“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.