The Story of My Tattoos…

Birthday Adventure Number Two

Yet another repeat picture…I have actually taken some (some that may be worth seeing, too!), but I’ll have to get home and go through them.  There may be another post tonight, but I’m not sure.  Joey and I are going to take an excursion to Wal-Mart to see what kind of squashes we can procure:).  I’m in a squash-y kind of mood, I guess!

Anyway, the pic above is from my birthday this year.  For new (and senile) readers, for the past two years, I’ve gotten tattoos on my birthday.  The first one, in 2008, was super-significant.  In July of 2007, what was supposed to be just a routine cardiac cath for my dad turned into bypass surgery, which turned into a two week hospital stay.  It happened right over my birthday, and even though Joey had bought us tickets to see The Lion King (the musical), I really wasn’t able to enjoy it because I was so busy worrying.  I was also at a point in my life where my anxiety had pretty much just taken over.  Between worrying about my dad, about my parents getting older, about Puss’s inevitable death, about money, about Joey finding a job, and the ever-present and constant irrational fear that I had terminal cancer and didn’t know, I really wasn’t able to do much other than the basic functions.  Apparently, I hid it pretty well, though, as no one seemed to know just how many problems I was having in my own mind.  Dad’s time in the hospital was pretty freaky…I’m not saying that Mom handled it poorly, far from it, but all of the sudden, I found myself almost “in charge,” having to make sure that things stayed together and serving as the intermediary between our family here in Charlotte and our extended family elsewhere.  Dad came through everything fine, went to cardiac rehab, and does what he’s supposed to do, so it all turned out for the best (thank God), but my anxiety was still really out of control.  I finally sought help for it about a year later, a month before my birthday.

I’d thought about getting a tattoo for years and years and years…thought about what I’d get, where I’d get it, but I’d always been too afraid because of the pain factor.  I’m not one of those who gets freaked out about the idea of having something permanent inked on your body; I believe in choosing the subject matter of a tattoo wisely, so whatever I have put on my body will be something I won’t mind living with forever. 

I don’t know if it was just glee from having gotten to spend 2008 without hospitals and doctors, or if it was the newfound calm I felt from the anxiety meds, but I decided that, if I can bite my fingernails until they are nubs and my fingers ache, then I could handle the pain of a tattoo.  I was pretty nervous telling my parents about it, but my mom decided that she wanted to do it too!  So, we set up the appointment with a tattoo artist who we trusted; we were going to take her entire day on my birthday and let her tattoo me, my mom, and Joey.  We started at 2 pm (when they opened) and left at midnight, after they’d finished Joey’s five hour tattoo.  You can read about my adventure here 🙂

It was awesome to be able to do something so adventurous and brave on the anniversary of what I can very safely say was the worst time of my entire life.  It was like an act of defiance against it, an “I beat you!!” moment.  And, I got a pretty freaking awesome tattoo to show for it.

They don’t lie when they tell you that, once you get one tattoo, you become addicted; it was only a few months later that I started thinking about what I’d get for TAT # 2.  I settled in on the above, my maiden name.  I’m an only child, see, so whenever/ifever Joey and I have kids, there won’t be any “Boyter” lineage to go on, and I was sad about that.  I also got married young; I was only 21, still in college, and some years later, I found myself feeling like I’d lost my identity…like the part of me that had always been “me” got lost somewhere.  I wanted to do something that would let me regain a little of that…I love my married name, and I love Joey, but there’s always a part of you that wants to remain uniquely you, not just a branch of someone else, not just “someone’s wife,” but YOU.

So, I kept talking about it and talking about it and talking about it, but never acted on it.  I decided that I wanted it on my back and that I was really okay if it was a little more conspicuous than my last one.  So, around “birthday-time,” I found myself with a little extra cash, and we headed back over to Top Notch to drop in on everyone and potentially look at some lettering styles to see what I might like.  The next thing you know, Sarah was telling me to sit down and shaving my back (NO, I do NOT have a hairy back, but they always shave you where they’re going to tattoo for accuracy’s sake).  I heard the familiar buzz of the needle and, after about fifteen minutes of nagging, sunburn-like pain, I was the proud owner of my own name;).

Do I plan on doing a third?  Absolutely.  I’ve already got it picked out.  This one, though, is going to be more expensive, so I’m going to have to save up for a while…I don’t know that you’ll be seeing a “Birthday Adventure #3” post…maybe as a reward when I finish my M.A…….but who knows, really?  😉


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