When I was a kid, tattoos were for bikers and unsavoury types...definitely not for women, especially women of a "certain age"! My ex got two tattoos while we were together - and I wanted one, but was cautious. I'd seen too many people get "flash" (the designs off the tattoo shop walls) or designs that were ill-advised or ill-placed. I recall when I was a teenager, a girl I knew got a blue whale tattooed on her thigh. Seriously, an 8-inch tattoo of a whale - on your thigh?? Unwise.
I've thought about getting a tattoo for almost 25 years and have never done it. I've always known what design I wanted (a salamander in the shape of an S) and where I wanted it (right shoulder blade)...but never actually did it.
So why now?
I have often considered getting one to mark an event (doing the marathon, my dad's death, turning 40), but it just wasn't quite the right time. L and I were going to get tattoos for one of our anniversaries, and we just didn't get around to it. But I knew when I got him the gift certificate for his tattoo for his birthday, that he would reciprocate and get one for me.
It wasn't really a momentous event or a time in my life that is loaded with meaning. It was just...time. I'm 42, I'm at a good place in my life, and I'm happy.
What better time is there?
Anyway, enough jibber-jabber, here it is:
It's about 5 1/2 inches from tip to tail (the tail is an equal size curve as the top - in that picture, the roundness of my shoulder blade makes the S-curve of the tail look smaller).
I wanted a salamander because it's an animal whose image keeps popping up in my life: in poetry, in pictures. Also, it appeals to the two sides of my nature: the touchy-feely semi-spiritual side and the logical science-y side. Salamanders have been written about and depicted since the 16th century as mythical creatures born of flames or having an affinity for fire (nice obvious metaphor for surviving through difficulties). But they also secret a mucus from their skin that would have protected them when their homes - damp logs - were thrown on the hearth. Imagine the wonder to see a creature skittering out from the fireplace without being burned! Magic!
I wanted a really different look to my tattoo, not your standard black outline with colour. As I've done art all my life, I wanted a look reminiscent of a sketch, like one of Leonardo da Vinci's drawings. I think Leroy did an amazing job in capturing everything I wanted.
Oh, and will I get another one? Hell, yeah! I can't wait!
Do you have a tattoo? Tell me about it! Better yet, post a picture on your blog and I'll link to it here.