To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo

harrypottertattooA friend of mine has some amazing body art, some incredibly intricate designs all over her body. In fact, I think the only spots I’ve seen on her that weren’t covered were her neck, her face, and her hands. Every time I see her I study one or more of them and find patterns and designs in them I hadn’t seen before, even though I’ve known her for over three years now. Those tattoos are like a well-worn, dog-eared book. They offer something new on each read. But as much as I value and appreciate her tattoos as statements and as art, I would never get one myself.

I don’t judge. Believe me. I’m just of the opinion that if I don’t need to go through pain for some medical reason, or for some religious revelation that will appear to me at the end, then I’m not going to submit my mind and my body to it. See, every time I know I even have the possibility of going through any physical pain my mind shifts into “fight or flight” mode, and I have to calm it down in order to go through with whatever necessity has been planned.

For example, for each one of my surgeries (I’ve had four) I’ve had to gird my metaphorical armor, and I still had serious nerves right up until showtime. Then afterwards I was the epitome of a big baby, taking all of my pills and bemoaning my fate to anyone who would listen.

So I’m not exactly the best person to get a tattoo. I’ve been to a few tattoo parlors (do they still call them that?) in my day, but I have never looked directly at the needle when it was being done. I’ve held a few hands during the process, and I admire the finished work, but in the end, no matter how much my friends may have cajoled me, and no matter how completely wasted I’ve been at times, I have never given in. And I’m proud of that fact.

Getting a tattoo is an individual decision. It’s a personal choice what you want to do with your body. I honestly think that if someone told me tomorrow that it would never hurt — the process of getting the tattoo, or the pain while it’s healing — maybe I would actually consider it. But I wouldn’t get something ordinary like a heart, or an anchor, or an infinity sign, or a bird, or a cross. Nothing like that. I think I would get the number “27” in the same font J.K. Rowling used for her chapter titles in the Harry Potter books.

But even then I’d probably chicken out in the end. Because who wants a “27” on them forever?

Sam

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