Sunday, November 26, 2006

Tattoos ...

This morning, we had a rather interesting discussion about tattoos. PJ, V.'s girlfriend, thinks it is time for her to get one. It does seem to be a right of passage of some sort, although I'm not sure why. :)

What to choose? That was her biggest concern. Since it would be with her for a lifetime, it nneds to be relevant and have some meaning in her life, right?

When I chose mine, the most important thing is that it represents something I am committed to for the rest of my life. It had to really matter. That means no names of former boyfriends or ex-husbands. I wanted something that was pretty but meaningful. No cartoon characters. Nothing that seemed outrageously funny at the moment but would wear thin after 300 showers or so. I didn't want anything trendy. I was sober when I got them.

I chose a lotus flower because it represents the unfolding of the process of life itself, the learning, growing, changing and finally maturing and dying. At the same time, it is just plain beautiful.

On my wrist, I have the name "Thailand". The reason for that is probably rather obvious. At the same time, it is unique. The guy who did it was creative and clever. I'm happy with it. It is also placed right near my hand where I can cover it up with a cuff bracelet if that is necessary for some reason.

Both of those things represent lifetime commitments, the things that are at the core of who I am. They are unchanging.

Any thoughts out there? What should PJ consider before choosing a tattoo? What would you consider? Do you already have some? What does it mean to you?




Ginnie said...

Hi Chani: Once again you present us with a challenge...I love it. This is definitely a generational thing, I think. Tatoos were unheard of in my least for anyone outside of the biker world...but my son and one daughter in law have them. Hers is discreet...a flower on her ankle,but his has his EX wife's name and now he's a single parent and sorry he did it. This is one of those "life choices" that we never seem to get right the first time...but I think your recommendations are right on.

meno said...

I wanted a tattoo for about 20 years before i got one, and i knew the design for about ten years. Not one to rush into things am i.
Things to consider;
Placement:is the tattoo for public or private? Does she want to be able to see it without a mirror?
Design: the three most popular tattoos for women are roses, dolphins and butterflies, be creative, get something that she either designs, or is meaningful to her. She'll be the one looking at it for a LONG LONG time (hopefully).
Choose a reputable place and ask for a tour and a description of their santitation techniques.

Oh, and have fun.

Gobody said...

I am sorry Chani, I cannot help on that one. I am not really into body art at all. For some reason I like to hang the art I admire on the wall where I can constantly see, and appreciate it ;). I also cannot imagine myself wearing something on my skin that I would be happy with for the rest of my life. So far in my life, nothing hold that kind of place for me. Everything is just “water under the bridge”!

jen said...

i have one. but J and I keep planning to get another one - a firefly symbol to represent M.

i think self expression is a beautiful thing and we should all do what moves us.

placement matters, though, definitely.

Patricia said...

I got my first tattoo in celebraton of my 64th birthday last June. Like you, dear Chani, meaning was everything to me. Artistry and placement were also important but nothing was as important as the meaning of what would be part of me on a cellular level for life.

I decided on an image of the planet as an expresson of my deep knowing that we are all members of one family who share the same home.

Who would be my tattoo artist was also important. I wanted someone who "got it," who understood the meaning of the image I was choosing. If possible, I wanted a woman.

All of this unfolded in wonderful ways. The final image was the result of collaboration between myself, another artist friend, and the tattoo artist who was/is a most sensitive, creative woman.

I adore the tattoo that now circles my upper arm. Here is a link so you can see it for yourself.

I encourage anyone who wants to be inked to take their time and get it right. "Right" being a product you will be proud of and a process that suits who you are at your core.

Ask for suggestions from everyone you know. Find out where people got tattoos that you like. Check out all the tattoo design websites available online. I spent a lot of time at getting ideas. I also read a most helpful book about tattooing that I got from the library. That helped me know what to expect and how to help my tattoo heal properly.

For me this was a deeply spiritual experience. And it continues to be. May your friend find it to be all that she wants and more.

Sanjay said...

I suspect it is a generational/cultural thing.
I would nto want a tattoo am not enamoured by them for some reason.
Curious.. what is the genesis of your love with all things Thai?
If you want to answer that is. Thanks

QT said...

Placement would be the second most important consideration, the first design. As meno mentioned, public or private or easily covered?

I got a tattoo on my 21st birthday. I was very enamored with the tropics and their sealife at the time, and I had a 125 gallon aquarium full of Cichlids, an African fish. I wanted a tattoo that I could look at and it would take me back to that time in my life, so I have a cichlid on the inside of my left hip. It is easily covered with a bathing suit -no one can see it unless I really want them too! The artist that drew it and ultimately did the work was in high demand and I had to get on a 9 week waiting list to get it (this was 12 years ago -there weren't quite so many of people doing tattoos, it seems). I love it and have wanted another ever since.

I am planning on getting another this Christmas. I will save that for my own blog!

Thailand Gal said...

Ginnie, I was raised the same way and never, ever, thought I would end up with one. It seems to be everyday stuff now, not just the "drunk sailor". When they're well-done, they're kind of cute but ~ yuh ~ they're forever. LOL


Meno, PJ had a few ideas. I've definitely encouraged her to research. She likes my lotus flower, hates the "Thailand", and commented "it must hurt like hell". Well, yeah.. tattoos hurt. She might as well get accustomed to that idea! LOL


Gobody, I don't know your age.. but I do know what you mean. I was over 50 before getting one.. over 53 before getting another.


Jen, a firefly sounds beautiful! Perhaps one day when M grows up, she will get one, too. Wouldn't that be a testament to your family. :)


Patricia, I remember reading about your tattoo adventure on your blog. It is really beautiful and I admired you so much for doing it ~ even at 64. Just goes to show, it's never too late.


Sanjay, my immediate answer would be "going to Thailand" but it really is more than that. It would take an entire entry to answer that one. I've touched on it a bit but will try to condense it into one single entry one day. :)


qt, placement is everything! My lotus can be hidden easily. The one on my wrist is a bit more difficult unless I wear a cuff bracelet. I thought long and hard about that one because it IS so blatant.

Wow! You really waited a long time! I will look forward to reading about your next one on your blog. :)

Thank you, everyone! (hands together to all of you - virtual wai)



Cece said...

I've got 7 tattoos. Two are my daughter's names. One is a crescent moon around my belly button, one is a rose on the inner side of my ankle, one is a lady w/flowers and butterflies, I've got a ring of sea shells and crabs b/c I'm a cancer and my last one is a tribal band around my ankle. That one my sister and I got matching on opposite ankles. That was the time she was going through a really rough time in her life and we were together constantly. It was just something meaningful to us.

Annie said...

Oh gosh...after reading everyone's comments, I feel like an old stick-in-the-mud because I think tattoos are just gross!

Calm down...stop hyper-ventilating. I'm not passing judgment here. It's just that I grew up in an era when Hell's Angels wore tattoos. Guys in the Navy wore tattoos. People who worked in the traveling carnivals wore 'em.

And when these people got old, the tattoos looked old, too. Ugly in fact.

One day I stood in line (it was summer) behind a woman in her 70's who had skin like leather and the largest back tattoo I'd ever seen. Now she was probably a Biker-Babe in her day -- why else would a woman have her entire back tattooed with a gigantic eagle? I'm sure in it's day it was one hell of a picture to wear around~ but hey, it blended together, her skin got old and dry and weather-beaten to beat the band and folks, she looked rather silly standing there in her tank-top and this THING all over her back!

Do today's tattoos never, ever "bleed together"? And can you guarantee that when you are in your later years you aren't going to look or feel (or both) silly with whatever it is you are having put on you today when you are young?

I'm tattoo-free and proud of it. It's a "fad" and I detest fads!

So now ya' know. Do you still like me?? LOL

Pam said...

I always wanted one but never got there. My daughter has two.
The only advice I ever got was to be careful where I put it because of the southern decent of our skin as we age!