I always wanted tattoos. There, I said it. I admit it. I have always loved them. My spouses, however, did not.
I first talked about getting a tattoo about 10 years ago. It met with a resounding, NO. They are trashy, stupid and well, they just don’t fit the image of a corporate wife. So I tucked the idea back into the folder marked, SOMEONE THINKS THIS IS A STUPID IDEA, and returned the folder to the back of my brain…you know the place, dusty and dark. Where ideas go to die. Big Sigh.
Fast forward to September 2009. Thru the magic of Facebook I was re-connected with my most lovely and talented (shameless friend plug!!) Julie. Julie lives in California and at the time, I was in Indiana. We had been inseparable for a while in Junior High and the beginning of high school. Then, without warning, our life together ended and my friend was lost forever. Until Facebook. I don’t remember who found who, but it never really mattered. We were together again and I had my Julie back. In September 2009 I flew to California to see her after nearly 30 years apart. I was so excited that I told our story to everyone on the plane and when we landed, they let me depart the plane first. As I ran into her arms crying and laughing at the same time, I knew my life would be forever better and more peaceful because of her. And as we stood looking at each other, passengers that had heard our story watched and cried with us.
Ah, but this was supposed to be a story about tattoos…okay back to the story. Julie and I discovered that secretly the other really wanted a tattoo. So we decided that at age 45, we were getting our first tattoos! After many phone calls and careful screening (having a friend in the healthcare field makes them paranoid about the cleanliness of tattoo shops), we decided to head to Tried and True Tattoo in Arroyo Grande. We knew instantly we made the right decision. What a great place!!!
So as Julie met with one tattoo artist, I began to consult with another. Not paying much attention to Julie, I continued to realize my dream of having my first tattoo – a Sweet Pea (the flower, not the vegetable) on my lower back. I call my daughter Sweet Pea, and it was the first and only choice for my tattoo. My artist spent a considerable amount of time drawing and finally presented my sketch to me for approval. A little larger than I had expected, but I was ready for the challenge. He makes the final stencil and readies my back for the process. He explains I will be sitting backwards in a chair for a while. Bent forward. It isn’t going to be comfortable, but he knows I will manage. Meanwhile, Julie readies herself for her first tattoo as well. As the room fills with that familiar buzzing of the tattoo machine and that first sting of pain flows over the area, my artist tells me I must be still. How is that possible? I am so filled with excitement and can hardly contain myself. I will soon become a part of an elite group, like the Secret Societies in Singapore. I am going to learn the secret handshake, the code word, or maybe we have a nod. Something that let’s the others like us know that we too, are tatted.
About 5 minutes (I swear on my life it was 5 minutes!) later, Julie comes bouncing over to me with a huge smile on her face proclaiming “I am finished!!” I thought there was no way possible that she had been tattooed and assumed she had pulled a Rachel from FRIENDS and had the “world” tattooed on her ass. But as I look up, I see she has the words BE STILL tattooed on the inside of her wrist. And I listen to her explain that her favorite Psalm is 46:10:
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
So ok, I am going to cut her a break. What am I going to do? Call her out for getting a 5 minute tattoo that reminds her of God? Yeah, that will get me a first class ticket on the bullet train to hell.
So as best friends do, I love her tattoo. And I will never forget the moment we got our first tattoos together. And I will never forget the laughter we shared that day. I will never forget my first trip to In and Out Burger that night after we got our tattoos. I will never forget how we thought (and still do) we were badasses after we got our tattoos. I will never forget that trip to California. And I will never, ever forget that Xanax she found in the bottom of her purse and gave to me when I found out my first tattoo was going to take an hour and 45 minutes.