Friday, March 13, 2009

Disappearing Ink

Question (bordering on rhetorical, most certainly hypothetical): how dumb would I be to get this statement tattooed somewhere on my body? Like a 36 year old tramp stamp, only rather than a sexy, curling tribal design the tattoo would be these very matter of fact words on a flat black background that does not flatter the post-maternal hip spread one freaking iota.
As dumb as the time I was 19 and got a dolphin tattooed on my ankle because I had seen a particularly riveting episode of "House of Style" featuring Nikki Taylor who had the same tattoo? What can I say? It looked oh-so-cute on her, riding around on a golf cart as she was with Cindy Crawford. (I'm just lucky I didn't get a mole tattooed on my face.)
Or would it be as dumb as the time I was 23 and for the briefest of moments fell in love with Bruce Lee and thought to my 23 year old self, self! I want to be as strong as water just like Bruce Lee. Punch the surface, its strength lying in the fact that water flows around any force! Phenomenal woman, that is me! (I had a tendancy to identify myself with books and movies back then, often confusing myself with characters, mixing them together like a bowl of stone soup to which I had contributed nothing.) Later I went to the library and looked up the Chinese character for water, not knowing if the symbol I ultimately chose meant still water, tap water, river water or sewage. I tattooed the symbol on my ankle next to Nikki Taylor's dolphin, and then I went to the farmer's market with some friends and cried when a large man stepped on my freshly bandaged foot. Phenomenal woman that I was, like water for chocolate seemed more like it, so I went to Cold Stone Creamery and ate a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ice cream cone to find my strength.
I guess what I'm trying to point out to myself is this: there was a time I thought I was a dolphin, a martial artist, a time when I thought my life could be summed up by a symbol in a language I don't even speak. Now, of course, I look back and laugh, the tattoos now blurred, turning blue like the bicep of an aged sailor who has long since lost the line of his horizon. I am wiser and have no desire to ride around in a golf cart with supermodels. So maybe this, this year or years of what seems like something that will forever define me: failure or liberation, moving on down and out and in some sort of direction far, far away. Maybe this will one day blur, too. Fade blue by the sun accompanied by a thousand yard stare of my very own. Maybe one day I will look back at this and laaauggh. Remember when I used to blog? I will say. How I sat at the kitchen table wearing that sweatshirt with the embroidered birds and sighed, thinking it was the end of something, when really, it was just the beginning? And then I will smile. Yes, of this I am sure: and then I will smile.
Happy Friday the 13th, tout le monde. Stay lucky.

12 comments:

I *Heart* You said...

i have a four leaf clover on my lower back/hip area. now i can't remember why. all i know is one of the friends i went with to get it ended up with a tattoo that i suggested she get as a joke. it was a kitten holding a valentine. yikes.

ps- i LOVED house of style and nikki taylor back in the day!!

Julia said...

I'm counting on getting my own thousand yard stare too.

Richie Designs said...

I'm so art damaged that I could never pick a image that represented me [thank gawd] I always said that when they could figure out how to put a mark rothko painting on my back I would sign up. thankfully that hasn't happened either.

yes, we will survive this and laugh about the days of "blogger" when our kids will be publishing books in 3D in 24 hrs flat.

Richie Designs said...

ps I'm working on a letterpressed card that will say something like what you've posted...don't tattoo it I'll just send you a card instead.

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. How on earth do you manage to write such amazing posts every single day? I write for hours every day and I could still never manage this.

For the first time ever, I really like the idea of tattoes. Specifically regrettable ones. I always want to erase my past, only accepting the Most Current Me, but there is something so authentic about a tattoo: "This is who I was. And that is real, too."

Kendra plus 2 said...

So, umm, I have almost the same tattoo on my shoulder. Mine, however, is jumping over a moon. Classy eh? I also made stone soup last week at work. No really. 15 four year olds and I put a big rock in a crock pot, threw in some veggies and prayed for the best. See your post totally speaks to me.

Vanessa said...

Ah, thanks for pointing out it's Friday the 13th. So that's why my day has sucked...
I hope I'll look back at this point in my life I'll feel the same way. That all of these soul-crushing moments were paving the way for something better. I hope, I hope. I hope you're right...

Sharon, The Queen Blogger said...

In high school, I gave my boyfriend a tattoo on his arm with my diabetic neighbor's hypodermic needle and shoe polish that he stole from 7-11. He survived and I'm quite sure that 20 years later he has some scar tissue to always remind him of me. I have my own scar tissue.

My daughter recently said that getting a tattoo is like buying a shirt that you have to wear for the rest of your life. She's eight. This concept is too clever for me.

Petunia said...

This made me cry and I think you asre so right but all of it.

I'd rather be a bridesmaid said...

I found this on some other blog and I'm sending it to pretty much everyone I know - "Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end."

Sarah Danielle: Jeune Marie said...

Funny story... my Southern sorority girl/ debutante mother *almost* got a drunken tattoo at her bachelorette party in New Orleans. She didn't go through with it because she feared the sanitary state of the facility (she was obviously one of the cool kids). When I asked her what she was going to get she smiled and said "I guess you'll never know!"... To this day I still ask her about it, wondering about the tatoo that never was.

krista said...

EMBROIDERED BIRDS!!!!
awesome.


(and my bad first tattoo is a mothereffing peace sign with the male and female signs attached and it's colored red gold and green. as if i'm a damn rastafarian who listens to culture club. i do love when clouds of patchouli and body odor compliment it, however.)