Sunday, July 21, 2013

"And then you realize that you have all this space..."

...was what Amelia had to say about tattoos. And she's got a point. I still gotta complete my moon-phases-project on my arms, but already I'm planning for other, greater and crazier tattoo projects. And this time, my ideas are definitely a lot more laissez-fair than ever before.
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There's some animal tattoos I'd like to get on my back, a plant tattoo for around my arm and maybe some more words opposite the ones I got last time. So many people ask about it and while I've kind of developed a stock answer the inevitable question "What does it mean?". And while Brigit's original idea for another seven words would kind of be in perfect symmetry, I think I'm gonna leave "I like big butts and I cannot lie." for someone who can truly pull it off.

However, I have actually been considering "Despise rules and see through fools.".  It pretty much sums up my life philosophy, such as it is, pretty well. 
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Other potentials are some quotes from Tove Jansson and Truman Capote. Or maybe Nicole Krauss. Or maybe another one from ol' Japhy Ryder...see you have a lot of space, but the possibilities are also endless. 

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Constellations, birds, plants, morse code, bones, triangles, dots, lines, names.
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The list is as long as my arm. And my leg. And my torso. And my other arm. And my other leg.

You get the picture.

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I could get another compass. I could get a magpie. A hive of bees. The key to the attic of the house we lived in when I was little.  I could get all of Ursa Major and Correa Borealis under my skin.

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I could get the co-ordinates to here, or somewhere, or anywhere.


I think of tacky and puzzling and ridiculous things and inside jokes I could get tattooed on myself.
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The trouble with tattoos isn't that they last forever, but that it's so hard to choose which ones to get.
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Most people, no matter how silly their ink, don't really worry about their tattoos, or feel regret over them. They become part of your body. Over time, one may wish to change and remove them, but unless you decide to become a completely different, you just accept your youthful folly as a part of your self.


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Because holy s***, tattoos are awesome, funny, meaningful.
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Because you only live once and if regretting your ink is the worst thing you gotta worry about you should be so lucky.
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Because unlike love, having a stupid tattoo is never having to say you're sorry.
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Imagining those crazy different tattoos everywhere on your body is like discovering those parts all over again. I could have one on my thigh! Between my scapulas! Over my heart!
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This is the only body you'll ever have, might as well make the most of it, right?

16 comments:

  1. wise wise words. tattoos are like personal hieroglyphs. I like when they are not so easily translated.
    I have a latin motto on the underside of my left wrist which I found out years after having it done that it's our family motto from hunderds of years ago. I also have a hummingbird on my other wrist inspired by a diane di prima poemn and I want my final one, a quote from a max Ernst collage, to be written in white ink perhaps down my spine "all of my hummingbirds have alibis and my body is covered in 100 profound virtues"

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  2. OH man do I know the feeling. There are so many tattoo projects swirling around in my head. Unfortunately tattoos seem to be a bit, um, expensive! Disposable funds really are the only thing from stopping me.

    All of my tattoos are from when I was 17-18 years old so I kind of am a different person now. I wouldn't say I regret them but I probably wouldn't get them given the choice today.

    It would be really great for you to do a post about your tattoos; we see them in bits in some of your photos but some little stories about them would be interesting. This post has inspired me to do something similar on my blog!

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  3. I can't get over that first tattoo! It's my favorite.

    For a while now I've wanted a stalk of wheat on my upper arm, still haven't gathered up the courage for it yet though! There are also alchemical symbols, other herbs, shew, childhood book illustrations, shew.

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  4. Ah, you speak to my soul! What you said about accepting your youthful folly as part of yourself -- that was (and is) the philosophy behind my first tattoo. When I was 16 I got a butterfly, a contrast between the permanence of a tattoo and the metamorphosis the butterfly symbolizes. The whole idea is that I'll always go through changes, and changes of opinion, but I'll always be myself and respect who I've been at different stages in my life. So yeah, amen!

    And the problem is definitely choosing which one to get, and then deciding where the f to put it. I JUST made my final decision on where to get my next one (a spin on a triple spiral, super stoked) and it took me two years.

    To each their own, but I wholeheartedly agree with most everythin you said.

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  5. I've been itching for a new tattoo so hard lately. A friend of mine is hesitant about getting tattooed because she's so afraid that she won't like it in a few years. I think of tattoos, instead, as a roadmap of your life. I don't love the ridiculous pink stars I got tattooed on my abdomen when I was 18 because I thought I was "like, so punk rock", but they are a part of me - a symbol of that time. Maybe I'll get them covered some day, but for now, I live with them.

    M.

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  6. I have been trying to figure out what to do about the sun on my back. I got it as my very first tattoo, the very day I was legal enough for tattoos. I started off with pieces smaller than I would want now. The sun is in the way of a bigger backpiece I want to get.

    The arm band and illustration above it (all children's book characters - EH Shepard, Jessie Wilcox Smith, Arthur Rackham)I got when I was in my early twenties looked too disjointed over time so I had that put together with filler but it looks less good than if I'd planned it as a major piece from the start. When I decided on Rackham mermaids for my right arm, I was smart enough to do it large. When I got my memorial tattoo for Emmy, I was smart enough to do it as big as I could with the arm space I had left above my elbow.

    I probably will have the sun covered up when I get a large Homeward Bound traditional style ship on my back. I like it because it reminds me of me when I was 18...but it also doesn't come with a visual date, so I do feel like some people would see it out of context. Thankfully it's usually under a shirt so I'm not all that concerned with it.

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  7. My friend did her own first tattoos with a sewing needle and ink, and with her own drawings. She worries they don't go with the other, professional tattoos she got later, but I think they are the best. You can tell they are different from the other ones and they have a meaning and mystery that can't be bought in a shop. (But, I am not recommending anyone do this themselves---infection is a risk!)

    I got my own in the 80s. Back then, it seemed to be mostly military, bikers, people in prison and some rocker/punk rockers who got tattooed (I fell into the latter category). Now I look around and see all of these magnificent masterpieces and very personal tattoos on a wide variety of people and I'm glad the art form has come the long way that it has :)

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  8. I agree!!! I have been wanting a tattoo for soooooo long. I am afraid that once I get it, I won't be able to stop. I love them on other people (except for the tweetie bird tattoo, of course- terrible!) and have so many good ideas. I love the feminine little bow on the upper thigh. So great. So many choices! Can't wait to see what you decide on!

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  9. Hyviä ideoita kaikki :) Sun kompassi oli varmaan ensimmäinen hieno tatuointi, jonka olen nähnyt.
    Välillä itsekin leikin ajatuksella, mutta ei sentään...ehkä jos joutuisin vankilaan tai liittyisin johonkin jengiin...tarvisin vähän uskottavuutta ensin.

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  10. i was just thinking about your tattoo post from a while back. i got my second and third tattoo (post coming soon) and now i'm like, "oh man, i can get more!!" i appreciate your ruminations on body art.

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  11. the more the merrier! and let's just do some stick n pokes! end of august. I can get more tatty needles. xo m

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  12. As often is the case, you so eloquently capture my hearts work and speak it into the world. I so dislike it when I'm asked what each one means, because they mostly mean I Live and that can be hard for people to get. Like it's acceptable to come home from work and have couple of beers, it's expected that we go out into the world clean and groomed, probably wearing clothes too; tattoos can be likened to any of those things and so, so much more.

    Thank you Milla, for your beautiful self. It's winter where I am and I think that coming out of the cold and wet, through Spring is the perfect time for me to 'birth' a new patch; in the summertime another little piece of me will be laid (permanent). Now to waste a million hours on this google finding inspiration...

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  13. As a girl who loves drawing, I would enjoy it very much if I was able to get some non-permanent designs on my skin sometimes - particularly if I could do it myself.

    However, the idea of having something tattooed into my skin, for ever, is strangely foreign to me. Maybe because I already have a kind of design on my back and torso, nevi forming constellations on my skin, like stars in the sky. It's my intimate, unique design :o)

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    1. I completely agree with you! And I have the same - a polka dot design of moles on my back, hehe. I get tired of images far too quickly to ever get a tattoo. The moment it would be on my skin I would be bored of it. This doesn't mean that I'm agains tattoos in general, I just wouldn't like them on me. Choosing a wedding ring that I'll wear forever is stressful enough, haha.

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    2. I love this POW! And that's actually kind of what Amelia had to say too, that as an artist it'd be hard to have something of your own design on yourself because you evolve in your work so much over time.

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  14. My favorite tattoos have always been the thin black, outlined ones - so pretty and delicate. The ones I can think of, off the top of my head, have all been that type of tattoo.


    I never once thought about getting one myself (not sure why?) but I do love them on others. always have.

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