Wednesday, October 23, 2013


It is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time.  A tattoo.  I have had tattooed friends since I was in the 5th grade.  The problem was, that growing up as a missionary kid,  in a conservative home, I was taught that tattoos were evil, sinful and even potentially the "mark of the beast".    If that is the case, I guess I'm screwed and God can stop spending so much of his time loving me.  Cause I went out and got ink.

It has been and still is a long journey.  I was talking to some friends the other day who jokingly agreed that kids should be beat into submission.  I calmly disagreed with them and explained that beating kids into submission is much like breaking a horse.  You break their will to be free, to roam a horse.   

I read an article recently about a child who was standing in line with his father.  The child, being a child, repeatedly asked his father to buy this or that.  The father, finally fed up, shut the child down, telling him to stand there silently or else.  This article struck home, and I realized that as a child and into adulthood,  I had been broken.  Afraid to speak up, to ask questions, to live my own life.  I based decisions on what I thought my parents would approve of.  (hint: your children seek your approval). 

After many discussions, with the voice in my head, friends and of course the wife,  I decided to do it.  It only took me  1 yr from the time I decided to move forward to getting it.  Lots of logistics,  as in: how do I find an artist I trust?  what design? etc.  But then I talked to a friend this weekend who had a really cool piece on her arm and it clicked.  She told me that the work was done at Empire Tattoo.

I walked into Empire Tattoo yesterday and told Brian what I had in mind.  We had some discussion and came up with a simple design.  I liked it and was ready to go forward but needed the wife's approval.  I took a copy of the design home and she loved it, so it was all systems go. 

I walked in again today to get started.  The artist,  Ryan, spent a little time on the drawing board, dialing in the final design, showed it to me for approval, then went to work. 

Now, I must say,  I don't do needles.  I used to get my cavities filled with no numbing, just to avoid the needle.  I gave blood once, and nearly could not make it back to my dorm,   I was useless the rest of the day.   Knowing that I was squeamish, I practiced all of my relaxation techniques and things seemed to be going well.  Until suddenly, I knew that passing out was just around the corner.  I told Ryan I was light headed and he stopped working, got some water for me, a cold cloth, and a Dum Dum. 

Here I was, manning up to get some tattoo work, and now I was laying on the floor,  about to pass out.  It didn't really hurt,  it was likely the anxiety that had me losing my cool.  Ryan was chill about the whole process, telling me that this was normal.  I asked him how far he got, considering living the rest of my life with a half finished piece of artwork on my finger.  I was surprised when he said he was over halfway done.   Several more minutes of recovering went by, I tried to get up once, but was not quite ready. 

I don't know how much time went by, but we finally got back to work.  I decided to close my eyes and imagine that I was somewhere else.  After little time, he sat up and asked what I thought.  I was and am very pleased. 

The design simple yet so deep with meaning that only those who know me well will truly understand,  yet on the surface it makes perfect sense: permanence and infinity,  the promise to be with my wife forever, is now forever tattooed on my skin.

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