There was a time when I loathed tattoos.
This was when I was still my fearful child self, my anxiety-ridden teen self, and my superconfused young adult self. Anything different was terrifying.
Welcome To Humanness, right?
People with tattoos intimidated the shit out of me. Remember, this was Germany in the ’80s and ’90s, which meant most tattooed people I saw were punks and otherwise rebels-without-apparent-cause. I knew, I just *KNEW* they were all bad news, the lot of them. I associated tattoos with smoke-choked, drug-infested back alleys and, for some reason, mangy dogs. When we were 17, my friend Elpida (she started life as a Greek-Yugoslavian with Germany citizenship, but by this time she was Greek-Croatian) said she wanted to get a tattoo, and I was horror-stricken.
I don’t remember exactly what changed, but by the time I was 25, I wanted one too.
Oh, I should mention that because my family went to church primarily with American military members, I did see the occasional soldier or airman (I didn’t know any women in the Air Force) with tattoos, but in my supercondescension, I considered them merely misguided instead of frightening.
Also, I was exposed to a few Christians over the years who considered tattoos sinful because “the Bible clearly says.” But even back then, I noted very distinctly that they neither avoided shrimp and pork, nor did they ritualistically rid their homes of mold and yeast. They practiced a quite obvious not-sacrificing-of-animals, too. Hmmmm.
So, fast-forward (there’s a dating-myself phrase) to me at 25, and I’ve decided I really want a tattoo. Long story short and for many reasons, I put it off for 20 years.
And now I have one. And this is it.
Some of you will recognize it: I believe it made the social media rounds about ten years ago or so. It’s a monogram of all the letters of the English alphabet, plus numerals 0-9. I added the little dots to the design for the Umlaute in German: Ä, Ö, and Ü. (Missing is the ß, but since its usage was widely reduced in 1995, I decided to leave it out.)
Thus, I can say that I have every book written in English and German tattooed on my arm. < cue wild celebrating >
I really could not be happier with this. It catches my eye and surprises me every few hours, but still…. It feels so right. When I sit still and look at it, I feel like I have always had it, even though it’s only been there less than three days.
I feel like it has always been right there on my arm — it’s just that now, other people can see it.
SUPER IMPORTANT: shoutout to my tattoo artist, Lazlow at Black Magic. He was so accommodating and friendly, and open to all of my many questions. He made it a great first tattoo experience, and I truly appreciate him.
Yay! I have a tattoo! And it is so ME! < happy dance >