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Posts Tagged ‘tattoos’

A while back, I posted about the Joy Project, finding and recording things that brought me joy, things to focus on that help to offset the craziness in the world in order to center and not let the bad things get me down. There have been a lot of things bothering me lately: a huge lack of manners in people, the government, work issues, the government, rude teenagers in public places, the government, serious world issues… you get the idea. And while these things deserve attention, if I let them take up all of my thoughts and time, I’d forget why I’m here in the first place. You have to step back sometimes and find the joy because life can’t be all about gloom and doom.

I haven’t been very good at writing down my joys, which was the original intent, but I have been doing a better job at looking for the little joys every day. Still, now that it’s summer and I have a couple of weeks off, I’m going to try to get back into the habit again, starting now. These are a few of the joys I’ve had in my life lately, big and small:

Free time. I usually love being busy, I love feeling useful, and relaxing usually makes me feel guilty. This summer, I am consciously, selfishly, enjoying the time I have off.

Middle Child graduated. Few things compare to seeing your child in a cap and gown. It’s a very concrete ending to childhood and a proud moment for us.

Dates/quality time with my husband. We’re so busy during the school year that it’s hard to find time for us, but lately, we’ve made spending time together more of a priority. It’s a very good thing.

My teenage boys. I know, it sounds contradictory, but as my boys get older, I enjoy them more every day. It’s a different level of parenting now. I loved having squishy babies and snuggly toddlers, but seeing my boys mature into adults is amazing. Conversations can definitely get interesting.

Writing. Editing a completed novel, beginning a new one, and not too worried about balancing the time involved.

A new tattoo. I’ve been wanting to cover up an old (ugly) one for a long time now and took the plunge to trust an artist and get a little color. Still very fresh at less than two days old, but happy to have it done.

Hedgie snuggles. Allegra wasn’t around when I started this project. but she is definitely one of my big joys. My little ball of prickles is quite the cuddler and an endless source of entertainment.

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Little black squirrels. The first time I saw a little black squirrel, I thought it was the cutest thing ever and wished that they lived in my yard. They’ve been slowly spreading out ever since, getting closer to my house, and just a few days ago, I SAW ONE IN MY YARD!!! Definitely a joy.

Travel + family. A couple of months ago, I was able to join my cousin and her kids in South Carolina. (See my earlier post for more on that.) This was a double joy, going somewhere new and beautiful and getting to catch up with far-flung loved ones.

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Theater. I’ve done a lot more of it this year and while that has definitely contributed to time crunches, it has also helped me grow in a lot of ways, including my self-confidence. I’ve gotten braver, both on stage and off, thanks in part to a super-supportive theater community who makes me feel loved.

I’ll leave it there for now. This is a good start for my list and I’ll catch it up as time goes on.

I’d love to know what the joys are in your life. Feel free to comment and spread it around. We could all use a little more joy in our lives.

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Tattoos have come a long way through history. They’ve been meaningful for different cultures and religions in all different parts of the world since, well, since there have been people. They’ve been used for magical purposes, social status, marks of achievement, and as a coming of age. They have been found on mummies, statues, and drawings of both men and women across the globe. The famous Captain Cook (you know, the one for whom the islands are named) was the first Englishman to introduce “modern” Europe to tattooing around 1771, not only bringing a tattooed man back to England, but his one of his own men even got one while in the Pacific. It progressed from there, with everyone from sailors to the gentry permanently etching symbols into their skin. Several members of England’s Royal Family through the years and even Winston Churchill’s mother were all tattooed. (She had a snake tattooed around her wrist, by the way. Mrs. Churchill.) Not long ago, getting ink was seen as low-class or as a souvenir of being in the military, but in today’s world, the tattoo knows no boundaries. Rich, poor, famous, infamous, and ordinary people are likely to sport a tattoo. Or two. Or more.

I have three right now. The first one I got was a rose on my right hip. My friends, Jack and Brian, took me to the tattoo parlor the spring after my eighteenth birthday and held my hand as the buzzing commenced. At that time, I was still convinced of a career in the theatre and didn’t want to get a tattoo in a place that was easily visible. Getting the tattoo itself wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be. I carefully followed the directions to keep it coated in Neosporin until it healed and to not wear tight clothes. I was so proud of myself and it wasn’t long before I was itching to get another. There’s something about getting one that leads a person to want more and more. Thank God I ran out of money or I may have sleeves by now.

For my second tattoo, I went by myself to a tattoo booth located in a trade center. I had been eyeing a few crosses for a while and finally decided to get one on my other hip. Again, not really painful. I can best describe it as annoying. It doesn’t feel good, but it’s bearable. Let’s put it that way. Pain, real pain, has a whole new definition after giving birth to three children and tattoos have gone way down the scale.

My third one was kind of a weird thing. I was in beauty school ( I did not drop out. Sorry, theatre reference.) and one of my friends was learning to not only become a cosmetologist, but a tattoo artist. I let him design one for me to go on my thigh and his mentor put it on. I liked it at first, but as the years have gone by, it doesn’t look as professional to me as I would like. Eventually, I’m going to have that on turned into something else, but, again, it’s not something that would be visible on a daily basis and it’s not like I got someone’s name tattooed on me. No cause for embarrassment there.

I’m getting my first new tattoo in twenty years this Tuesday. I waited a while for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, they’re not cheap. Even for something very small, you’re looking at a $50.00 minimum in most places. With three small children and tons of bills, tattoos were a luxury that we couldn’t afford. The other major reason was that I just didn’t know what I wanted. If I’m going to permanently have a piece of art etched onto me, I want it to mean something. And then, a few months ago, I knew what I wanted.

My cousin recently got a couple of tattoos, one of which was a line from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s from Act III Scene II and reads, “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” The character, Helena, is speaking about her sister, Hermia, not in an altogether flattering way, but it fits what I have come to believe about myself. I’ve had a lot of crap in my life. Who hasn’t, right? In therapy, I’m assigned to think of good qualities about myself. As I mulled it over, it occurred to me that no matter what has come my way, I fought through the despair of the situation and it made me a stronger person. This line, although I’ve seen it many times in Shakespeare, really hit home as something that I want to carry with me. The twist is that since I don’t want to (entirely) copy my cousin, I’m going to have it done in Italian. My grandpa was from Sicily and when I decided to take Italian in college, it made him happy. I’m still learning Italian to this day and while I’ve got a decent grip on it, I still ran the line through several different translators to get the best translation. It reads: “Anche se lei essere ma poco, lei e feroce”. That phrase will be a permanent part of my left hip as of Tuesday night.

A lot of people are cool with the idea, but a lot question the practice. They don’t know why someone would do something so permanent to their body. I look at it as an individual expression of one’s self. Granted, there are people who get stupid tattoos. Really freaking stupid tattoos that were not thought out well at all. Hey, their bodies belong to them, no matter how many names or misspelled words are written. But, on the flip side, there are others who do put a lot into it and whose tats mean something. Cancer survivors, abuse survivors, names of loved ones who have passed, ancient symbols that one identifies with, all are as unique as the people who sit through each session. There are even some who say that Christians shouldn’t get tattooed, because of a verse in Leviticus. One verse in the whole Bible, located in the same book that says we can’t eat pork. If fundamentalists want  to follow the Bible word for word, they should get rid of the bacon in their freezers in addition to not getting tattoos. One can’t pick and choose. That verse is pretty clear that the marks being referenced were for pagan religions, not tattoos in general. Besides, in the New Testament, Jesus clearly said that the old laws were finished, now that he had arrived.  Many Christians I know, besides myself, have tattoos and feel very spiritual about them, seeing as a way to show their devotion. That’s the whole reason I got a cross. It means something to me.

Anyhow, even though it wasn’t ever a big deal before, I am a little nervous. My sister/cousin (I really have to blog that story sometime soon.) will be with me. I don’t get to see her nearly as often as I’d like, so this will be fun and a chance to spend some time together. No pictures will be posted, however; I’m not that kind of girl on Facebook. But it will be there. I’ll know it and that’s all that matters

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