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Secure Your Slot At The Top Of The Fanwankdom - yummy turtle

About Secure Your Slot At The Top Of The Fanwankdom

Previous Entry Secure Your Slot At The Top Of The Fanwankdom Apr. 15th, 2009 @ 10:24 am Next Entry
When I was 18, I wandered into a tattoo parlor with three friends. We hadn't planned it that way, we just were driving past on our way home from class or the mall or Ruby Tuesday's, and we pulled in with an 18-year-old's will. Gravel parking lot, old wood paneling, and an intimidating smell like tobacco and solvent. Oh, and pages upon pages of hideous-looking representations of god-only-knows-what: skulls, blood-drenched daggers, daggers with skulls and roses, wizards, slutty women, slutty wizards, gothic lettering, and slutty skeletons holding blood-drenched daggers and also there's a wizard and stuff and maybe some more blood.

I stared up at these options, nonplussed, scared. I jabbed desultorily at what seemed to be the most innocuous drawing - a heart - after being talked out of the next-safest, a ladybug. In retrospect, it would have been nice if I'd gone with the ladybug, since Rachel on Friends got a heart tattoo right around the same time. I'd love to be cool and tell you that my devoid-of-meaning tattoo came first, that I wouldn't get a heart tattooed on me just because a character on a TV show did, but let's be honest, I had the hair, and I probably did. It's not like a heart is something novel and unique in the first place, so whether I did or did not get this tattoo in order to be more like Rachel Green is really of quibbling import.

I've thought often in the intervening years about getting another design - something more meaningful, and somewhere more conspicuous, somewhere that I don't have to bare skin to show off my ink. But I never thought of a design that mattered very much to me, so I slotted the tattoo idea for "later."

A few weeks ago, I saw this amazing blog entry about how a NY comedian met his idol, Morrissey, and got Morrissey to write "Morrissey" on his arm, and then he got it tatttooed, and the wheels began a-churning.

I started fantasizing about what I might have Amy and Emily write on me, if I ever had the chance. I dismissed "Indigo Girls" because a band name feels too obvious and billboardy. I thought of "Lucystoner," a reference to Amy's song "Lucystoners," which is a reference to Lucy Stone, the first woman to refuse to change her name after marriage. I love the song, and I love the idea of proclaiming my feministy-grrl-power, but I saw three issues with putting "Lucystoner" on my body, to wit: 1) The song is about sexism in the music industry, an issue which, while I care about it, doesn't really affect me; 2) It's an Amy solo song, not an Indigo Girls song, and 3) The casual observer would totally just assume that my name was Lucy and I liked to get high.

Then I thought of getting "a+e=ig" lengthwise across my arm. Then Joanna said "But... Nazis?" and I was like, "Huh?" and she was like, "Concentration camps... serial numbers tattooed on the forearm..." and I was like, "But I had this friend who got writing there and it looks so cool," and she said "but this is vaguely numerical and you know, might evoke the Nazis." Vaguely evoking the Nazis, or even possibly doing so, is not a chance you want to take, particularly when we are talking about a thing that is going to be scrawled on your body for the remainder of your life, so I scrapped that idea too.

At this point, I stopped talking about the tattoo with people.

Because when I thought of the right thing, I knew it immediately.

And I didn't require confirmation.

I picked the song about a dead cat. It's never been my favorite Indigo Girls song. I don't mean that I dislike it, although believe it or not there are a few IG songs that don't do it for me, but it's never risen to the top of the heap as a beloved, freedyed mantra song. It's an important song, from arguably their most important album, and it's a beautiful song. I've always liked it. But it's never been my favorite. It's a eulogy. It's a song about a dead cat.

It's also a song about bravery, ascension, change, freedom, rebirth, joy from pain, fiercing it out, breaking ties that bind, and raging against the machine, and it embodies everything I want to be thinking about at this moment in my life. So I resolved to shore myself up for the next chapter by getting a message of strength - solitary strength - inked on me by two people I idolize.

Warning: I am about to describe the experience in creepily minute detail. Creepily Minute Detail should probably be the name of this blog. I hope you do not expect otherwise at this point.

So I'm at the stage door. I'd just seen a show - my first time in 26 Indigo Girls concerts seeing them by myself. It is all very fitting. Seeing them alone was a thrill. I didn't have to share them with anyone; it was just me, and the girls, and the energy of faceless hundreds. The show was like every IG show - better than the one that came before. I don't know how they manage this, but they always, always do.

Emily. I smile at Emily, brazen, not nervous, like we are friends, like she's as excited to see me as I am to see her. Unlike the last time I met Emily, I didn't ask someone else to speak for me, and I didn't sob helplessly afterwards. I said something about how amazing they are, gush, gush, and then I asked her to write the word "Secure" on my arm. "In block letters?" she asked. "However you want to write it." She wrote casually - big, expansive, childlike letters - smiled, and moved on.

Amy. She is so rare and so pretty and her eyes are - how can I put it? like stars. like the sun. like the moon. they aren't like anything. I dismiss caution by looking directly at them, and then I ask her to write "Yourself" under where Emily has written "Secure." This is the first time I have met both girls after a show, and it is also the first time I have asked a gay icon to write on me, unless you count that time I had Carson Kressley write "Surfboard" across my chest. Amy scrawls in tight, compact capitals, very different from Emily's, and I thought, "Exactly." From somewhere on my left someone said "She's getting it tattooed," and Amy said "Oh? They can probably clean it up for you at the place." I focused - of course - on Amy's wrist bearing down lightly on my arm, willing the seconds to slow down, and I said "Well, I wanted it in your handwriting," and she laughs out a charming bit of self-deprecation: "Oh, I've got terrible handwriting." She's finished now, and it's perfect, but I don't want to fawn or contradict. I just say thanks. Again. How can I ever really thank these people so that they understand. I can't. I don't even try.

You know, it's not like I'll ever need to be reminded that I like this band.

But all the same, a reminder is a nice thing to have.

angela_tattoo

falling softly as the rain, no footsteps ringing in your ears
ragged down worn to the skin, warrior raging have no fear
secure yourself to heaven, hold on tight the night has come
fasten up your earthly burdens you have just begun
engage
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From:alexlady
Date:April 15th, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
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superb. you will rock it.

is amy left handed?
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From:angelalala
Date:April 15th, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
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Nope, she's a righty.
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From:indigo_max
Date:April 15th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
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That is definitely cool :)

Max...
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From:wickedrad79
Date:April 15th, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
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That is beautiful. Awesome choice.
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From:hdsqrl
Date:April 15th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
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Well done!!

In semi-related IG-fangirl news, I'm heading to Atlanta for work in a few weeks and am planning to pilgrimage myself over to Decatur to eat at Watershed. I'm hoping they won't mind me stripping down and embracing whatever sign happens to be outside.

;)
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From:selannia
Date:April 15th, 2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
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That's nice work. I love the itty bitty stars!

It's beautiful. I've been trying to think of a tattoo for years and I've got no ideas.
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From:thunderemerald
Date:April 15th, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
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I'm favoriting this entry. It gave me chills.
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From:son_of_ottie
Date:April 15th, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)
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That's the awesomest tattoo story ever. And you can tell it often when people ask. PLUS, BEAUTIFUL!
I have a little tattoo on my left hip bone region which says, in script and color I hope is reminiscent of troops coming home from WWII like my DAD'S tats were, Carlos.
After I got it I showed it to Alexlady but I think I flashed her my dickie too...OOPS!
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From:rayvyn2k
Date:April 16th, 2009 03:09 am (UTC)
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That is beautiful and I'm glad you went into all the detail because the story is just as lovely as the ink.
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From:zosiablue
Date:April 16th, 2009 05:34 am (UTC)
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Aw, I love this so much. Congratulations.
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From:gleep_glop
Date:April 16th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
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Damn, g. You are officially the edgy one in our band now. I hope you're prepared for all of the misbehavior and law-breaking that comes with that role.
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From:iskew
Date:April 17th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
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if she only had a bangin head and she'd be a real fan
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From:iskew
Date:April 17th, 2009 03:52 am (UTC)
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finally read this post. you = badass!


(and did the Nazi's write algebraic equations?)
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From:asiswellknown
Date:April 17th, 2009 07:03 am (UTC)
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that is beautiful. absolutely a wonderful idea.
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From:indigosarah
Date:May 1st, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC)
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It's beautiful. :)
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From:penmage
Date:June 17th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
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So I saw your tattoo last night without knowing the story behind it, and I loved it and thought it was glorious. This makes it 400% better. Gorgeous and perfect. I love it!
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From:angelalala
Date:June 18th, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
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Thank you so much! It was so wonderful to meet you!!! :)
From:tempejoy
Date:July 7th, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
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When I realized my Dad was dying of cancer, I asked him to write "Peppercorn" on a piece of paper because I wanted to have it tattooed in his honor. That was his nickname for me. He wrote it but instead of the all-caps writing style he had used all my life, he wrote it out in very shaky cursive. I knew I wanted the tattoo in his writing but the shaky cursive was too obvious to me that it was my "dying" Dad's handwriting, and not just "Dad's" handwriting. I kept the piece of paper (and cherish it as it is the last time he ever wrote my nickname) but a year after his passing, I took one of the last cards he'd sent me (before his stroke, which preceeded his death by about 6 months) to the tattoo parlor.

On my left wrist it now says PEPPERCORN in Dad's handwriting. It is my favorite tattoo. And as morbid as it seems, someday when my Mom passes, I will take her handwriting to a parlor and have her nickname for me tattooed next to it.
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From:angelalala
Date:July 8th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)
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That is the sweetest story ever. I love it. And good call on not getting it in the shaky handwriting, that would have been difficult to look at, I imagine.
From:tempejoy
Date:July 7th, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
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P.S. I like your tattoo - the little bird is adorable!
(engage)
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