September 27th, 2011

New tattoo

I got an impulse tattoo today!

OK, not really, but sort of. When I woke up this morning, I had no intention of getting tattooed today, so I guess I can call ti impulsive.

There's a tattoo that I've wanted for ages-- the word "yes!" written on the palm of my left hand, as sort of a note to self. I envisioned it in my handwriting, in much the same way that one might write a phone number or a shopping list on one's hand. I wanted it as a reminder to myself that it's OK to say yes to things, OK to take risks, OK to step outside of my comfort zone. I wanted it to be enthusiastically positive.

The problem is that it's almost impossible to get a good tattoo on the palm of your hand. They blur. They fade. The ink works itself out. Many artists won't do them at all, because people are rarely happy with the results. I spent a fair bit of time hunting for an artist who could really do this well, but nothing panned out. The more I read and the more I thought about it, the less likely it seemed that I could do this well.

I have a rule: I never get a tattoo without thinking long and hard about what I want. I create the design and stare at it for a few weeks to see if it still speaks to me. I draw it on the body part, and redraw it periodically, so that I can see how it will feel as part of my body.

Today I was inspired to try writing it on my left wrist, to see if I liked the look of it. I did, though I played with the size and positioning a bit before I found one that I liked. I planned to redraw it every day and get a feel for it before making it permanent. I looked at it several times today, erased it, redrew it, looked at it some more. "Yeah, I'll probably do that sometime."

About mid-afternoon I realized that there was only one right way to do this particular tattoo-- impulsively. To do it otherwise would violate its spirit and intent.

I searched the web for a shop that took walk-ins, had a good reputation, and was open late enough for me. I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote "yes!" all over it, until it was suitably neat and legible, while still being very much my own. And then, when I left the office, I headed straight for the shop I'd chosen. Shortly thereafter, I had a new tattoo. It is exactly right.

New Tattoo