I’m not a tattoo aficionado by any definition of the word.
I’ve never seriously considered getting one.
I mean… I have been drawn to the idea. I am sure you and I both have contemplated what it might look like to put pictures over our bodies. Perhaps thinking it might define us in some way. Perhaps thinking SEGA is forever. Perhaps because we think it’ll make us part of a cool crowd with all the hot people in it.
But I was never ready to take the leap; caution in the face of the permanent. A few years back I read a very good article calling for caution as well. I cannot recall the publication it was in, nor its exact wording. But the gist was a woman retelling how she got a tattoo at an early age and regretted doing so. But rather than removing the tattoo, the regret itself gave it meaning she wanted to keep.
The symbol became a symbol of the reason it had no meaning to her.
And it got me thinking.
And now I want a tattoo.
Her story to me wasn’t a cautionary tale. It was a call to action to define an aspect of myself that I’d be happy to make permanent. Regret comes from capturing something ephemeral and not an intrinsic truth.
I am picky though.
It might be tempting to grab straight for a famous quote that I feel captures a truth. But that’s someone else’s words. I don’t want other people’s second-hand words on my body. And let me tell you; digging for a worthy truth is hard work. So hard that I haven’t been sufficiently focused on it to converge on anything yet. Shame on me!
I know a few of the requirements though:
- It needs to be Qenya because I am a geek
- It needs to be in Tengwar
- It needs to be profound and personal
- It needs to look good written down
- I need a professional artist I can trust to get it perfect first go
I need to learn Elvish.
I need to capture a meaningful truth.
I need to translate it and write it out.
I need to decide where it’ll fit best on my body.
I need to see if any contacts know a suitable artist for this job.
And then, I need to Just Do It.
I don’t know how the writing happens the way it does. But I have noticed more than once after writing a piece how clever juxtapositions just happen somehow; “drawn to the idea” when talking about tattoos, “cool crowd” with “hot people“.
It might all look like carefully orchestrated writerly craft in the finished product, but that’s exactly how it came out in the first place. And I worry a little that as I work on my craft, purposeful intent might start getting in the way of this happen-stance. That conscious effort will push instinct out of the way.
Maybe I just over-think my meta.