Every day, I encounter a new challenge to the idea that things can and should be open and real.

Be it social, political, or personal, serious or trivial -- every time, I ponder the implications.

I hope you'll join me in the conversation!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Tattoo and The Beach

So here it comes….the family beach vacation and a week spent hiding my tattoo. What is wrong with me? I mean really.

Two years ago I got this absolutely rockin’ tattoo. I even wrote a short essay about it during a Davidson College alumni weekend modeled after the NPR “This I Believe” series. Here is an excerpt from that essay:

“I needed permanent representation of bringing my heart and mind to peace with nearly ten consecutive, tumultuous years involving (illness), professional struggle, marital crisis, and infertility. Enough was enough, and my soul hungered for a ritual to mark my moving forward. When the voice of the universe whispered repeatedly the answer was a Eurasian practice of permanent decorative skin marking from Neolithic times, I was stunned. I expected something more like a new sports car.”

As much as I adore this new part of me, I cringe at the idea of sharing it with people I think will judge me. I’m an adult two times over and I still can’t be my full self with my own parents. I have a cousin half my age who floats in the same general familial goo I grew up in who proudly sports her tatt and even had her wedding dress cut to show it off last month. She and I recently reconnected after well over 10 years of no contact, and I’m wondering if there is a higher opportunity there. Maybe she is my bridge to “coming out” with my art. I’m thinking about sending my full “This I Believe” essay to the folks before beach week.

I may need to just bite the bullet and ‘fess up and move on. I’m not really in the mood for hiding anymore. Any thoughts and advice are more than welcome. I’ll post how it goes soon.
(For the record, if you are looking for the real deal in a great tattoo artist and shop, find Robert Ashburn at http://www.liquiddragontattoo.com/.)


Heather McChesney said...

I hid mine for a bout 10 years. Luckily for me, it is inside my panty line on the right side of the front of my hip. Unless, I was naked, no one was seeing it unless I wanted them to.

I finally fessed up to my parents and grandmother about 4 years ago, and it felt better. Granted, I had accidentally thrown my sister under the bus about her's and she kindly repayed the favor. So when asked about it, I was honest.

It's a release. Go for it! No need to come right out and tell them. If they see it, they see it. If they ask a question, answer it. You'll feel better.

Heather McChesney said...

I accidentally his the trash button on your email before I hit save address.

Anyway, I was in my late 20s by the time my parents found out. Therefore, seriously, what could they say or do. My mom simply said, "It's your body." My grandmother said, "Ohhhh pretty." My dad pretended to ignore the conversation therefore not having to give an opinionated statement. I have pretty awesomely liberal parents though. I mean they wouldn't have taken me when I was 18 to do it, but they weren't going to attempt to 'ground' me at 28.

The EDG said...

Thank you, Heather! This seems like solid advice. My folks are pretty cool in general. I just have this feeling dad will not roll with this as easily as my mom. He's 80 years old, and probably knows prisoners and ladies of he night have tattoos and that's it. Nervous!

Beth Newman said...

There's the IDEA of a tattoo, and then there is yours, which is amazing and perfect for you. Your dad may not totally get it, but he'll like the French part.

The EDG said...

So hilarious....my sister just sent this link: http://www.ehow.com/how_2187897_tell-parent-got-tattoo.html

It says "whether you are 15 or 25..." This suggests to me that I really need to get over it.

Connie said...

No tats for me, but I got my belly pierced to mark a moment in my life and my mother still refuses to even look at it. I almost never expose my navel (except at the beach). The piercing was a private ritual for a private reason - it's enough to know that I have it. With that said, I don't hide it either.

The EDG said...

I like that. "Private ritual for a private reason." Now if I can just get to the "don't hide" part.