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  • barefootbellringer


Beginning in my teen years I wanted a tattoo. It was strictly forbidden because only men got tattoos and those who did were either sailors or convicts.

Uh huh.

When I turned 40 I debated again about getting a tattoo...and let myself be talked out of it.

I decided the year I turned 50 was the year. I started with two, and now I have eight. And this year I'll be 55.

First one and second one were procured at the same appointment.

Behind my left ear is the infinity symbol and a semi-colon. The semi-colon was developed as a symbol of support for people who struggle with suicidal ideation. It's a reminder that our life should be about the semi-colon and not the period. When you're reading a sentence and some to a semi-colon; it is a reminder that thought is finished, yet not the sentence. When feeling suicidal it is important to remember that the bad day will pass, it's not the end of the story.

On my right leg towards my ankle is a stylised butterfly in profile. Butterflies are symbols of new life and survival. I ascribe to both of those things.

It is worth noting that all of my tattoos are black and grey. No colour. And that's intentional.

On my left wrist is tattooed the word "Hope" and it has a bird perched on the "h" and another bird in flight on the "e". Hope is something I can always manage, even when I cannot manage love.

Tattoo number four is of a tree of life. It lives on the top of my back and is the size of my outstretched hand. The summer I got that, my grandson wanted to come with me because he was thinking at the time (he was about 14) of getting a tattoo when he turned 18. About an hour into the tattoo work he excused himself and went outside for some fresh air. I no longer think a tattoo is in his future.

Number five is beneath the word hope and was done by the same artist. There is a large feather and beside it is a quote from an Emily Dickenson poem. "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tunes without the words and never stops at all."

Number six was with a new artist, the third artist I've seen and the first woman. It is on my right wrist and is of a dandelion when it has turned to the white fluffy dandelion, about to spread the puffs all over the place. On the stem it spells out "Ruah" which is a transliteration of the Hebrew word meaning spirit, breath or wind.

Number seven was a small addition to the dandelion tattoo with some more seeds, and the addition of the Hebrew word on my right wrist, as well as a semi-colon.

Number eight was procured the same appointment as number seven and is my largest piece to date. This was done in consultation with the artist who is amazing. I had an idea that I wanted to show something which addressed the heart/head balance that I live daily. I wanted something that would be unique and kinda weird. And she delivered. It is an ornate set of scales. On one side is an anatomical heart and the other side is an anatomical brain. On the balance the brain is heavier than the heart. It's unlike anything I've seen before and I love it! Number eight is on my right forearm and with the addition of a little bit of white highlight, it looks three dimensional.

Yes, I am thinking about what I want next. And I have some ideas...but nothing that's ripening as of yet. I have a hard time saying "no" and I had thought of a barbed wire love heart with the word "nope" on the inside. Still pondering that. May be a firefly? Perhaps another quote? A symbol of world religions? Dunno. All possibilities. Who knows, maybe I'll ask a friend to take photos of the various tattoos and post them here.

What I do know is that they make me feel powerful and unique. And I like that.

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