A case for tattoos

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January 18, 2012 by NH

Over Christmas I thought hard about getting a tattoo.

This was a mistake. I should have listened to my sister and just got the damned thing.

I was in Byron and I was celebrating the end of a long, hard year.

The tatt would be little, on the inside of my left forearm, in a place where I could see it and be reminded of that wonderful time, post thesis-submission, when my mind was beginning to open again, and my heart was beginning to slow again, as my body prepared for new adventures.

I was with the people I love most in the world, and I lived (and spent, and ate) without guilt.

In Byron, I swam in the ocean every day.

My sister and I played in the pool – really played, doing headstands and dolphins and whales and penguins.

At night, I’d lay in a deep bath and look at the stars while I shucked the sand from my body.

I was coming back to the world the way I always come back to the world: through the water.

I got a tan.

I bought the red shoes I’d been looking for for years.

I even bought a pair of pink shoes – plastic shoes – which make your feet smell like bubblegum.

Tuesday and Sunday came to visit, and we feasted on fruit and cheese and wine and chocolate as we brought the New Year in with party poppers and sparklers.

I had a tarot reading, and a massage, and at the end of the session, the masseur took me by the shoulders and asked me how one so young has so much responsibility.

I hear this question often.

I expect a lot out of life, and to get it, I have to plan, and push, and sometimes bite off a lot more than I am capable of masticating. I carry stress with me the way I carry a dress on my body.

As I’ve written about before,  I’m trying to slow down; I’m trying to stick with the pack rather than charging ahead, attempting to be the one to lead it, and inform it, and protect it.

But I am who I am.

Ever prudent, I got a quote for my planned, spur-of-the-minute tatt.

The tatt would have cost me $100.

My next tatt, the one I’m planning in my head, will be of waves – blue, frothing, which swirl in a circle.

I want it on my back, halfway down my spine.

Then I won’t need to leave the world, or come back to it, because I’ll always have the water with me.

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