27 November, 2009

Tattoo ideas

This time yesterday I decided I was going to get a tattoo. I was walking past a tattoo shop with my friend LB, who is visiting, and she exclaimed that we should both get tattoos there in the next few days. I immediately agreed and started agonizing over what to get. Nine hours later when we were falling asleep, I kept getting really upset and telling LB, "I wish I could do this, I wish I was different. I wish someone would fix me, I wish I was a real person." Then I prayed until I fell asleep, and woke up about fifteen minutes later and thought, what the fuck, I can't believe I was going to get a tattoo. I'm not really sure what getting a tattoo was mixed up with in my head; it seems like dream logic. It's hard to believe I was thinking like that in real life.

My opinion about tattoos is that they're wonderful when they're done right but I think it's stupid to get one just to get one. I don't see the point of having a really small plain image or phrase on your hipbone or your shoulder. I was thinking of getting one on my knee, but it would be hard to decide which way it should face; really, the only place I'd definitely be happy with would be my arm or my wrist, which is obviously a big decision because it's hard to hide. And I still live with my parents and they'd be upset (not to mention I'd be doing it with their money, which seems wrong). And I'm too young, in terms of independence and life experience, to really know what I'd be getting myself into if I got a noticeable tattoo. It's better to wait until I'm a little older. Then I guess I'll get something on my arm. And when I'm a little older than that, maybe I'll get a half-sleeve. And so on. (I wonder if it's possible to get the opposite of a half-sleeve, like a long glove. That would be so incredibly impractical and so incredibly awesome.)

Anyway, I feel weird that I got so impulsive and emotional about such an odd thing. Having LB here is really nice and I guess I feel more hopeful about life. Maybe I was trying to express that? It's not like me to make a lot of decisions and pronouncements I don't understand. But I am going to make a list of my ideas because I think they're good ideas.


Harriet the Spy. This is something I've wanted for almost three years and there are lots of good reasons for wanting it. I've been into Harriet the Spy since I was eight and my obsession rises again every few years. Obviously writing is really important to me and I started because of her. When I was about 12, which I guess is when my second or third round of obsession happened, I saw Harriet as sort of an ASD role model who was actually interested in things and didn't care for politeness. (When I was mad at my mom, I would call her a "bridge-player," and I did it enough that it stopped being novel and started being just the same as calling her a bitch.) During my most recent round, when I was 19, I was feeling alienated from other gay people and comforted myself by thinking about how awesome Harriet and her creator, the super gay Louise Fitzhugh, are. Except, despite the fact that this is the most sensible tattoo ever, it's lost a bit of its appeal for me in the past few months. Which is probably proof that I shouldn't get any tattoos.

2. (the one on the far left)

Viola da gamba. Basically I have this giant thwarted love for medieval and Renaissance music. My high school had an early music group, which sounds really posh but was actually pretty messy and unfortunate for reasons I won't go into. But this was good for me because it meant that despite not being able to read music I was an important member of the group just because I was sincerely interested, and when I was a senior I ended up playing viola da gamba, which is a precursor to the cello which is 100% cooler in every way but fell out of favor because it's not very loud. I really loved playing it. Of course, because I can't read, I'll never be able to take part in any decent early music group in the Real World (and the Real World includes my college, which has a big deal conservatory--therefore I can't even get into classes where I could learn to read, because I'm not in the con). Besides, I'm not exactly good at playing even if I could read.

So early music is this thing that's probably gone forever from my life, but will always be a part of me. One of the only really powerful interesting things in my life when I was really sad and lonely; something I threw myself into because I had to. Also, my viola da gamba teacher had a really strong effect on me, both positive and negative, and that's something that will always be part of me too.

3. / / /

Corinthians lion! This is what I want the most and it is the one that would be the most difficult to get because I am very bad at communicating to professionals what I want (I think this is because when I was a kid, I was considered to be a holy terror when I got my hair cut because I was just like GET AWAY FROM ME STOP TOUCHING ME; I haven't found a happy medium between being like that and being a doormat, with the result that I end up with incredibly awful haircuts and have taken to just cutting my own hair or getting LB to do it because I'm not afraid to tell her to stop). Anyway, I need someone I trust to design my Corinthians lion before I get it. I want it to look sort of like a crest, although I don't actually want it to be a crest. IT'S HARD TO EXPLAIN.

I really loved the Narnia books when I was a kid and like the idea of getting a tattoo related to a childhood obsession. Narnia was a big part of my relationship with my dad when I was a kid, so there's that too. Most importantly, I love C.S. Lewis's apologetic books and they've had a big influence on me (that's understating it; I wouldn't identify as Christian at all without having read them). So having a Narnia tattoo is kind of a tribute to CSL in general, and therefore a religious tattoo.

I love Corinthians 13 just as much as everyone else and their mom does. In fact it is right below my palm right now because I wrote lines 8-12 on my computer keyboard. I mostly like it for the Platonic stuff, but "caritas numquam excidit" is the only phrase short enough to make a good tattoo. Besides, it's always true. It is usually translated as "love never fails" and then people use it for their wedding vows and stuff, which is dumb, because sex fails. Limerence fails. But caritas doesn't mean either of those things, it means mercy.

I think this is a tattoo I will definitely end up getting once I can design it/am older, because it is really important content-wise, is something I'll always believe, and would look awesome.


Puddleglum is a Narnia character. He's a Marshwiggle. A lot of what I remember about him is just saying the word "Marshwiggle" a lot with my dad because we liked saying it. Puddleglum is usually whiny and grumpy I think, which makes him the perfect tattoo for me.

But I mostly want him because he says this: "Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things--trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones."

The main problem with getting him is that the only picture I could find that I liked (the one above) might end up looking sort of gross on my arm. So this is another thing where I wouldn't just be able to bring in a picture and say "do this."


  1. a friend of a friend got the duck-rabbit. i always thought that would be cool but have never really wanted a tattoo and i wish it had been my idea:


  2. I like the lion. I have a religious tattoo.

  3. Harriet the Spy! Aslan! Puddleglum!!

    (Literary geeky tattoo ideas are awesome).

    With the picture of Puddleglum you've got there, it seems to me like the problem with it is that there's all that inky darkness around him, plus some heavy shadowing on him, which would make the tattoo look like a big black blobby mess.

    I can draw, so if you like maybe I could draw a line-only version of that illustration?