03 May

The Story of My Ink

Hey there, friends! A few of you know that I’ve started the process of getting a half sleeve tattoo on my arm. One session down, one or two to go, depending on how I decide to finish it! I’m gritting my teeth just thinking of the pain remaining. Hoo boy… But, oh man, it is sooooo worth it. I keep looking down at my arm and giggling.

Many of you know that I was born with a physical disability (cerebral palsy) that left the right side of my body significantly weaker than my left. Because of it, my right arm can’t do a whole lot. It kind of just… hangs there and tries to avoid giving handshakes whenever possible. Well, no more! Now I’ve got an art gallery on it! Awwww yeah!

Here are some progress pics.

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For those of you that want to know the meaning behind it all, read on for some very wordy descriptions!

Card Catalog – If you know me even a little bit, you’ll know that I own a beautiful sixty-drawer card catalog, formerly owned by my alma mater and current employer. I love it for its history. I like to think of card catalogs as a precursor to the Internet; harnessed properly, you had the potential to find information on just about any subject in the entire world.

Grape Soda Pin  – Have you seen the movie Up? Also known as the most realistic, heartwarming and gut wrenching love story told in fewer than eleven minutes? Ellie gives Carl a grape soda pin as a badge when they first meet, telling him, “You and me, we’re in a club now.” That night after Carl breaks his arm on a daring balloon rescue, Ellie comes to keep him company and show him her Adventure Book, filled with pictures she ripped out of a library book (!!!!!) and stuff she’s going to do in her future, which now includes him whether he likes it or not. She bids him goodnight with a simple, “You know, you don’t talk very much. I like you!!” In ten words, she sums up everything I love about my own husband.

  • Later, Carl ends up bestowing the pin, now called the Ellie Badge, upon his new little friend Russell, and they go and eat ice cream and count red and blue cars while finishing their cones. Russell once said, “That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.” That quote reverberated in my soul the first time I heard it, and I’ve never been able to forget it.

Balloons – In the same vein as the grape soda pin, the balloons symbolizes that adventure is out there! Sometimes I get dragged along unwillingly, and sometimes I seek it out myself.

Cross-Stitch Heart – This is an ode to my somewhat recently discovered passion. The light coming out of that drawer (which will be colored in at some point) symbolizes how much my life started to make sense when I started cross-stitching. As cheesy as it sounds (and it is reeeeeeeally cheesy, I know), when I started cross-stitching, I felt like I finally found what I had been looking for all this time. Around the same time I started cross-stitching, I felt like I finally settled into who I am and stopped trying to be someone that I’m not.

Minnesota and the Loon – I love my state. Plain and simple. Loons are our state bird, and they remind me of summer weekends spent at my maternal grandparents’ cabin in northern Minnesota; weekends full of exploring, playing in the water, eating Oreos from the Oreo jar, and giggling about the outhouse.

Nine and Three-Quarters – This is likely very obvious to anyone that has read the Harry Potter series or seen even just one of the earlier movies. Platform 9 ¾ is the platform from which the Hogwarts Express train picks up young wizards and witches at the beginning of every school year and delivers them safely to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It also happens to be the location in which Harry meets one of his future best friends and chosen family, the Weasleys. The concept of chosen family has meant an especially lot to me over the last few years. Don’t get me wrong; I have the absolute BEST biological family in the entire world. But I also have an exquisite chosen family that’s taken me quite a few years to build. In my late teens and early 20s, I struggled a lot with figuring out where I fit in this giant world and couldn’t seem to find the right niche. I’m there now; I look around at the people beside me and know that I’m home.

  • Coming out of that drawer are two ominous eyes, a throwback to when Harry first unknowingly sees Sirius Black in his Animagus form in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. A reminder that sometimes the scariest moments in life end up being some of the most profound.

Interrobang (also known as a quexclamation) – This is a nonstandard punctuation mark that’s usually written as ?!, which symbolizes my life better than words can: a cycle of excitement and confusion, often at the same time.

Mountains and Sun – Rarely a week goes by without me using the phrase, “When I used to live in Denver…” I lived there for just under two years, and those two years changed my perspective on life more than I thought would be possible.

 

And there you have it. 🙂 More to come in a few weeks…

2 thoughts on “The Story of My Ink

  1. I love this!! I think your tattoo is amazing and really enjoyed reading about the history behind it. I can’t wait to see it when it is finished!!

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