I got a tattoo!
Yep. That's right. Me. A tattoo. OK, that was probably not what you were expecting me to say, but that's why I said on Friday that it was "big and exciting, to me anyway." (Though I appreciate Amber's guess that I received a promotion at work and so wish that was true! That would have been sweet! But alas, not the case.)
I'm sure you can understand now why I needed to wait to tell my parents first before posting a pic since I didn't consult with them before making this decision. Figured it would be better to bypass that whole convo and just do it.
But trust me when I say, I didn't just do it. I had been thinking about this for years and only now finally worked up the courage to "just do it."
Are you wondering what happened when I told the 'rents? They had a meltdown! No no no. I'm kidding. They were surprisingly cool about it. Disappointed actually. You may have seen my mom left her first (and probably last) comment on Friday's post wondering about my secret. When I dropped by my parents' house yesterday to break the news, she told me that she had bought champagne because she thought I had landed a magazine job in New York! Oh, mom. I was like, "Really? That's what you thought? What planet are you living on!?" Haha. I told her I would have called right away if that was true. But I figure her slight disappointment in my "big news" is better than her being angry. Right?
My mom also remembered that I had talked before about getting a tattoo, so she was like, no biggie. I kind of figured that would be her reaction. The whole, you're an adult, it's your body, your decision type thing. I was more worried about my dad. I thought he might freak. I could tell he wasn't thrilled (he worries that I am going to get AIDS or some other disease) but he wasn't mad either. He just told me not to get any more. And both my parents told me not to get any on my arms. No promises, but point taken.
About the tat itself: I got it done Thursday afternoon by a friend that works at MD Tattoos in the valley (that's the San Fernando Valley for those of you who don't live in So Cal). It took about an hour and a half to complete. And yes, it hurt! Before we started I was pretty nervous but at the same time I didn't really know what to expect. I had no idea what it would feel like. Katie, the tattoo artist, told me that it feels like a cat is scratching you. Well, yes. But I liken it more to someone dragging a nail across your skin. In addition to that, the foot is one of the most painful spots you can get a tattoo. Lucky me. (I didn't cry, though, like I thought I would.) But I figured you shouldn't choose a location for your tat, which will be on your body forever, based on where it hurts less because it hurts everywhere.
I had my best friend, Marielle, come with me to get it done. I needed some moral support and someone to distract me and she did a fabulous job on both counts. She is the best! The boy came too but he showed up a bit later, about halfway through and he mostly just sat there. I think he didn't know what to do or say and was maybe a bit weirded out by the whole thing? Anyway, Marielle rubbed my back, talked American Idol (even though she doesn't watch the show) and used my camera to document the experience. Check out the photos below.
First touch. Here we go!
The face says it all. Marielle thought I made hilarious "pain" faces throughout the whole thing. Sometimes, I even chattered my teeth. I don't know why. Usually I just yelped, "ow, ow, ow."
Trying to look cute (and happy) through the pain. FYI- There was a guy getting a huge roaring grizzly bear tattoo on his upper arm right next to me and he just sat there like a stone. I think my squeals of pain and photo taking probably annoyed him but, oh well!
Halfway there. Got the black outline of the swallow, heart and initials done.
Katie working away. I affectionately called her my "purveyor of pain."
Some color is done here. The red heart and some purple on the wings.
It was a pretty surreal feeling after it was done. Like, this is here now forever. I, of course, knew that going in but it's just funny to see this thing on your foot that wasn't there before. But it's three days in and I am getting used to it.
There is meaning behind the tattoo. I got it in memory of my brother, Jeremy. That's his initials, "JW," underneath the wing on the side of my foot. I wanted to get something pretty, simple but meaningful, that when I look at it, I will think of my brother and smile. Because he was into music and I am too, I was originally thinking of getting some music notes trailing after the bird. I still might go back and get them. But for now, I am happy with my little birdie. And, though it wasn't really intentional, the colors of the bird are sort of Laker colors-- Jeremy's favorite team!
Originally I wanted to get the tat done on or close to the anniversary of his death on April 26. But it took awhile to get my ideas together and settle on a tattoo artist. Anyway, ever since April 26, I have been hearing this country song on the radio by Alan Jackson called "Sissy's Song." Even though it talks about a "daughter, wife and mother," I think of my amazing brother and the chorus has made me cry in the car more than once.
She flew up to Heaven on the wings of angels
By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees
And she walks with Jesus and her loved ones waiting
And I know she's smiling saying
Don't worry 'bout me
For me, this tattoo is a symbol of a fact I already knew: He is in my heart. Every step I take.