09 May 2013

Tattoo

On Friday the New York Times published the latest entry in their My Story series. It was by Louise Rafkin and called Forever, The Girl With The Unicorn Tattoo. Basics out of the way. She regrets her poorly drawn, ill-placed tattoo. Here, the ending of her essay:
Beyond my self-appointed mission to thwart young people from joining the tribes of the inked, my tattoo underscores a lesson I’ve had to learn time and again: some things in life are hard to undo. 
And for those who glibly claim that youthful indiscretions fade with time, I say this: sometimes not enough.
You don't really need to read the rest. Two things:

1) So tired of people pointing to tattoos and saying they are 'bad'. Just. YAWN.

2) She got a tattoo of a UNICORN that was traced from a coloring book. And she got it in GREEN on her ASS.

Of course your ass tattoo deformed with age. Of course it faded into a blobby thing. DUH DUH DUH DUH DUH. I am sorry that you and your friends got trampy overly girly tattoos that you regret. But. You do not know my life. Or anyone else's.

Rafkin projects her personal experience really out past the point of sense. She says that these 'youthful indiscretions' are not a good idea. That universally tattoos are bad decisions. Because she got a unicorn on her ass.

Yes, getting stupid tattoos is a bad decision. Just ask the folks with butterflies on the small of their back. Or the dude with a Tasmania Devil on his shoulder. Or...that guy up there with the Romney logo on his face.

But if it is meaningful, well done, and placed right - a tattoo can be amazing.

This woman had breast cancer and decided against implants. Instead, she opted for an amazing representation of beauty in the face of great personal loss.

Interestingly, Facebook took the photo down claiming it was 'offensive'.

And maybe I'm being hard on the cartoon tattoo folk of the world. Maybe Taz means a lot to some people.

I have 3. They all have great personal meaning. A story to with them.

Two I got in my early 20s and one in my early 30s. I plan on others. With time, the edges have softened and the color has faded. But I love them.

People are dumb. They do impulsive, irrational, hard to explain things daily. That some seem incapable of critical thinking is my take away from this essay and from pictures like the man with the Romney logo on his head.

That is the lesson that Rafkin should have learned. For the record, I think you could easily get a great unicorn tattoo. I don't know what that would look like and this Google search is a hot mess.

A tattoo should be like those of the Illustrated Man in Ray Bradbury's classic book of stories. Each with a tale to tell. A future and past to showcase. Even a bad one. Those stories are important too. And wishing them away is missing the point.

We make decisions. They impact us. We cannot erase or eliminate ourselves in this way. And even if it gets all discolored and blobby. That history got us here. We can point to it, even if it is on our ass, and say "I did this. This is when, where, how, and why." Even that guy with the Romney tattoo can look in the mirror and know what 2012 meant for him. That's more than a lot of people can say.