03 September 2012

Tattoo Pt. 1 - The Story

For my 21st birthday, I decided to get a tattoo - something I'd been thinking about doing for several years. I found a tattoo guy through someone at church, made an appointment, and worked on narrowing down the five-ish ideas I really wanted, the main ones being a Beatles lyric, a Bob Dylan lyric, bird silhouette, something photography related, and a W.H. Auden quote.

A week before hand, I knew I wanted a camera sketch. About three days before hand, I knew I wanted a camera mode dial on the inside of my left arm. The day of, I had no freaking clue which tattoo I wanted to get. Fortunately, I had been thinking of ideas for at least two years so I knew I would like whichever one I actually picked - it was just a matter of actually picking one, and since I'm terribly indecisive about what meal I want to eat, it was really hard to decide which permanent tattoo I would get.


In the hours before my tattoo appointment, I kept going over all of my ideas. I realized I needed to pick which thing meant the most to me now. Photography definitely means a lot to me - it reminds me to look for beauty - to remember that life is beautiful. But that's not what I wanted right now.

I've always looked at tattoos as a way of remembering and reminding. I always knew I wanted a tattoo that would remind me of what I wanted to be. I had considered a verse from Isaiah 58, "Pour yourself out for the hungry." I strongly considered a line from a W.H. Auden poem, "You shall love your crooked neighbor with all your crooked heart" (this is at the top of my list if I ever get another tattoo).
I also really liked the idea of a tattoo to help me remember things - specifically a photography tattoo because it's something I really love and it would serve to remind me that life is beautiful.


The day of my tattoo, though, I realized that what I need to remember now is to not allow my fears or insecurities to cage me in. The closer my appointment came, the more I took everything everyone said to heart - at least, all of the bad things. I was afraid that it was a sin, that I would regret it forever, that I'd get the wrong thing because what I wanted was different from what everyone else wanted.



In the back of my mind, though, I knew I wanted one. I knew I wouldn't regret it - at least not for a long time. I knew I had to go with it, mainly because  if I backed out now, I would never do it, and I would regret letting my petty fears dictate my choices.

Thinking about my fears made me realize that that is what I want to learn right now - how to take chances, do things I want without being afraid of what other people think. I don't just mean when it comes to tattoos, either. There are other things in my life that I want to do - things that seem impossible. I have this tendency of putting myself down, saying, there's no way I could ever be that good. I act like my dreams are a joke, like it's ridiculous for me to try to do something radical.

But it's not. As I recently learned in Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth, "What you can do is often simply a matter of what you will do."

Read part two.
Read part three.

Love,
Scout

7 comments:

JoBro said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPnudujlBZI

Lindsay said...

Atta girl, atta girl.

I trust you to post a picture of your tattoo when you're ready. Know that I'm so excited for you and for the lesson you're learning. You are So Brave.

And, I feel like saying "I love you." :)

Scout said...

Broder - Aw :) My new dream is to go to France! Do you feel like donating to the cause? :D

Lindsay - You can totally say you love me. I'll say it to you! Lindsay, I love you :)
Also, thanks! I don't feel like I'm especially brave, but I guess I do have to overcome obstacles and insecurities before doing something, so maybe I am :)

vvvv said...

oh! tattoo! not hurt?????

Scout said...

It did hurt! They were jamming needles into my wrist! I think it was worth it, though.

Renata de Moura said...

Wow!

I'm turning 20 next week and I'm finally getting my first tattoo after years of wishing to do this. And we have similar ideas! I have a lot of ideas - beatle tattoo, dylan tattoo (and its mr tambourine man too), photography tattoo, george harrison tattoo... I think I'm choosing the dylan one too.. because, as you said, its important to think about which one makes more sense at the moment.
So yeah, just felt like sharing this since we think almost the same, haha.

Renata de Moura said...

Wow!

I'm turning 20 next week and I'm finally getting my first tattoo after years of wishing to do this. And we have similar ideas! I have a lot of ideas - beatle tattoo, dylan tattoo (and its mr tambourine man too), photography tattoo, george harrison tattoo... I think I'm choosing the dylan one too.. because, as you said, its important to think about which one makes more sense at the moment.
So yeah, just felt like sharing this since we think almost the same, haha.