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Let's Talk Tattoos!
With the big tattoo less than 2 weeks away, I thought I should reflect on body art and the meanings behind the ones that I have and that I will get.

My first tattoo I got in June of 2001 in New York City. I was visiting the dear sweet and wonderful Erica Livingston (Peninger at the time) and we had decided going in that we were going to get tattoos to commemorate our tight knit cirlce of friends that we had in Jackson before we moved to Chicago and NY. We were the Forces of Nature, and we assigned colors to go with each person/force/point on a star. We looked a bunch of tattoo parlors before we found one we felt comfortable in, and met a nice artist (I think his name was Eric, which made us like him more.). He helped us pick the colors and design and we made an appointment. He was impressed that we spent so much time making sure it was right before we got it, instead of just coming in drunk off the street. I opted to get mine on my middle back, on the right:

Tattoo Back.jpg

Here is the rundown of the points--My point, Wind, (purple and grey) is on top, I am in between Christopher, Water (light blue and dark blue), and Erica, Fire (orange and red), Erica is next to Aubrey, Life (pink and yellow), and Aubrey and Christopher are next to Sara/ Scoot, Earth (brown and green.) I love it.

[side story--cut to 3 years later...Fuzzy got the same type of star tattooed on him, with the colors being purple and grey, the colors representing me on my tattoo. It was the sweetest gesture in the world, and although we had only been dating about 5 months at the time, we had no doubt that we would be together forever.]

My second tattoo is a tribute to my dad. In September of 2004, he underwent a permanent colostomy. He took it like a champ, handled everything well and never complained. To show my solidarity with him while he experienced this life and body altering change, I got a star tattooed on my stomach in the location of his stoma to carry his pain with me and to also make it beautiful. Now that he is gone, I have thoughts about altering the image a little bit--maybe outline it in red or gold. I am thinking about it.

Tattoo Dad.jpg

I love both of these tattoos so much, but I have always wanted one that was visible. After my surgery in 2001, for Christmas my parents gave me a beautiful calendar from Brush Dance that featured inspirational sayings with calligraphy art by Renee Locks, including these birds:

birds .jpg

I have carried this image in my wallet with me for the last 7 years, because I have always wanted to get it as a tattoo. And now it is time!! I am getting tattooed by the amazing Esther Garcia from Butterfat Studios. She specializes in large feminine designs, and I am excited to see what she is going to do with it. I am going to get this style of bird tattooed in 4 rich colors (blue, maroon, etc) on my upper right arm, with a few birds flying down my back. It will be art. It will be gorgeous. I can't wait! I have saved up for it for months, and it will be my 30th birthday present to myself. I am nervous, of course, but more than a little excited. To me, the birds represent freedom--back then, it was freedom after my surgery, and now, it means so much more to me. It is something I am doing for ME, to sort of reclaim the parts of me that have been lost over the last couple of years. Freedom from pain and grief and being in the mud. Freedom in spite of the hardships that fall on us every day. And I also feel like, I've been to hell and back, and this is how I will show it.

I know I've been saying this a lot lately, but it is how I am finally able to see things--Life is short--do what makes you happy. Don't wait! We don't know what will happen a year from now, next week, or even tomorrow.

So for me, it is time for a new beginning! The new chapter is starting!

Pictures to come in a matter of weeks...

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