Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Tattoo Chronicles: The Heroes



First off: sorry I've been MIA for so many days. It was a really busy time for me with lots of projects around the house. Photogaphy work, auction work, training, a road trip and a big party. Have mercy! But I am back on a more normal schedule and hope to be posting a blog every day (though sometimes I do take Sundays off...). Here, starts my first blog back and it is a return to a series I did awhile ago (on Facebook) about my tattoos; in it, I tell the story behind each of my tats. I am going to start with my most recent tattoos because my friend Marianne asked me what one of them was of, after seeing it in a photo on my FB page. I will go back and add the other stories later - I am pretty sure I never posted them here, on blogger. For today, though, here is the story of my last two tattoos, which I got on the same day. I call it Hero Appreciation Day...

I have spoken often of the fictional characters who were my heroes in the books I read as a child, ostracized by most of my schoolmates, growing up. When you spend almost your entire childhood making characters in books and films your friends and idols, it can be a difficult habit to break as an adult. To this day, I still form attachments to some of the characters who embody the personality traits and strengths that I wish I, myself, had. It is, though, important to have real people in your life, in your heart and in your scope of admiration. To that end, I have a few friends who are my personal heroes in my life. Family. One of them trumps all of them, though: my husband.

For a long time I have wanted to have a tattoo tribute to my fictional hero, Jason Bourne. I don't try to explain what it is about him that makes him my hero; only that he is what I wish I were. No, not an assassin. He is strong, he is knowledgable, he is (actually) a good man - I wish I could be more like him. Pat, my husband, is always cautious when advising me about a tattoo that involves a fictional character. "Remember, it's a FICTIONAL character and tattoos are FOREVER." So the Jason Bourne tattoo has been an on again - off again thing for a few years. Each time I got close, I opted out of getting one.

However, during a period of blackness, of anger and pain, I decided to go ahead and get the Bourne tattoo. I wanted it in the ditch of my arm, just under the line of the bicep, so that whenever I was working out, if I felt like I could quite move the weight, one glance at the tattoo might give me a little extra push, a reminder of who and what I want to be: strong.

If you buy the box set of dvds for the Bourne Trilogy, it comes with a novely item: a passport for Jason Bouren. I simply took that passport and had my tattoo artist replicate the signature therein in the ditch of my arm, right where I wanted it (he was surprised at my location of choice and asked, twice, "are you SURE you want it there?" I insisted; I found out why he asked me twice.... it was the most painful tattoo I have ever gotten.
At the same session, I wanted to get another tattoo -- one that juxtaposed my fictional hero with my real life hero. On the flip side of the bicep, on the outside, where people can see it, is my tribute to my husband. In a way, you could say I am wearing my heart on my sleeve...

When I met Pat, 25 years ago, there was this doodle he did. It looks like a domino. Once the doodle is drawn, it becomes a puzzle; the challenge is to put your pen down on the page and draw through every single line in the domino - but only once - and you may not take your pen off the paper at all during the challenge. He did this all the time, during our first few years together. A few months ago, I opened a notebook of his and I saw the doodle.

"Do you STILL do this drawing?"

"Every single day."

I hadn't seen it in years. I didn't even know.

I ripped out the drawing and recreated it. Then I wrote his name in the squares. It's a P A T domino.

And that is how, in the middle of a snowstorm, in February 2010, I got my 8th and 9th tattoos so that I could, forever, carry my heroes with me.

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