Monday, March 19, 2012

A Life Defined By A&D Ointment

When I got my first tattoo, the artist looked me dead in the face and said, "Do you know what this means...It means death. Toxic. Poison....You want that on your body forever?"

At that point I was on a path of self-destruction. I was under the sincere impression that every person I knew or touched would either die or leave and it was my fault. I was also under the impression that I was a bad-ass punk and no one could tell me different. Boy was I wrong.

I had never used A&D Ointment before that, and I remember looking back, thinking how well I took care of my first tat, it was my pride and joy. It didn't hurt, it made me a tough guy. Now, I hardly even notice it. Except that the bones on one side are slightly raised scars. Sometimes I run my fingers over the tiny lines and think to myself - toughen up punk.

Then I went off to college and life kinda kicked my ass. I learned a lot of lessons the hard way - twice. Found out I wasn't invincible and found out what toxic people are really like.

I also found out what good people are really like. I found my way out of a really dark place and vowed that I would take those lessons with me for the rest of my life.

This tattoo was a tribute in a lot of ways. Inspired by the original sailor tattooist - Norman Collins. The sparrows are lucky to be tattooed together - you never get one alone. The pairing represents a sailor's safe journey home.

The dates are representative of things which I know I may never understand or come to terms with, but are no longer for me to dwell on but to lay in God's hands. It quotes P.Diddy's "I'll Be Missing You" which I was stuck on for a long time when my Uncpa died "Every day we pray for you." And in a lot of ways makes me think of my sister - "Us in the six, shoppin for new clothes and kicks - words can't express what you mean to me."

I get more compliments and questions about this piece than the other, even though it is hardly ever seen. And hell yeah it hurt. I believe the reason rib tattoos look so sick is because they hurt so much.

Anyway, about two weeks after I got that tattoo, life handed me another curve ball. I got pregnant.

A&D Ointment meant something new to me.

This little boy has given me so much to live for. If ever there is anything worth a struggle it is him. I have been working full time and finishing school as long as he has been around. So when I graduated, I knew I wanted another piece to reflect my hard work and to tribute to him for getting me through it all.

I have circled around the idea of a tattoo that quotes "The Used" for a long time - planning on "Since you've been gone, I'm not the same" to reflect a time when I thought I might lose one of my best friends. However, she is around and doing better than anyone I know and with my other tattoo commenting so heavily on loss, I wanted the words in this one to inspire Aiden so I kept "The Used" but changed the quote to something that meant living and fighting.

I kept the Alex Pardee art piece "The Strangled Heart" because as an artist he defines my feelings without using words. The heart is hanging which to me represents the way love can keep us alive when we are lost somewhere in "the grey" which is where I find myself these days. Instead of hanging from a tree though, it hangs from Aiden's birthday because if ever there is one thread left to hold on to, it is him.

I was so relaxed with this one. My  motto for 2012 is sweet surrender. The surrender was in fact so sweet that I fell asleep.

And now I use left over A&D from Aiden's diaper days to cover a tattoo that represents everything I hope for him.

No comments: