Once upon a time, a few months ago….
No, wait. That doesn’t feel right. Let’s try again.
I’ve always been a bit of a rebel. Sort of. I guess you could call me a…wimpy rebel? A rebel who is also afraid of getting in trouble? Is there a word for that? A…um…you get the point.
For years I was, and admittedly continue to be, dictated by the fear of getting in trouble by authority figures, something that I unfortunately lacked when among my own people. Growing up, I was in a constant state of flux between rebellion and “perfect citizen.” At home, I was a devil child. At school, never a better student did you see.
My at-home rebellion was never anything huge: hiding the vitamins I didn’t want to take under seat cushions, avoiding doing chores of any sort, riding my bicycle around the block without my mother’s permission, etc… Normal spoiled-and-stubborn-youngest-child stuff. I’m sure that my family would say that I am much worse than I am letting on, in which case I would probably have to agree. I blush to think of some of the things I said and did when I was younger. I’m blushing now just thinking about thinking about it. But, still. In the world of rebellion, it would be considered very minor league stuff.
Which is why getting a tattoo is my peak of rebellion.
My family members, once they discovered my rebellious actions, reacted with surprise and exasperation. The surprise came from their knowledge of my needle phobia. The exasperation came from…well, it seems like I’m always doing something to exasperate them.
Aside: It frustrates me that people can’t seem to grasp the difference between syringes and tattoo needles. Yes, it’s true that I despise the terrifyingly long needles that are used for inserting or removing liquids directly into and from my bloodstream. However, tattoo needles, and needles used for piercing ears and such, don’t commit such heinous crimes. Therefore, I have no reason to fear them. Tattoo needles may indeed insert liquid into the skin, causing a butt load of pain in the process, but they’re not nearly as intrusive as syringes. It’s not that complex an idea! Or, maybe it is, and this is just my contradictory personality at work again.
Sorry. I’m getting off track.
Anyway, unlike most television portrayals of such ventures, my tattoo was not the result of a night of wild, drunken, spontaneous rebellion. Well, the timing was a bit spontaneous. There wasn’t any wild drunkenness, though. Sorry to disappoint. The truth is that I had wanted a tattoo for a few years, and I was tired of waiting. Plus, my friend Shawna was wanting one too.
So, one Saturday we hopped in the car and headed to the City.
As soon as we arrived at the tattoo parlor, I felt immediately out of place. The blackout windows, rock music, big bulky guys covered in piercings and tattoos, and slightly inappropriate pictures on the walls did not blend with my middle-class, small-town self. It probably didn’t help that I was wearing a tank top covered in cute little cartoon moons and earrings in the shape of owls.
This alienness greatly increased when I revealed to the tattoo artists what I was there for: a pattern of simple little birds on my ankle. Their dismayed and exasperated expressions immediately informed me what a cliche and teenage-white-girl request I had made. Which, honestly seemed kind of rude and uppity. I mean, I’m sorry, good sir, that I don’t also want the image of a creepy leprechaun permanently etched onto my shoulder. Besides, I wanted birds before they were cool.
Despite their disapproval of our tattoo choices, and obvious doubt that I would go through with it, they agreed to oblige us. Appointments were made, time blurred, papers were signed, money was passed, and before I knew it I was sitting in a slightly creepy dentist-like chair in the back of the parlor getting my first tattoo.
Some of you may be wondering: Was it painful? Well…Have you ever had a tooth drilled when your mouth is only half numbed up? Cause it reminded me of that. For Shawna, it felt a bit different, “like an electric kitten scratch on some parts, and on other parts like he was holding a burning cigarette onto my skin.” Really, Shawna? How do you know what that feels like? Despite the negative, and slightly strange, mental images that I’ve just given you, it really wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be.
Still, it’s not an experience I’m likely to forget anytime soon. Especially since it’s now immortalized on the internet.
And, no, I don’t regret my decision.