Branded, permanence

There are still things in my past I have not come to terms with/understood within myself. But I’m not going into those now; no, this is only a tie-in. When I was 20, I decided that I needed a tattoo. I had always thought I wanted one, but cannot remember when it materialized in my head that I would get one. At the time, I was living in an apartment with three of my good friends and we were living the life. We partied a lot, drank our weight on weekends, and threw caution to the wind. If I did something, it was in excess.  SO when the tattoo idea came about, I gave, well, not a lot of thought to the design. The one thing I did know was that it couldn’t mean anything. For some stupid reason, I was really into being anti. I thought if I got a design that had some kind of meaning, some purpose, then I was following the established order. And I wasn’t into that.

ankle tat

So this was my first ink.

I walked into Capital City Tattooz around 10 at night and browsed the pages of art, looking for the perfect thing. There seemed to be a lot of designs that closely resembled the Van Halen logo:


But I settled on the above, because it looked “cool” to me, at the time. My friend, Tina, said it kind of looked like swiss cheese.

I had heard that tattoos near any bone would hurt like hell but I needed to know. The tech rubbed deodorant on my ankle and transferred the image to skin. Once in the chair, I braced myself, friends at hand for support, and the buzz of the needle began as long-time tattoo artist Adam West (I shit you not) branded my flesh for the very first time.

And it hurt. And it didn’t. In a way, it kind of felt good. It bordered on that line between pleasure and pain… and I think I liked it. And I needed another one. I think it was about a year later that I went back for more.

calf tat

The only reasoning behind this one was that it matched the first. You can say it is “tribal” or you can say they look like “wings” but to me, they’re just a design. This tattoo took longer and the pain was just as amazing and fulfilling as that first time.

I do not deny that back then, my tattoos made me feel hardcore. I changed a lot between 21 and now – obviously – but every now and then I consider getting another. My thoughts on my existing tattoos are two-fold: they still don’t have any meaning other than they represent a period of time in my life when I was different and secondly, I don’t regret them, not one bit. I know a day will come when Elliot may ask me about them and want to, perhaps, get one of his own. I will not stress the permanence of ink, because that is what my mother did, and as any forbidden act, I used it to fuel the fire of opposition.

They’re just another part of me, like the leftover belly fat/skin from birthing a baby, the scar on my left shin from leaning on one of those big clunky old cable box switches, or hitch in my left ankle from so many gymnastics related sprains. If I got another, I would need to think harder on it though, perhaps make it relate to something, mean something. For balance. For the future…

2 thoughts on “Branded, permanence

  1. I got mine at 21 down at that place on Gaines. I love it, I don’t regret it for a second, and it’s just awesome. But it’s my only one. I’ve never felt so strongly about another image to get it permanently inked on my skin. Maybe someday I will.

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