What? This is not a belated April Fool’s Joke. I’m serious. I went to a tattoo parlor and got myself inked for life. Yes, me.
If you find yourself asking, Why?!? allow me an explanation.
I have not always wanted a tattoo. In fact, I used to think they were rather vulgar. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to do that to his or her body. But later, I met a few people who had tattoos, and they were pretty cool. So I decided maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I revised my legalistic attitude, and instead refined my objections to three (for me):
- It’s too expensive. (I’m notoriously cheap.)
- It’s too painful. (I’m a wimp, what can I say?)
- It’s too permanent. (I’m also very indecisive and somewhat picky. What if I changed my mind? What if I disliked it later?)
Then, one by one my objections fell. It started with the third issue: I suddenly realized exactly what I would get if I ever got a tattoo, and I knew instantly that it would be something I would not regret. Then I picked a place on my body: it had to be somewhere where I could see and admire it (otherwise, I just don’t see the point), but also where I could cover it up most of the time. I chose my right ankle.
After watching several episodes of Miami Ink, and talking it over with my brother and some other tattoo-minded friends, I decided that maybe I would look around for a place. I began to save up my coffee shop tips and other cash in a jar by my bed. First objection taken care of.
A couple of weeks ago, the topic came up again—mainly because, for me, it was something I wanted to do for my birthday. Of course, if you read my last post, you know I did no such thing on my actual birthday. But in talking about it, me and my bro and a few friends thought it would be fun to all go someplace together. In the end, only one friend came with me and Kyle. And she was the first one to get inked! She got a trinity symbol on her wrist. It is very cool. (But then, she’s already pretty cool. How many girls do you know who can play guitar, bass, and drums? Seriously.)
Then it was my turn. I was nervous, because of my second objection—the pain. And I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt. It did. But not so bad I wanted to cry or anything. Just enough for me to clench my teeth and fists and be grateful whenever she stopped. But when she was done, I had my very own ultra-cool tattoo. Right now it’s just the outline. Eventually, I might get it filled in. We’ll see. The lady who inked me said to us, “Careful. They’re addictive.” I don’t plan on getting any more tattoos…I can’t think of another suitable spot, let alone another thing I would want to have on my body for the rest of my life.
But the Red, Rampant Lion that now adorns my ankle….if you haven’t already guessed, is Aslan. I took the design straight from the LWW movie. If you read either of my Narnia posts when the movie came out, then you have some idea of how important the Chronicles of Narnia are to me still—and how fundamentally they shaped my faith as a child. Aslan is to me, the best symbol of Christ. And now I have a visual reminder of that every time I look at my leg. (It’s also a teeny bonus that it very slightly resembles the red, rampant lion on the Scottish royal flag.)
It’s still sinking in that I did this, that I actually went and paid money for some woman to stick needles into me. But I like it, I really do. It still is a little tender, and right now the lines are raised and it looks a little like someone decorated my leg with icing—like a cake—instead of a tattoo. It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision, I didn’t go against my parents’ wishes and I am well over the legal age, anyway. My dad actually thinks it’s pretty cool, and my mom…well, I have a feeling she likes it better than the nose-ring idea I still have.
So, yeah. I have joined the tattooed masses. What’s funny about it is how it really does make me feel a little different, at least on the inside. I feel bolder, more daring. Even though most people will probably never see it, might not even guess that I would have one (and I toyed with the idea of keeping it to myself, but I was too excited), it’s there.
A fun, funky piece of body art? A permanent mar on my body? A testament to my favorite books? A symbol of rebelliousness? My tattoo might be all those things—and more. Like all art, it is what it is to you—but to me, it’s My Faith. All summed up in one little picture. Forever on my right leg.