Tattoos started in my early twenties, a little obsession which had me under the needle for a patchwork of hours closing in on a full day of pain and magic creams. At one stage, my five-year-old son had to administer cream to the parts of my back that no contortion would allow me to access. They marked out times, obstacles overcome, relationships ended. Each tattoo planned, begotten and relished. The colours, the shapes, the delicious look of the fresh paint hiding more of me or perhaps revealing more.
My tattoos are mine, they inhabit my back and – withstanding a sudden re-awakening as a bikini clad supermodel – will be hidden for the rest of their colourful life. That seems a shame. I look at others brandishing tattoos, names and spotted tribals where the desire to pick was too great to resist and feel the pangs. I can do better, I would never have allowed anyone to do that to me. I was lucky to have a great artist etch away at me, and now I’m lucky enough to know another whose work and outlook I admire. So I face the current dilemma, should I take the plunge and do my forearm? I’ve looked upon its pitted surface for years, the marks of another time and life on it and wished for the colour, the right image, the beautiful band-aid to lend itself to my flesh.
Having my back done means a fleeting flash of colour getting into the shower, a sometimes reminder in a low backed dress. Having your arm done is a daily viewing. I’ve found an image, a little Holden- inspired fun, that I think I won’t detest immediately. It marks the last four years of sacrifice and hardship, but can I take that plunge? Do I still need to declare myself as anything?
So to tattoo, or not tattoo? I want it. Writing this has made me want it more, but the logistical nightmare of long sleeves around my parents (yes, I’m that whipped) for the rest of my days is a torture I may not endure. That said I’m 35 and should be able to make these decisions as a sentient human being (albeit one who still can’t bear her mothers ‘disappointed’ face).
What do you think, ink or not?