Friday, November 27, 2015

That Tattoo on My Wrist

I'm not sure I've ever blogged about my surrogacy ink. But, given that it represents many of the things I am most thankful for, I figured this weekend would be a good time to talk about it.

First- a little background.
I got my first tattoo as a junior in college. The incredibly popular and often regretted tramp stamp seemed like a great idea at the time.  Knowing how my very conservative grandparents would react, I did what every self respecting grown ass woman would do. I tried to hide it from them.

Does that ever really work?

When grandma eventually found it, the fall out was catastrophic. While we did eventually mend fences, grandma would go on to tell me over the rest of her life  that my tattoo was the only time I ever truly disappointed her or that she felt ashamed of my decisions. We were always honest with one another to a fault, so I had to reply that I felt horribly that my choices had impacted her so, but that I did not feel the same, and that I did plan to get more ink in the future. I did promise to wait until after she and grandpa had passed to do it, out of respect.

That promise put my tattooing on hold for a bit over a decade. I knew where I wanted my next design, on my wrist, and I knew that I wanted it to be something symbolic, but not literal. Apart from that, I was open. After surrogacy I knew what it had to be.

I talked with several artists. 3 outright turned me down. 1 told me that any artist willing to do what I was asking was careless and dangerous. But, as grandma used to say, "If you want to see Mandy soar, tell her she can't fly.

The issue was with my desired placement- the heel of my hand and outer wrist- and my personal anatomy. I have very large veins positioned very close to the surface of my wrist. Apparently that's a problem. But I eventually did find an artist with a great portfolio who I trusted. We did have to alter my desired location just a pinch, but I was OK  that.

I wish you would have seen the look on his face though, when this soccer mom walked into his shop with her Burberry bag and heels, showing no other visible tattooing, asking for a 100% exposed tattoo in one of the most painful locations on the body without an ounce of hesitation. He tried to tactfully ask if I was aware that it wouldn't be concealable, and that it would hurt...a lot. I had to laugh. After waiting 10 years for this, there was no turning back.

Turns out he'd never done anything on this part of the body, I love being a trendsetter! My ink wound up making his portfolio, and a few of his advertising pieces as a result.

Anyway, the tattoo became my family tree, each life symbolized by a star. Symbolic, but not literal. The two medium stars are meant to represent my grandparents who raised me (irony not lost on me that they hated and disapproved of ink, and I wound up representing them in a tattoo). The two large stars represent Chris and I. And those 3 small, filled black stars on the bottom right? One each for Adelia, Emrys, and Eleanor.

And yes, I've left room to add a few more stars.