I had always been intrigued with tattoos for as long as I can remember, but having been raised in a very evangelical church, it was heavily frown upon to even consider getting one. I would rebelliously draw on myself with a black pen at times, creating my own “tattoos” around my ankle or wherever I felt putting my art on. I had thought the reason for the strong discouragement was in the whole idea of permanently marking your body with something that was “unholy”, and I accepted that for a while… Until I went to college.
A lot of my doctrinal thinking was challenged in the fact I was so far removed from the close-knit community I had in my rather large church.Yet, at the same time, I wasn’t as close to my old church as I had once thought I was… It’s amazing how distance can change the perspective of the relationships you have, but thats a whole new subject to discuss. I didn’t really think about tattoos until I had to deal with some very traumatic moments in my life.
The fall of 2000 I had to deal with surviving a drunk driving accident and the loss of a grandma within three months time. The effects of the first still echoed violently into the next couple years of my life, and in the beginning of it, it was a rough ride. I doubted God. I was angry. I was hurting spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I had lost a week of my life, as I don’t remember the days clearly that I laid in that hospital bed with a severe concussion along with several other injuries. The loss of control in my life was the main reason I was angry, and many times I tried to drown myself away from those feelings with the bottle. Thanks to some concerned friends, they stopped it from becoming a vicious cycle as I was able to find help.
Yet, I didn’t have closure. I felt something was left unfinished.
I can remember clearly on a summer day, the following year, walking up the hill on a weekend day at a camp I worked at in Minnesota, and feeling the anguish of the constant reminder of the car accident as I could feel the glass still inside me. “God, Why?! I’m tired of feeling hopeless.” It was then I could feel God hold me and remind me He protected me that night from any further injury. It WAS a miracle I survived. I was at the point of impact in the car when the other driver ran the red light.
I knew then I needed something to remind me, permanently, that God was there with me that night.
As an artist, I knew a tattoo would be the ideal thing to have as a reminder of God’s protection on my life. I knew what I wanted as a reminder : Christ’s Cross. “… By His wounds you have been healed.” I Peter 2:24 I didn’t want just any cross, but I drew up my own rendition of a Celtic cross, as I love the art and knotwork of my Irish heritage. With a friend, on a warm Saturday afternoon, I went and got it done.
Did it give me closure? A little bit. I was able to resolve some of my feelings in that one permanent action. There will probably be things in that one traumatic experience which will never be resolved. I’ll never remember what happened to me during that whole week. I know this because it’s been ten years since the accident, and nothing new has come to the surface as far as that goes.
Quite frankly, I didn’t realize that until now. Wow. I’m glad to say it has not consumed me.
Three years later, I got another one. A blue wolf on my left shoulder. Reason for that was I related to a lone wolf more than anything else as I struggled to adapt to being a resident in Illinois and being newly married. This one is my favorite one so far.
My newest one to the collection was some Chinese characters saying “Strong Ram/sheep”. My husband got inked as well when I got this one. He had some Chinese done him as well, being ” Fire Dragon” and “Phoenix”. The reasons for this was the fact the Chinese zodiac, even though I don’t follow the rubbish, was amazingly accurate to what my personality is. The other reason, that seemed more fitting, is the fact that I am a lamb of God. I am being made strong in all that He has allowed me to endure.
Do I think I’ll get more? To be honest, probably. I am a visual person, an artist, and I communicate this way. It’s not only a conversational starter, but they remind me of the moments in my life that I made it through… And still going through. Am I addicted to it? I don’t know about that, but I do like them. The pain in the process of getting one is almost cleansing. Some people wouldn’t understand it, but when you go through it, the reward of having a beautiful piece of art on you, or something meaningful, makes the pain worth it. The best way to describe it is a rite of passage. Life is full of passages, wouldn’t you say?
My next one might be a tribute to a friend of mine and my grandmother who have fought a good battle with brain cancer. My grandmother now is in heaven after losing her last battle with it, and now my friend is on her way to paradise. Having two close people in my life fall to this horrible disease is enough to make me want to have a living tribute to them. I’m not sure what it will be yet, but I know it will be fitting when I figure out an appropriate one for them.
Some people would probably ask me if I can stop wanting tattoos, and I am sure I can. I have a limit, and it has a lot to do with being able to be respectable, and to be able to have a job in the future. A lot of places don’t appreciate tattoos like I do, and I do respect that. As long as I can cover them, I’ll be fine. But when I don’t have to, that’s even better. 🙂
So, hey, I like tattoos. Thats me.