Thursday, July 25, 2013

anatomy of a tattoo.

if you've known me for any amount of time, you probably know that i've been considering getting a tattoo for a long while. some of that consideration has been documented here, (and here) but the possibilities were bouncing around in my head even before i ever started sharing all of my thoughts with the interwebs at large.

when i was in high school, i thought i had figured out the perfect tattoo design - it was cool, it was edgy, and it would showcase my undying love for all things office-supply-ish - a safety pin, pinned through my calf. i think i still have my original inspiration picture (ripped from a magazine) stored in a box somewhere, but this one is pretty close to the same thing:

and i am SO glad that never happened. turns out i'm not quite as edgy as i considered myself to be in high school, with my baggy pants and duct tape jewelry. so instead of making a young and dumb decision, (that my parents would have never allowed anyway) i spent years pondering the physical, social, and spiritual ramifications of getting a tattoo. i determined what i considered to be the ideal spot for a tattoo, as well as a design that would be meaningful and hopefully still reasonably attractive on an 80-year old woman. i asked around and researched tattoo parlors in the area, searching out a safe, sanitary, and talented establishment. and i took very seriously the approval of my husband, since tattoos tend to stick around forever, and i plan on him doing the same.

after all that consideration, and even at one point deciding that i would be alright with never actually getting a tattoo, this is what i ended up with:

a matching tattoo with my BFITW! but what does it mean??? i'm sure you're really dying to know. so i'm really going to tell you - here is an annotated guide to my new tattoo.

1. Placement: on the top of my right foot. because i didnt want a tramp stamp, i didnt want to have to be in any awkward state of undress to get inked, it should age better here than on my stomach or arm, and i always have the option of covering it up without having to wear a turtleneck.  originally, we were looking into putting in on our instep, but we were advised by the tattoo parlor that it would not age well. (something about that spot of the body not absorbing the ink as well as on the top of the foot) they suggested that we consider the top of the foot instead, where the ink would not fade as much. so we ended up deciding on our right foot over the left because we wanted the words to read from heel to toe instead of the other way around.

2. Words: changed for good. this is a line from the musical Wicked, which is mine and Julie's favorite musical, which just so happens to have a story that loosely parallels our friendship: two girls that meet in college, initially hate one another, but then become best friends over time. just like Glinda and Elphaba, we feel that our friendship has changed us, and that we would not be who we are today without having known each other. in case you are not familiar with the song, part of it goes:

" i've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason bringing something we must learn and we are led to those who help us most to grow if we let them and we help them in return. well i don't know if i believe that's true, but i know i'm who i am today because i knew you... like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes a sun, like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood, who can say if i've been changed for the better? but because i knew you i have been changed for good." 

plus, a quote from that song was infinitely more appropriate and preferable over one from our other favorite:

"loathing. unadulterated loathing. for your face, your voice, your clothing. let's just say: i loathe it all. every little trait however small makes my very flesh begin to crawl with simple utter loathing. there's a strange exhilaration with such total detestation - it's so pure so strong.. though i do admit it came on fast, still i do believe that it can last and i will be loathing for forever, loathing, truly deeply loathing you my whole life long"

3. Cross: for my savior. the cross itself was added to the design as part of the most recent iteration, although the double meaning behind the phrase "changed for good" was always in our minds. our faith has been a huge part of our lives and our friendship: not only have we been changed by knowing each other, more importantly we have been changed by knowing Christ. definitely for the better, and definitely for good.

4. Two Stars: for my best friend. why stars? partially because we liked them better than hearts or butterflies, and then as part of our extensive research we learned that stars are a symbol of femininity and mathematical perfection, among other things, which pretty much made it impossible to pick anything else. why two? because there are two of us: one of the stars is hers, the other is mine. originally, they were both going to be aquamarine, for our birth stones, but at some point we decided to go with our favorite colors instead: green for me, and pink for her. and what a happy coincidence that our favorite colors match up with Wicked again - green for Elphaba, and pink for Glinda. these stars are the only part of our tattoos that differ from each others: each of us has our "own" star as the top one. because we are totally individuals after all.

it's been almost three weeks, and my tattoo is at the tail end of its itchy-scabby phase, and soclose to being completely healed. there's a chance i might have to go back in for some touchups on the stars (there's a couple splotchy spots-have to see how they heal) but if i do, i'll probably wait until after our western vacation, since having a scabby healing foot might be a hindrance to awesome mountain-camping activities and i am so excited about that trip i dont want to limit myself if i dont have to.

but you know they say that tattoos are addicting, and i may or may not have started mulling over some thoughts for a potential second design... i'll keep you posted.

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