Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Little Secret

I got a tattoo. I am a 43-year-old mother of three children (one in college), former PTO Board member and active participant in our Church. And I got a tattoo.

I have been talking about getting one for years so, during a sisters’ weekend away, my sister-in-law basically told me to “Put up or shut up.” Since she was driving, I didn’t have much choice but to follow her into the tattoo parlor that morning.

“We’ll just ask a few questions” she said. “We’ll just check it out.”

One hour later, I walked out with a tattoo. “It took less than an hour,” I announced, to which my sister finished with “to ruin your life.” (Older sisters are like that.)

I have been talking about getting a tattoo for so long, I didn’t think my husband would be shocked. Just goes to show, he can still surprise me after 20 years of marriage. After having been assured it wasn’t fake, he stared at me for a minute or two, then walked out to play paddle.

My children reacted as I expected. The oldest thought it was “fine,” the middle thought it was “totally cool” and the youngest wanted to know if it hurt.

When my husband returned, he asked to see it again and seemed a little more accepting of my new addition. (“I just thought I would go with you,” he explained. “And truthfully, I never thought you would do it.”)

And that is the reason I got a tattoo - no one ever believed I would do it. I am not the poster child for a tattoo parlor. I was the good girl who sat in the front of the class and always finished her work. I am the homeroom mother who volunteers for all the class parties. I am the Girl Scout troop leader (twice) and Church volunteer. And I got a tattoo.

It’s not in a location that people can easily see it (Most people are “creeped out” when they hear where I placed it), but I can see it. It is a small tattoo (“I bet this is the wildest tattoo you ever did, right?” I asked the artist. He just laughed.) but to me, it holds great significance. It’s my tiny act of rebellion.

I’m surprised by the reactions I get when people finally do notice it. Many don’t believe it is real. Then I get a silent stare and then, inevitably, the same question: Did it hurt?

Young and old - everyone wants to know, did it hurt? My answer depends on who is asking me. If it is a child, I always say yes. If it is a peer, I answer truthfully – not much. It feels just as it was explained to me – a rug burn.

I haven’t had it long but I still get a secret thrill when I see it. As far as rebellions go, mine isn’t much. But it works for me.

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