An Impulse to Get Inked

It’s been a while since my last adventure, but this one is a doozey, and rather permanent too.  I finally got a tattoo. Two actually.  Almost three.

You know how one can get something in their head, and it sits there – and never, ever leaves?  You think of a tattoo once, and how it would help covers some fire ant/pre-cancerous burn-off scars on your wrist.  And then the thought stays.  Over several years you occasionally investigate what tattoo would work best, but you never set aside time to go do it.  You tell friends about it; you tell yourself that this would be cool, and that it would represent something.  A rather amorphous something, but the best phrase would be zest for life.  Yet you postpone because it is not the most important need in your life.

Then I found a yin/yang tattoo that I loved and that I realized it represented me and my struggles over the years.


Artist unknown! I believe a Japanese artist, but I found it on Pinterest.

The white koi fish swimming downstream represents the struggles won – finding a good career, house, friends, past loves, and enjoyment from life.  The black fish, swimming upstream focuses on struggles ongoing, and my attempt to win over them.  Realizing that meaning in the tattoo really coalesced some thoughts I’ve been having about how I can feel so beaten down sometimes.  I have an incredible zest for life, but I am fighting two chronic illnesses that sometimes knock me horizontal and keep me bedridden:  rheumatoid arthritis for one.  The medications help tremendously, but sometimes, it can still be so physically painful and frustrating.  Also, this year, I have taken on another challenge – becoming a climate activist and fighting climate change (see blog).  And then there are my aging parents and aging me.  But I can meet these challenges, and that’s what the fish represents.  I have won some struggles, and I can win these, or at least most of these.  Already, I have accomplished things with the blog and in becoming healthier.

Fyi, koi fish once they reach the top of the stream, they turn into dragons.

And after I found this tattoo and its meaning, I knew I would get it. I also found two other tattoos I really, really liked, and on an impulse, decided to get those done too.

I wound up at a meeting in Austin, Texas, land of tattoo artists.  A friend of mine got a tattoo — and the impetus was there.  I choose Electric 13, one of the best tattoo parlors in Austin.  And I spent a sleepless night worrying over it.  Really, Annette?

But the thought was there all day the next day.  It would never go away.  I would walk away disappointed if I didn’t get the tattoo.

But am I really going to do this?  I made the appointment.

Another sleepless night.

Then the day came, my excitement rose, and although I had a sense of somehow this was wrong and I shouldn’t do this, I fought it by having two glasses of wine and confirming the Uber.  And it was fun, and grand, and I got two tattoos – the fish, and the flower below.  The artist talked me out of the third, saying I should get used to the others first before getting another.  I am so glad now.

Because I woke up a little freaked out!  I had been so excited during the process I didn’t do as much overseeing of the actual tattooing as I should have.  The flower was a little too thick and dark – I realize brown ink would have been better – though the black ink will fade, and actually the lines are sharp and clear and overall it is really quite nice.


Photo while on my parents couch. I will never buy a brown couch.

But the fish, prominent on my left wrist, were missing some lines and dark spots, and to me, the umph.  Oh no!


Thoughts of patience, Annette.  The ink will settle, the tattoo will soften a bit, you will get used to it, and you can get touch-ups.  I will definitely get touch ups on the fish.  The artist did a good job overall, but he was a little conservative on shadowing the fish.  He had shown me the drawing before, and in the headiness of the moment, I approved it without even looking closely at it.  Part of the problem is that right now, it looks like a Sharpie has been taken to my arm, and the fish are not as artistic as I hoped. However, the ridges of pigment do feel so cool right now; they’ll peel away, it will become normal skin, with black lines, and it will look different.

And though freaked out a little, I also love them:  my companions in my fight.  And I certainly don’t see the fire ant scars anymore.

However, I’ll check in in a month, and let you know what I think.  >><—-:>




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