always be curious” tattooed in his handwriting.  Dad came with me, he watched his words move forever onto my shoulder, Elvis sang “Love me Tender” in the background, and he smiled.

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