Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lydia, Oh Lydia

I am thinking of getting a tattoo.

I do not currently have any tattoos. I have never considered getting a tattoo before. I've always placed tattoos rather firmly in the "not at all my thing" camp.

It's not an aesthetic choice, per se. I admire cool tattoos and have a secret, very un-serious  quarter-sleeve fantasy. It's my indecision, really, that has prevented me from considering any actual ink. I can't decide what I want for lunch. How can I possibly settle on something as permanent and enduring as a tattoo?

But I've been thinking lately that I might want to do that. I feel like I'm coming back to myself in so many ways-- I'm writing, I'm learning, I'm moving forward in my therapy, I've dropped 34 pounds and counting, I just started Pilates this week and am seeing a path toward better physical shape. Good stuff is happening. And I'm finding myself with a lot of enticingly blank slates to fill.

Example: I have just about shrunk out of all of my clothes. None of the stuff from the regular rotation of the past couple of years fits at all anymore, and even the few things I've bought since I started losing weight are beginning to sag. My first two pairs of skinny jeans are officially too baggy to wear. 

(Side note: skinny jeans! The sweet reward for the apple-shaped woman! I'll continue to keep my midsection shrouded in mystery, thank you, but down below, my legs are... well, sort of bangin', as the kids say. Skinny jeans were made for me, as it turns out. Who knew?! 

Lovely pear-shaped women, enjoy your a-line skirts and tiny-waisted torsos. I no longer begrudge you your excellent good fortune. Because I have my skinny legs tucked into some killer boots and I'm willing to walk proudly amongst you once again. (Not that I shouldn't have been all along, I realize, but I wasn't. Leaving aside the obvious rants about conforming to societal beauty norms for a moment: I look better, I feel better, and I am more healthy as a result of the inner and outer work I've been doing. I'm okay with that.))

Anyway. I'm holding off on a full wardrobe replacement until I'm closer to my goal weight, and that's far enough away that I expect to drop another couple of sizes before I get there. But I do need some interim stuff. And I am realizing how dull and boring my wardrobe has been for the past... decade or more.

I am not, by nature, a conservative dresser. Not that you'd know this, looking in my closet. There are a lot of black t-shirts and boring jeans in there. A lot of fade-into-the-background stuff. A lot of I'm-sorry-you-have-to-look-at-me-in-this-condition-so-I'll-try-to-minimize-the-horror stuff. That right there was an unspoken organizing principle for my recent wardrobe.

Oh, the things we do to ourselves!

So I'm looking around and thinking, I used to be sort of rock-and-roll. I used to be daring, with a definite edge. I used to be cool, in fact. And I'd like to be cool again. I'd like a little more pizzazz. And how the hell do I go about finding it?

I find that I don't know how to shop anymore. I don't know how to develop a signature style (other than my ubiquitous jeans and black shirts). I've got a lot more options than I did before, and I will even admit that I look young for my age and can get away with more than one might expect for a 41-year old woman. And the spirit is willing and the flesh is tired of being shrouded in baggy boredom.

So: blank slate. Mama needs some new clothes. My youngest sister, Liz, is on standby, more than willing to come Shopping (capital S) with me when the time comes. Exciting. Intimidating. Rejuvenating!

And that brings me back to the other idea that's been whispering itself to me: a tattoo. I think I want one. And I have no idea what I want it to look like.

I want something small and simple. I am drawn to words, of course, and also to delicate line drawings. An image seems less likely to resonate deeply with me than a word or words, but I'm open to either or to both. 

I also really like white tattoos and think I might do that if I can be convinced it won't look too much like scar tissue on my extremely fair skin, so we're talking about something pretty subtle, here. As for placement, I am --surprisingly-- drawn to my inner left forearm, up near my elbow. No idea why. But I'm going with it-- there's a certain intuitive click to that spot, so I'm not going to question it. I suspect all of my decisions about this tattoo will confirm themselves that way.

The transformation that I've been discussing in this blog is the driving force behind this, of course, and I want the tattoo to represent it in some way. I've considered the lightning bolt avatar I use here, but I like the idea of that more than I like the thought of an actual lightning bolt tattoo. Unless I can find a really, really cool image. And maybe a word or two to go with?

"The Girl Who Lived" is interesting, although, again, I think I like the theory more than the fact of it. It's a bit cumbersome.

I don't know, you guys. This is hard. So I am officially asking you for help.

What tattoo should I get?


  1. I'll come back but right now I need to go on a long, probably very long, image hunting spree now that I've ben told there are white ink tatooos...

  2. KateTheGirlWhoLived12 January, 2013 14:49

    Yep. You're welcome. ;>

  3. I have to thank you for the Muppets link. Love them...and Lydia kind of looks like me, although my tattoos are about my history, not American history. ; )
    As for you, tattoos are so personal. My advice is always the same. Take your time to really think about it (which you are obviously doing) and never get one because it's funny. The joke will get old. Honestly, you'll just know the right one when you find it.

  4. I love the idea of a white tatoo!  Didn't know they existed either un til you showed them to me.  They are subtle and beautiful, but , then again, I am not a fan of the colored versions.  The rose that turn to a lily over time.  It'd probobly take me years to decide on an image.  But yours will come to you as you heal.. I think the theme will be based on that.