Friday, November 2, 2012

This Is Gonna Leave A Mark...With Pictures

I am not a fun of clutter, or bric-a-brac and nostalgia. I'm that bad mom who, upon seeing most of my childrens' artwork wants nothing so much as to say "this is lovely. Can we throw it away, now that we have all seen it?" Its not that I don't care. Its not that I don't love it. Its not that I don't believe in "sentimental value". Its that I simply can't stand to be surrounded by too much stuff.

I do however like to have something to remember big events by. Which makes me something of a contradiction. Its part of my charm really. (Keep repeating this until you believe it.)

The marathon? Was an event that needed commemoration. It begged for, nay demanded an important memento, beyond the medal and shirt that simply finishing earned for my P.I.C. and I...

In my book? There is really only one way to properly do this..and that is with a tattoo.

Let me back up a bit.

Hi, my name is Duchess Pandora, and I like ink. I have 5 tattoos at the current moment and, if I am absolutely honest about it? I am perpetually on the brink of getting my next one. This is in total juxtaposition to almost everything else about my persona.
Not too shabby for an almost 20 year old bear.

I got my first tattoo when I was 19. I was having a hard time in college and had just spent the summer working in a Boy Scout camp. The Grateful Dead was the soundtrack of that period of my life, and the counterculture that surrounds it was helping me lay the groundwork for who I would ultimately become.

I am, by nature, fussy. The Deadhead lifestyle taught me to relax, and to let it go.
I can be exceedingly self-conscious. The Deadheads taught me to dance whenever and wherever the music moved me.
I can be very reserved with my emotions. I learned to hug like I meant it, even if the other person hadn't showered in a week.

Ask my friends. Ask my family. Ask my co-workers. This? Is huge.

Towards the end of that summer, Jerry Garcia died. It was tragic.

At the end of that summer, I got my very first tattoo. A purple dancing bear, holding a rose, just above my ankle.

Over the years, I would toy with the idea of having this little fellow removed. In the end? I can't see that ever happening. He is a reminder to me of the fact that I am not always in control, and that is OK.

My next ink would happen many, many years later, the day that I ran (finished? I didn't run the whole thing) my first 5K, with my female best friend, "Mildred". Mildred and I wanted to get a shared tattoo, something that would bind us together, no matter how far the distance between us. We thought long and hard about what to get, as we wanted it to be something meaningful.

We finally decided to go with the constellation for Virgo, as it is the sign we were both born under. Today we both have the same image, on the back of our necks.

Number three was added to the mix in 2011, also in the company of Mildred. We each got a tattoo that day, and she did me the honor of allowing me to design and draw her tattoo, which represents her two youngest children. I also designed mine, which adorns my inner right forearm. It is a family crest of sorts. My name is an Aramaic name, that means "bower", which is a poetic way of saying "tree". The tree branch is me, the large, flying bird is my husband, and the two small birds are my chicks, The Boy Child and The Girl Child. The flowers on the tree have hearts built into them, which represents our love.

Three little birds
My next ink would come much more rapidly, and in the company of my P.I.C.. The story there is a whole blog post unto itself, with the end result - for me anyway - being what would be, to date, my most painful addition. Two lines of poetry from Pablo Neruda's 41st Sonnet that remind me of my husband, scrawled across my rib cage:
"I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
In secret, between the shadow and the soul."

Sweetly and romantically enough, my husband has a matching tattoo, in the form of a QR code on his forearm that scans to read this same verse. It was my 40th birthday present to him, but really? I see it as a present to me. Go ahead, take a moment and swoon. It gets me every time too.

So it was no major shock when, going in to this marathon, I wanted to get a tattoo to commemorate the event. I talked to my P.I.C. about it, and he was on board too. We spent many a month debating what we should do...and finally decided that the perfect artwork to mark the occasion would be none other than the logo for the race itself. Additionally, it seemed to make perfect sense to have this symbol inked onto our feet.

The evening following the marathon, we headed out to Saint Sabrina's to get our vision realized.

My P.I.C. went first...this wasn't his first tattoo - there will be more on that later I am sure - but this one definitely would leave a lasting impression on him.

Stencil is on...
 But I mean, c'mon, the guy just ran a marathon...this should be nothing in comparison, right???

First prick of the gun...
Right????? Because I am a very caring friend, I of course held his hand through the worst of it...
This is a little pinchy...
 ...any of my friends or sorority sisters (or kids) who have ever had the honor of getting ill with me to tend to them should recognize this position. I am nothing if not an attentive and doting nurse...
Oh owwwwwww
 ...apparently this whole ordeal "smarted" a bit.

"Now smile like you just finished a marathon!!"
Once it was all said and done though, he quickly regained his toothy grin. (And hey, let's give me some props for showing my bare-faced self to the world. Holla!)
The finished product.
 Now...there is a saying that I have come to love...

"Never underestimate the strength of a woman.
NEVER EVER  f*$% with one who runs 26.2 miles for fun."

Shhhh...I'm tryin to sleep here.
  This? Would be why.
All done.
We now have a lasting memory...a proper tribute, to the craziest thing we have ever gotten one another through...until the next time.

And big news!!! Stay tuned for a special post tomorrow, from P.I.C. himself!

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