Yesterday I went and got another tattoo. I went to the same artist that did my last one – the one that represents my marriage. I like her personality, I like her style, I like her lines and colours. I knew as soon as I decided what this tattoo would be and where it would go, I would be going back to her. It’s the first time, as far as I can remember, that I’ve chosen to have the same artist do two of my tattoos.
I have six now, two on my shoulder blade, one on my lower back, one on my ankle, one on my chest and one on my wrist. I’ve been asked, as I think everyone who has tattoos has been, whether I regret any of them. More often the question is framed as ‘I could never get a tattoo because I would be afraid I would end up regretting it.’
While I admit I don’t love each of my 6 as much as I did when they were new, I don’t regret anything. Each one represents a stage of my life, something that led me to where I am today. Each one, when I see it, helps me reflect on the changes I’ve been through and what’s become important. Each one is a step in my life that changed something and led me to this life – my job, my husband and my baby daughter. They are my own personal map.
Someday I imagine my daughter seeing them and asking why, and I can sit down with her and explain each one in turn. The maple leaf is my pride in being born a Canadian – I love this country and I am lucky to not only live here, but to have seen. The Canadian hockey logo – my love of the game led me to journalism, which eventually allowed me to get a job at the student paper while I was in university, where I met my husband, who fell deeper in love with me at the first hockey game we attended together. The Pisces symbol – silly as it is, my zodiac sign has always seemed to define my personality very well. The forget-me-not, the official symbol of Alzheimer’s Disease, which took both my grandmothers from me and may eventually steal my memories too. Bert and Ernie, representing my marriage – we vowed to be the Bert to the other’s Ernie and the Ernie to the other’s Bert, to complete the whole.
And now this last one (though maybe not my last), which represents my baby girl, my love for her and the certainty that she has changed my life completely, leading me on a new path again, where each decision I make is carefully weighed because of the affect it will have on her and the path I am sending her down.
I can also tell her that she was there when I got it, and she was a very good girl.