With everything that is going on with Tanya the last thing I need to do is import drama. And there are other things going on with my family that needs attention and hopefully resolution will be found there soon. I’m about to inherit my older sister’s two Weimaraners so I’m going to have two large dogs again, which is a great thing, but the two Pibble Princesses are going to have to learn to share me with Canine Cousins. Oh, and I do have a job that would really like for me to focus on work at least eight hours a day or so.
I decided to get a tattoo using the pattern of the snake that bit Tyger Linn. I went back to the place that did my last one because they do good work. The downside is I don’t remember the last guy who did the last one and I wind up talking to this really young guy whose portfolio isn’t exactly brimming with breathtaking works of art. He seems intense and excited about the project so we make an appointment for Sunday afternoon at two.
I’m on the way there at one thirty and he sends me a text wanting to back it up to three. Hmmm, well, okay, so thirty minutes later he sends another text backing it up thirty more minutes and I tell him that’s out of my time frame. I can devote a half of an afternoon waiting on this guy but he texted me back saying he can do three. Okay.
At three I’m there and he’s not so I sit around and talk to tattoo people which is always, always, always a good time. You either have tattoos or you don’t. There isn’t a middle ground. You either understand why people get them or you won’t. And here we go.
People ask me what my tattoos are going to look like when I’m seventy and I ask them (a) who really gives a damn what they look like at seventy if they make it there and (b) who really looks good at that point anyway? People point out that tattoos are permanent and what am I going to do if I change my mind? “I am alone here in my own mind. There is no map. There is no road” ( Anne Sexton) That was the last tattoo I had put on my arm. That quote is me. It will always be me. It has always been me. They aren’t putting anything on me that wasn’t always there anyway, just not visible to the naked eye.
You sit down and ask someone who has never had a tattoo of they want one and most people have an idea, some sort of yearning, but when it gets down to the skin, the most frequent answer you get from bare people is fear. “What will other people think?” That’s also permanent. That is also something you have to live with for the rest of your life.
But it is a hell of a lot harder to remove.
Sit down and ask someone with a dozen tattoos if they regret it and wished they had never done it and you’ll never find remorse. You’ll never find someone whose body is a canvas for one of the oldest form of art our species has ever known and find someone who would rather be invisible again.
I want to wear that snake pattern on my arm and I will. It’s a symbol of who Tyger Linn is, a dog with a past and now a future, whose instincts to hunt cannot be denied. I wish she wouldn’t hunt and maybe I can affect that, but this pattern teaches me that there are forces beyond my control. Tyger Linn has to know hunting is dangerous but she is driven. I didn’t move out into the woods to declare on nature but that philosophy doesn’t affect nature at all. Venomous snakes will still arrive as they will and the consequences of that is something that I will wear, also. That simple band around my arm means I acknowledge that I lack control of some things in my life. I accept this as a part of my life.
A quote from Anne Sexton and the pattern of a venomous snake and I assure you, it will not end there. None of the three tattoos I have are visible when I wear long sleeves but that will change. The ink will flow again. There’s no reason for me to waste any part of my body when there is something that that needs to be revealed. Perhaps the face of the Loki Mutt on my right arm, perhaps the pattern of a Diamondback intertwined on my leg, Rhiannon’s image on my calf, and maybe a quote from Carl Sagan somewhere there’s room for it.
There are two reactions to all of this; acceptance of the art or rejection of the art. It is really quite that simple. When I’m seventy I will regret the love I have lost, I will regret not treating people better when they were here, and I will certainly regret missing Jimmy Carter by a hair when I tried to choke him when I was thirteen years old.
But I will never regret the time I spent writing. I will never regret loving someone even if I got hurt. I will never regret a dog. I will never regret what love brought or what it didn’t bring. And I will never regret allowing my body to express my spirit and soul.
You either get that or you’re a screen without a movie, a canvas without paint, a page unwritten, a song unsung, an instrument muted, and an expression unseen.
I won’t judge you for what you choose not to do. It could be you do not think you have anything to say, and that’s fine. But when you see someone walking around as a living breathing work of art, don’t judge that person as someone who is wrong, but rather someone whose skin, is singing the soul’s song.
(By the way, if you're a decent artist I'm still looking for someone to draw the snake pattern for me)