Friday, January 9, 2015

Something To Ink About

We strive far too hard for perfection.

We look for it in ourselves, but so very often that translates into looking for it in others. The tendency to 'judge a book by it's cover' is rampant because the world is going too darn fast to slow down and allow for reading stories.

And here's the kicker: tattoos are a story that's been written in the most permanent of parchments.

I got my first tattoo at nineteen. Four years later, I have only five. Not many, but nonetheless for professional reasons, I have gotten all of my tattoos in areas where they, under the proper clothing, can disappear.

I do not wish to lecture you on how my choices are my own, it's MY skin, blah blah blah... SO: I will merely lay out my reasoning, and let you make of it what you will.

My tattoos are categorized illustrations of my greatest fears, flaws, and unfulfilled dreams. It's probably strange, slightly melancholy, and a little dark to most at first glance.

But, I didn't puncture my skin with hundreds of needles and permanent ink because I'm a Princess Sunshine Rainbow Unicorn Pony.

(FINE, I might be a little bit of a Rainbow Unicorn Pony)

Chapter One: At First There Was a Foot
(Artist Credit: Noel of Lady Luck)

Matthew 6:26 states: "Look to the birds of the air. They do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into fields; and yet your Father provides for them. Are you not more worthy than these?"

 (Pardon my Hobbit Toes)

 I have a harrowing tendency to worry myself into a state of inability to move beyond my fear. As such, the image on my foot was born of the knowledge that I should let my burdens lie, and leave the worry to God. The five birds represent each amazing member of my immediate family, whom I worry about more than most. They are included to remind me that they too, are cared for and loved by the same One who cares for the sparrows.

Chapter Two: And Then There Was The Arm
(Artist Credit: Telisa Swan of Swan Family Ink)

"Therefore now I am going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her." Hosea 2:14

Contrary to speculation of strangers when I first read them my arm tattoo- this is not a prelude to a recitation of erotic poetry. It is, in fact, one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible in which God details His unending and continuing love for the people of Jerusalem.

I had this put on my arm when I realized the love I wanted was not the same love I needed. I needed to turn back to the One who would never back out. Never walk away. Who would continue loving me even if I turned away.

Chapter Three: And Suddenly There Was a Right Thigh
(Artist Credit: Enzo [Outline] and Sarah Rose Pokalsky [Shading/Hawaii])

The world sits on my right thigh and hip. No, truly. It's right there (Even though I almost forgot Hawaii and had to have it added later. Sorry. Aloha. Sorry.) I have the travel bug (said every basic girl ever). But it's more than that. I wanted to remind myself not to get closed in, to not settle. Its so easy to decide we've seen all there is to see. 

Travel is a gift to the heart and the mind. It expands our horizons, encourages open-mindedness, and gives societies a fighting chance to try and understand each other. I has the globe drawn to constantly remind me that I can't stop now, because there is way too much world out there waiting for me.

Chapter Four: And Lo, There Came a Left Thigh
(Artist Credit: Sarah Rose Pokalsky)

For as long as I can recollect, there was a beautiful picture hanging in the hallway of my childhood home. It depicted hot air balloons in a sky above an abandoned barn and Model T car in a field. The tattoo firstly represents that memory, and the rediscovery of the unending curiosity that accompanied my childhood. 

I look at this Hot Air Balloon to remind me that no matter how great the obstacles or fears, giving a good old-fashioned try is the only way to find out if something can be changed. And lastly (sorry, Mom) It's been my mother's dream for years to take a ride in a hot air balloon. Someday, that will come true. I'll make sure of it.

Chapter Five: The Introduction of The Calf
(Artist Credit: Sarah Rose Pokalsky)

The most recent addition to the Gallery: a chandelier. Not just any old chandelier, and definitely not a Sia-inspired I-Wanna_Swing-From-The-Chandelier chandelier. This tattoo is a rendering of the grand chandelier from The Phantom of The Opera. 

The chandelier has two representations. One: my gratefulness to my father and anyone else who ever encouraged and educated me in the arena of music and acting. They are lifelong gifts that can never be taken, destroyed, or replaced. 

Two: The chandelier in The Phantom of The Opera opens as a destroyed, shattered relic of the grand fixture it once was. Dusty, mangled, and forgotten. Truly, the chandelier's only true act in the play is when it comes crashing down from the high ceiling of the Paris Opera, nearly destroying everything and everyone in it's path, setting fire to the building itself.

For the last three years: I've felt an awful lot like that chandelier. No, I haven't crushed anyone or set any buildings on fire lately, but I felt just as useless and destructive. I believed I had failed miserably at being the picturesque individual I was supposed to be. I've seen myself as useless, broken, and unnecessary.

 But the chandelier makes a comeback. In The Phantom of The Opera, just when it appeared completely broken, and too far gone to be of any use- the fixture is repaired, raised high, and although slightly dustier than it was before: it gives off light once again.

I hope I can give light someday as well.

My ink makes me feel strong. I can look at each of the images on my body and rest assured that the memory and story behind each picture will be carried with me forever: far-outlasting pen, paper, or computer chip.

Whatever your opinion of tattoos may be- whether for them, against them or indifferent; I ask you this... We are all waiting to be read. To be heard. To be seen. Please do not pass by a book merely because the illustrations on the cover aren't perfect or beautiful enough for your tastes. There is no such thing as perfection. And you may be missing out on a story of a life you haven't even begun to understand.

To be continued.