Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Tattoos...

I wanted to give some background and explanation on my little pieces of art.  I got my first “tat” (Is it still cool to call them that?) when I was only 18.  I actually got my nose pierced on my legal birthday, and then just a month later I was ready to rebel some more.  Ah, youth… 

Truth be told, if I could go back in time and never start this little body modification hobby, I would.  Once I hit my mid-20’s, I realized some of my tattoos had no significant meaning.  In the very least, they didn’t reflect the most important aspect of my life – my relationship with Jesus. 

Thus starting my quest to spiritualize what I was working with.  And I can finally say I am very happy with what I have on my body right now.  I would still love a memorial tattoo for my Gabey, but every time I try to decide what to get, nothing ever seems good enough to capture his memory.  So, here’s a tour…

My first tattoo is actually the only one you won’t see a picture of.  It’s a Chinese character.  On my lower back.  A “tramp stamp,” if you will.  Hey, it was the year 2000!  I could have done worse, right?  It’s not barbed wire around my arm!  I’m honestly lucky it still has meaning to me today, because I literally flipped through a book, pointed to one that didn’t look too complicated, and chose a character that means “life” and “grow.”  And, yes, it did take me almost ten years after it was permanently put on my body to make sure that what I have is actually an accurate translation on the symbol.

By the next year, I was a married woman living in Hawaii because my then-husband was in the military.  I realize that sentence isn’t enough to cover all the questions you now have.  Let’s just summarize the whole experience by saying I was young, needed to figure out some life lessons with my own experiences, and spent two years working on an abusive marriage with an addict. 
Anyyyyway, while visiting my family in MD, my next tattoo was a butterfly on my right upper arm.  At the time it symbolized growing up, turning into a woman, and flying on my own.  Cute.  Here’s a shot of it in my wedding gown:

It wasn’t until January 2010 that I added a bible verse underneath.  I wanted to add spiritual significance to something that was already forever placed on my body, so I chose 2 Corinthians 5:17, which reads: “Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation.  The old is gone, the new has come!”  What made it even more amazing was hearing my Pastor use the butterfly as an illustration for this very verse, over a year later!
Then for my 30th birthday, this past February, I actually had the entire piece on my arm re-done because it was obvious they were done at separate times... 

One thing I love about this piece is that it has started discussions about Jesus with complete random strangers.  From nurses in my midwives' office, to the couple I visited to get goat's milk.  "So, I see you're a new creation in Christ!"  For reals.  I also like that it can be hidden completely, or sometimes just peeks out from a top I’m wearing, like this:

The next tattoo was a single star on the top of my left foot.  It was 2003, I was dating Kyle.  Not yet married, I remembered the Hawaiian tradition of wearing a flower in your hair to let others know if you were single or married, like a ring – a flower behind your left ear, taken.  Flower behind the right, single.  So, at this point, I wanted a physical representation that I was “taken.”  I loved stars and thought it was perfect.  Truth be known, it was actually supposed to be colored in, but it HURT.  Like, a lot.
It took years until I had the courage to have anything added to this piece.  But, for my 30th birthday I decided on the addition of three more stars.  I came across a verse in Genesis when God asks Abram to count the stars in the sky and declares that’s how many children he will have!  I loved the idea of stars being descendants, so I added an additional star for Gabe, Zoe, and the baby we miscarried, Mercy.  I realize that this means I should probably continue adding more stars as we have more children, but right now I’m really content with what I have!  (Read:  Foot tattoos REALLY hurt!)

My last piece is the word “grace” on my left wrist.  LOVE this tattoo.  It’s really the only one I have that I see on a regular basis and I still shock myself sometimes when I randomly see it in the bathroom mirror while doing my hair, haha!  Since I was already “tatted up,” I decided I wanted a tattoo as a physical reminder of my faith.  To me, the word grace reminds me of two things: The grace my Savior has given to me, and the grace I need to extend to others. 

I will absolutely update you if/when I ever do get a tattoo for Gabriel.  In the meantime, I will continue to hunt for that perfect piece...


  1. There are so many things about this post that I'd like to discuss...

    1. LOL, oh I love you. Feel free to ask away!! :)

    2. I think it needs to wait for a phone call :)