I love it so much that I am actually going to get it tattooed on my upper left arm. Quite large.
That's right. I am getting a tattoo. On March 18th.
I am guessing most people are shocked and possibly a bit disgusted that anyone would "deface" their body. That's okay. I can understand those feelings.
My father had tattoos. On his arms. He got them when he was in the merchant navy. A young man out on a drunken night with friends. I grew up thinking tattoos were normal and okay. As I got older I realised that, to other people, tattoos had a negative tone to them.
But I love them. I see them as body art. Ownership. Expression of oneself. I have thought about getting one for at least 25 years. I did not get one for a couple of reasons. My husband was not keen and was of the thought that a tattoo on me would make him feel differently about me. The other and most important reason was that never in 25 years did I ever see anything that I would have considered exactly what I wanted.
Then, one day last year, after looking at literally thousands of pictures, I came across the one that hit the very spot. The one that made me say "that's it" with absolute and utter certainty. My heart filled with the joy of this awareness. It was then that I expressed to my husband how strongly I felt about it and he understood and both he and I knew that no matter what I did, he would love me just the same.
Some people say "what about when you get wrinkly and old" and I say that by then I really will have bigger things to worry about. Others ask about the pain and will I cope and the answer is "yes". Because I am doing what I want. I am told that people will think poorly of me but I know that those who know and like/love me will feel just the same about me. Everyone else can have their own thoughts. I know who I am.
My son thinks it is great. Will this make him get a tattoo when he is older? Maybe. Maybe not. I doubt it though. By the time he is older tattoos will be out of fashion. One thing he knows is that it is important to not make these sorts of decisions when young and impulsive.
In my mind, that girl is me, that tree is a friend and I love it more each day. When I think of finally getting the tattoo I feel like a circle is about to be completed within me.
Away beyond the Jarboe house
I saw a different kind of tree,
Its trunk was old and large and bent,
And I could feel it look at me.
The road was going on and on
Beyond to reach some other place.
I saw a tree that looked at me.
And yet it did not have a face.
It looked at me with all its limbs
It looked at me with all its bark.
The yellow wrinkles on its sides
Were bent and dark.
And then I ran to get away,
And then I stopped to turn and see,
The tree was bending to the side
And leaning out to look at me.”
Elizabeth Madox Roberts
“Voices of Verse, Book Three” edited by Harry Flynn, Ray MacLean, and Chester Lund. Illustrated by Marion Humphrey’s Matchitt. Lyons & Carnahan, 1934. This particular book was for Room III, Grade 6 of Assumption School in Eden Valley, Minn.