The story of three tattoos, one of them nonexistent

When I was in Seattle last month, I met Jenny and she showed me her tattoo and I fainted from joy. You can read all about it here. The tattoo, not the fainting. She asked about readers’ tattoos and I was going to reply but I think I’ve got more than a comment’s worth to say.

My first tattoo doesn’t exist. I was 18 years old and made an appointment to get a tattoo I’d been thinking about for about a year: a little dragonfly my best friend Lila and I drew on all our letters to each other. I’d drawn it for the artist and she’d done up a fancier version, with details and shading and all that jazz. It was going to be done in blue, because Lila often wrote in blue ink. It was going to be on my back, centered, just below my neck.

I was late to the appointment. Missed it entirely, in fact, though I got there in time to sit with my friend Lara while she got hers. I can’t remember what it was. The tattoist offered to reschedule me, but I decided to wait. I think I felt like it was not meant to be, since my lateness was not my fault. Who knows, maybe I just had nerves.

My first tattoo that does exist is a dragon on my left arm. It is similar to the one Angelina Jolie had (the one with Billy-Bob’s name), but damn it, I got mine first. Also, hers was straight from flash art and mine was redrawn by the tattoo artist, so it is one of a kind. PLUS, she had hers removed, so neener neener neener.


My second/third tattoo (depending on how you’re counting) is a set of three stars on my right shoulder. It was done entirely on a whim during an adventure we had when Sam was a baby. I would like to expand that tattoo into a half sleeve, which I realize is slightly ambitious considering the fact that it’s just three stars right now, but I think it has potential. I want to add the children’s zodiac symbols and Will and my motto (which is in Latin, so don’t tell Beth).

First, though, I need a fourth star. When I got the tattoo, it did not symbolize anything. I like stars and I like the number three. However, when Grace was born Sam pointed to the stars and said they were me, Daddy, and Sam, and where is Gracie? So you can see why I need to get a fourth right away, preferably last year.

While I am adding to existing tattoos, I have been considering changing my left arm. I don’t want to get rid of the dragon, but I’d like to incorporate it into something bigger. My idea is to get the Tree of Life, with roots wrapped around my elbow and branches up over my shoulder; the dragon would be incorporated into the trunk. It would be a HUGE tattoo and I won’t be doing it any time soon, but I keep thinking about it. Of course, I have a long list of tattoos I am thinking about.

6 thoughts on “The story of three tattoos, one of them nonexistent

  1. Jenny Grace

    April 25, 2011 at 9:39am

    Those all sound great. I spend a lot of time thinking about imaginary tattoos. I think I will get one more, maybe two. Still working out the exact ideas in my head.

  2. AmyLK

    April 25, 2011 at 10:08am

    I love your tattoos! I am thinking about getting another one with my best friend. Don’t know what yet, but it will have to symbolize something for both of us. I have 2 so far and they both mean something to me.

  3. Anne

    April 25, 2011 at 4:53pm

    I LOVE thinking about my future tattoos! And the idea that stars didn’t used to symbolize anything and now they do, that is just awesome.

  4. CosmicAvatar

    April 28, 2011 at 8:25am

    That is an amazing tattoo. (I only saw the film a couple of months ago.)

    Expanding on your dragon tattoo sounds really interesting. Must have photos when it’s done, yes?

  5. Al_Pal

    April 28, 2011 at 6:39pm

    Sweet! Came over from JG’s post & your comment, very cool. I don’t have any, but I have a lot of ideas. One of which is a “photorealistic fantasy” dragon, but I’m not sure how well that would/will work out!

  6. allison

    May 5, 2011 at 2:49pm

    Wasn’t it you who was considering adding the umbrella to the dragon? I loved that. Not that I don’t love your other ideas, too. The Tree of Life sounds wonderful.

    I have no tattoos. I don’t expect I will ever have one because I can’t think of anything that I would want to have permanently etched into my skin. Plus I am not sure where I would want one. I used to be really adamantly anti-tattoo when I was younger, but I have mellowed over the years. Now I enjoy seeing them on other people, and can admire their art. And now I find myself sometimes thinking about what ink I would want on myself. But I think that ship has most likely sailed for me.

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