Tuesday, June 12, 2012

a cautionary tattoo tale

i've been thinking lately about the many, many foolish choices i made in my early twenties. there was an abundance and i made them all with the reckless abandon that only the young fool does. i had been fairly careful about my choices up to that point in time with only a slight swerve into the fast-moving naughty lane before my twentieth birthday.
i look pretty normal here, don't i?
but underneath that calm exterior lay the makings of a party girl.

but when i turned twenty, i decided that i was done with the good and i was headed as quick as i could find it, into the bad. i boycotted church and started swearing excessively. i dated men who weren't future husband material and cut and dyed my hair into unacceptable colors and styles.

one of the things i decided i needed to try was body art. i got my belly button pierced and then passed out when i stood up. fortunately, the 18 year old guy who'd clamped and stabbed my navel knew enough to slide me gently down the counter where i'd flopped like a boneless jellyfish and then give me a coke when i woke up.

i got my tongue pierced a few months later, which wasn't particularly smart since it was only a few days before thanksgiving. my tongue swelled up and left me with a lisp that was hard to hide when speaking with people, like my grandma. and i couldn't indulge in anything but cranberry sauce because chewing was pretty much out of the question. i decided to take that piercing out after one night when i was making out with a guy who suddenly pulled away from my face, reached into his mouth and pulled the ball from the top of my tongue barbell off his tongue and handed it to me.

piercings though, are just beginner stuff. they're removable and can be denied once you get tired of them. tattoos though, hold a whole different realm of stupid possibilities. don't get me wrong, i like tattoos a lot. i like the artistic aspect and the way they can mark a significant event in your life.

however, the way i went about getting tattoos wasn't artistic or significant. i decided all of a sudden, to find the name of a tattoo shop in the yellow pages and then go there. i went alone and didn't give any prior thought to what was going to be put permanently on my skin. i picked some flowers out of a book. they were boring and poorly done, but they live on my ankle for anyone to see when the weather is warm.

having a tattoo made me feel like a tough guy. like i was part of the cool kids' club, even though my ink was meaningless and tacky. i decided about a year later to get another one. i was determined to do better on my second round in the tattoo chair and i chose to put it in a location where it wouldn't be visible so often. i picked my lower stomach.

obviously, for a woman, that's a bad choice of body real estate, even if you're young and thin and can't imagine ever having kids. twenty year olds know nothing.

you see that smiling face and belly shirt? yeah, that was me, happy and stupid and about to show off my sneaky stomach tattoo. please disregard the huge beeper in my pocket.

i did my best to clean up these pics so you can make out what that ridiculous mousey looked like when it was fresh and new. you can see how perfectly it fit under my bikini bottom so that it always stayed hidden.

that was fine and dandy for a while, but a few years later, i got pregnant. and once i was pregnant, all hell broke lose with that tattoo. it ceased to be a cute little mousey and instead stretched out into something alarming and grotesque.

i actually got brave enough to take a picture of it tonight. a few months ago, i never would have considered it, but i've lost 48 lbs to date and i can see it now, so i am once again aware of its existence regularly. being thinner though, hasn't helped it to become any less ugly.

as i was taking the pictures, i kept thinking they were blurry. then i realized that the photo was perfectly clear, it's just that now it looks like an underwater sewer rat. or a jacked up elephant.

so let this be a cautionary tale for anyone considering a tattoo. be very careful about the location of your potential ink. if you don't have a good reason and location for it, then forget it and go get something pierced instead.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


as every school year draws to a close, i picture something slow and easy and calm just ahead of me. i imagine sleeping late each morning. having brunch, reading books, lazing about endlessly on couches. it seems as though i'll have all the time in the world for catching up on all the things i love to do that i don't have time for during the school year.

yet somehow, every summer i'm surprised at how it doesn't happen quite like that. our first week of summer vacation was spent catching up on all the things i should have done in the previous months. like grooming the cats, thoroughly cleaning bathrooms, mending or altering the pile of things that were too big, missing buttons or whatever. i was running errands that had been neglected, such as finally getting my car registered in this state, since we've been here for a year now.

our second week was spent going to the pool as frequently as possible. i know, i know, that's not a task to be avoided, but a blessing to be cherished and i'm very happy to have the chance to go to the pool. but i thought i was going to spend my summer writing a book. and maybe i still will, but so far, the writing hasn't been happening very much.

instead, i've been taking care of life and people and cats. and going to parks, working on my tan. and discovering that i love yoga. that's pretty shocking to me because i never would have imagined that yoga was something i would ever want to embrace and yet, here i am, doing an hour every day and thoroughly enjoying it.

i hope your summer is going well (if you've already begun it). i hope it's more relaxing than mine, but if not, i hope you get a little tan and make some great memories and get to do some things you like that don't involve cooking, cleaning or laundry.
this is the mini-waterpark only 8 minutes from our house where we get to spend our days.

don't you just want to jump right in and start splashing?

her face makes my heart happy.

life is good, even if i'm not asleep on my couch.

what a view.