My love of tattoos is well documented. I got my first ink in December of 1998 and have been addicted ever since. Last night I went to the glorious Nicole at Urban Art Tattoo to get a very special tattoo. While it may look simple, there are layers of meaning behind it that make my seventh tattoo very precious to me.
This tattoo is my memorial piece for Nicki.
I find it hilarious that it took so much to get this little thing done. It's on my right forearm and is probably the size of a baseball. Getting to the actual inking was like a damn episode with the Keystone Cops. First, we had some problems with the shop's computer accepting my font choices. Then we had to deal with sizing and settling on colors. As Nicole put the stencil on my arm, I turned it upside down so that the text faces me. (My ohana tattoo is for other people to read. This one is for me.) Nicole says, "You want it upside down?" Then she sighed. Apparently I kept making things more difficult for her. It started to become a joke...we just kept making it more ridiculous. "You know, while you're doing the tattoo upside down and spending a lot of time on the intricacy of detail, perhaps you should turn off the lights. I'm really sensitive to light and you could use nightvision goggles. Then, maybe we could go underwater. A sensory deprivation chamber so I have a womb-like environment of peace and calm. And I can't see your face. And I will need Peruvian dwarfs to feed me chocolate...." It just went on like that, Nicole, my friend Alicia and I all making up outlandish demands.
My appointment was for 7pm, but ink didn't start flowing until 8:30 after all the tweaking and such. Nicole puts on movies while she works, so the three of us watched Harry Potter 7 (part 1). Because of the tight line work, the needles were tiny and it hurt like a stone bitch. I think this was the most painful I've had. In fact, I think I have discovered my limit as far as tattoo sitting time goes. After 4 hours in the chair, my endorphines had crapped out and gone out for a beer with my pain tolerance. Yeah. That piece above took 4 hours and change. I think that's a person record as well.
I love it, though.
What's really odd is that the day after getting a tattoo, I'm always surprised that I'm not surprised. I don't look down and go, "oh, I will have to get used to seeing this". Quite the opposite, really. I look down at this tattoo on my arm and it looks right at home. Like it's always been there. Which makes me wonder about body art. Are we injecting things to change our bodies, to make them the way we see them in our minds? Or are we just drawing out what's been there all along? For me it always feels like the latter, like I'm rubbing away this silly body and unearthing the me within.
Alright, so some of you probably know what this design is, some of you might be going, "it's pretty, but why is *this* a memorial piece?" WELL! Here's an explanation.
The symbol itself is from Doctor Who. It's the Seal of Rassilon, a glyph of power and protection. This identified a Time Lord. And yes, the word "time" is purposely written in a wavy font. Don't understand why? Watch this clip as the good Doctor educates the class about how time works.
So, why is this blatant display of dorkdom a memorial piece? Nicki introduced me to Doctor Who when the Eccleston season began. "If you aren't hooked by the second episode, fine, but watch these two," she said. I was in love half way through the first episode. Done. Also, when Nicki and I started the performance troupe, she chose the character name "Peacock". It is impossible for me to see anything to do with a peacock and not think of her. So, I got the piece with a bold peacock blue. The text, though...that's a reminder to me. As I've said before I made mistakes in my relationship with Nicki and the worst was that I just forgot to be kind to my friend. We shouldn't need that reminder, but it's the lesson I've learned from this whole thing.
My tattoos for me have always been like the rings on a tree or paintings on a cave wall. They tell stories of me. "Take Time To Be Kind" is the moral of one. I knew Nicki for seven years and this is my seventh tattoo. Rather fitting, that. So yeah, I got this tattoo because I'm an unrepentant geek. I got it as a constant reminder of who I want to be. And I got it for Nicki because the mark she made on me will never fade away.