tattoos: i want them, i need them.

Lately,  the urge to get another tattoo has been gnawing away at me. I have two at the moment: 

 a small dove on my foot, that both of my best child hood friends have as well in the same spots (which I got when I was…19 or 20?)
And three peacock feathers on my back between my shoulder blades that I got when I was 21 and going to school in L.A. 



I told myself after the peacock feathers that I would wait 5 years (plus, I’m terrified of needles and had to go back to the Tattoo Parlor at least 4 times because each time I came, I would pass out). I’m 27 now and so much has happened since then. I’ve gotten my Masters degree, got married, got a job I love and feel much more stable and solid than I was 8 years ago. 


Also I’ve lost two important people in the last 2 years: one of my best childhood friends (not one of the ones who got matching tattoos with me) past away from an aggressive cancer, leaving behind a beautiful 5 year old daughter and my grandma who was so beautiful and also happened to be my favorite person and passed away after suffering with Alzheimers’ disease for 16  long years.

grandma in all her 90’s glory (in the silk blue suit)
about 5 years into her disease, after a stroke (around 1999) 
right before she passed

 Before I lost these two people, I was very very lucky to not have to face death and deal with the sense of loss, anger, confusion, and the infuriating feelings of guilt for leaving things unsaid and undone. 

Anyways, these things have made me want to get a tattoo in honor of my grandma and friend. A close friend of mine, who has had a difficult life and has suffered so much more loss than I, has these beautiful and simple plain black bands on his forearms. Some of them are thick (an inch or more), others very thin. 
my friend’s arm

I had an idea of what I thought the bands might symbolize and knew that he treated each tattooed band with stoic reverence. I finally asked him to tell me about them and what they meant to him. Ever the philosophical fellow, he replied with: 
“Humans, like trees, grow rings of memories.”
Which I loved because I have always loved trees (such a silly statement to make, I mean, who doesnt like trees??). I love how they look, how they smell and what they have symbolized throughout man’s existence (life, death, wisdom, nourishment, hope, growth, security, family). 

Anywho, I am thinking of getting two thin bands on my left forearm, one in honor of my grandma and one in honor of my childhood friend.
Although, my friend also warned me of getting a tattoo that symbolizes the loss of someone you love in a place that you have to look at all the time. He said that every time he looks at his tattoos it only reminds him of those he has lost and makes him sad.
I thought about this and realized that I think the reason I want them in such a visible spot is to remind me to make the most of the time I have with my loved ones and to act in such a way when I am with them, that on that very distant day in the future when I have no more time with them, I will be left with no regrets.  
But, I will continue to evaluate the real reasons I want this tattoo, where it should go, and what it will represent to me.

In the meantime, here are some badass tattoos that I find to be lovely and inspiring (via this cool website I just stumbled on: http://fyeahtattoos.com/

by artist: Dan DiMattia 
Illustration from my favorite book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein Tattoo Artist unknown
 not sure who did this one but it is so lovely. 
 I LOVE this Joy Division album artwork, and apparently so do many people. I have found about a dozen tattoos with this artwork tattooed somewhere on them. I think the forearm one is my favorite.
 one of my favorite paintings by one of my favorite artists! (The Kiss by Gustav Klimt) Tattoo artist unknown
loverly.

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