“Ink a needle in your skin. Let the world know where you’ve been.”

When I was little, make that very little, as in three or four years old, my oldest sister and I would sometimes visit a church other than the one my parents attended. I don’t know the circumstances behind this. Most likely, my sister’s motivation was a guy she liked and I was sent along as a mouthy little chaperone. Either way, my sister wisely found an adult couple whom I liked and who liked me. I would sit with them through the service while my sister, I presume, sat with kids her own age.

The man, whose name I can’t remember, had a tattoo on his forearm. I once asked what it was and he told me it had been done with a needle. Horrified, as only a young child terrorized by tales of medical vaccinations could be, I asked, “Why did you have to get a needle?!?” Of course, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would do such a thing voluntarily. At that young age, I decided to never EVER get a tattoo.

Never say never…

By the time I reached adulthood, (or what I considered adulthood at the time) I had a very different view of tattoos. I knew I wanted one, was certain of the location and pretty sure of the subject matter. The plan was for a rose on my front right hip, preferably with a few petals drifting away on the breeze. Later, I decided that was too girly for me. Perhaps a rose wrapped around a dagger would be better, but when I viewed the flash art on the tattoo shop walls, I didn’t like anything they offered in that vein. Finally, I spotted a dragon. I liked dragons. I especially liked this one. It was Nordic, like me. Many years later, I still like it.

The artist warned me that tattoos are addictive. I didn’t believe him. One was enough. I would never put myself through that pain again.

To borrow the title of a James Bond movie, Never say never… again.

It was eight years before I got inked again, and then I got two in quick succession. Others followed. Each of them meant, and still mean a great deal to me. For a while, I thought I was done. “Three is a nice number.” “No, five is better.” “Wait… I’m about to be published. I’ve got to get a tattoo to celebrate that.” Then I was at number six, and I stopped saying I was done.

This is number seven. I got it a little over a week ago.


Seven is a nice number, but I already have something in mind for number eight…and number nine. Maybe I should just stop counting.


About jessicazellman

Writer. Reader. Cat cushion. Wannabe rocker chick. Baker. Gardener. Summertime rollerblader. Sporadic runner. Occasional knitter. Pizza addict. Dragonfly lover. Object of parrot's derision.

Posted on October 4, 2011, in Tattoos. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Yes, they are indeed addictive. It’s been 3 years, I think, since I got one done, sadly. I know I want something for my dog, but the money is never there. She tends to run up vet bills, and my need to keep her healthy outweighs the need for the ink. One day….

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