My first tattoo was almost 10 years ago. I had just moved away to college and just turned 18, and I had always wanted a tattoo, so why wait any longer? I was so happy to be on my own and somewhere new. Since I'd only been living in St. Augustine for a couple of weeks and had done almost no research into the subject, my roommate and I went to the only shop I knew about, because I had seen the bumper stickers for it around town. I handed the giant man behind the counter a tiny print out of a .gif I had found on the internet somewhere and left the rest to him. I wanted it farther up my side but the waist of my pants would have made it hard to heal right there, which is how I ended up with a tattoo of a fairy on my butt. The pain I remember most is the pain of my legs falling asleep, propped uncomfortably on a chair that didn't recline flat.
I loved it, then--and loved showing it off, since unbuttoning my pants in public to show off a new tattoo felt unbearably cool at 18--and am still fond of it now, although to be honest I mostly forget that it's there. It was more about having the freedom to do it than it was about what or where, and many of my former suitors are more familiar with it than I am, since it takes a lot of maneuvering for me to get a close look at it. This new one is almost the opposite of that, not a high five to all the possibilities of the future but a solid forever reminder about some of the best parts of the past. Ten years ago it would never have occurred to me that I would want to remember anything.
The past ten years have quieted the frantic screeching in my brain some. I want to set fewer things on fire now. Around here we are preparing for spring. I spent part of the weekend getting the containers ready for planting, mixing dolomite and fertilizer into pots and earthboxes, preparing the worm box for new bedding. I took a class about making borscht and finished sewing some blankets for a highly anticipated new baby. I still want to high five the future, but no longer as a way to spite the past. I'm learning, if slowly.