Monday, March 19, 2012

My Tattoo

No, I didn't get another one but I was asked about mine this morning at Jazzercise.  There are also a ton of tattoo joints here in Destin.  I'm wondering how many spring-breakers went home with ink last week.
I had been toying with the idea of getting a tattoo some years ago.  My friend, Sue Buese, and I thought it would be cool to get a toe ring tattoo - until we found out that it really hurt.  Now, all tattoos hurt, of course, but I guess the toe smarts quite a bit and we just weren't into the whole "ouchy" thing.
So a number of years went by when the tattoo idea came up again.  It was a few months after I'd been diagnosed with breast cancer and we were on a lighthouse tour in Wisconsin.  As I was falling asleep one night a vision/picture/idea came to me.  I knew if I ever got a tattoo it would have to have be pretty significant for me.  Not a cartoon character or a picture of my dog long since dead.  No, something that would never lose its meaning for me.

And this is what I saw as I was falling asleep.  People "get" the pink ribbon but they always ask me about the dark stuff surrounding it.  It's the "oh, shit, I have cancer" feeling I got when the doctor called with the news.
After the idea was formed the second part was - where on my body is this thing going to go?  That issue was quickly solved when I realized that the outside of my lower leg was probably the only place on my body that might not sag with age.
The third question was: how big should this sucker be?  Well, since I'd waited until my late 50s to get a tattoo, I really thought you should be able to see it  from a block away.  I think I achieved that goal.
For me, my tattoo is a salute to all the women who have gone before me.  It's also a show of support to the women who are walking the path right now and I like to think it also serves to remind all women to take care of themselves.  Get those mammograms.  If you're young but fall into a high risk category, don't let ANYONE tell you, you don't need a mammogram.  Beat down the doors until you find someone that will listen to you.
Oh, and yes, it hurt but just like many people will tell you who are sporting tats, it was worth it.


  1. Ellen, I don' think I remembered the tattoo. I have also given some serious thought to having one "installed" but the question is where? I know the subject matter and I think I would choose a spot on my foot instep so that when I meditate I could see it. For angel in spoon position with a baby with Jason's initials and birth-death dates. Good thing I have size 10's. It is such a personal decision AND who would do it? What if my lack of immune system caused problems? Decisions, until I am settled about those items it remains an item of distraction when settling into meditation.

  2. Oh, Cath, just thinking of a tat on your instep makes me squirm. Seems like that would hurt like hell. Check with your doc and see what he/she thinks.
    I will tell you that I got cellulitis when I got my tattoo (no one's fault; just my weird body) and again when I had it touched up. Still worth it.

  3. Both creative and symbolic...I like it. I won't ever do a tattoo but I can understand why you chose this one.