The Knitting Journeyman

Gathering Up One Thread At A Time As I Weave This Web Of Mine.....

Monday, April 20, 2009


So, I got another tattoo. It is not an unimaginable stretch for me. I have all these other tattoos. It is not a new thing. It is not a new thing for me to jump right in to getting a tattoo with what seems like very little thought, even though things always turn around to show that I indeed gave it far more thought than I realized, only after the fact. It is not a very new thing when I find that a particular tattoo means so much more to me than I could have ever realized.

I did the one thing you are just not supposed to do. Sort of like knitting your new boyfriend a sweater-the boyfriend sweater curse. Usually, according to legend and way too many stories, the sweater making process either barely outlasts the relationship or the relationship ends right after the sweater is completed. Well, you hear the same thing about getting names tattooed on your body, unless, of course, the names are of your children, or someone in your family you want to remember. Boyfriend/girlfriend names you just do not do. Even husband/wife names you are not supposed to do, what with marriages being what they are these days. I did it. I got my boyfriend’s middle name tattooed on my wrist. There is a plethora of reasons I chose his middle name. It means a lot to him. It means a lot to me because of how much it means to him.

Now, before I had it done, after a great many weird conversations with my Guides, I knew this tattoo would hurt worse than the other tattoos I had gotten. I also expected it to bleed when none of the others had. Not even the dread water rat symbol on my ankle that is just a little too long and too far back for the sake of comfort bled or hurt too badly. I have had lymph come up during the tattooing process. I have had red blood cells come up after everything was over. I have had some incredible swelling incidents, most notably the octopus. Never much red blood cell action. I have some tattoos in some very vividly painful places. My first tattoo was in the bikini region. And it was more—involved when I had it covered up.

Let me talk about that first tattoo there. I was, what, seventeen, eighteen? Enter this man I knew would change my life. Such that I was, my assumption was that he would change my life for the better. Maybe he even did, in some arenas. All I know is that, overall—it is a far far better thing he be gone-and stay that way. I got his initial as my first tattoo—but his initial was also my initial, so it was not such a difficult thing. It was a bit funny. I had this huge biker dude between my legs, tattooing me and talking, and that ex held on to my toe and watched. It was not the first time I had thought about getting a tattoo. I had in years prior to that been much closer to getting a brand than a tattoo—please do not ask me why. I had a couple friends who had gone that route. I am no longer that person-and I have no desire to return to that. I was committed enough to my destiny or whatever you wanted to call it to get his/my initial tattooed in a hidden place that no one would ever see and that no one would ever know about unless I spoke up and told them. That pretty much sums up exactly how I felt about him the whole relationship. I spent the entire time in hiding myself, much less hiding him.

Back to current day. When I got the triple swirl on my left wrist, it was a donation-it was a breast cancer charity tattoo run-the first The Ink Well in Weirton, WV, had ever done. It was a small tattoo and it was for a good cause. It did not take too long to ink. It is also the one tattoo I want to have redone because I think it could look a lot better—and one of these days I am certain I will have it redone, probably in a darker green no less. Nevertheless, I do like it, actually. It is weird and quirky and just--me. In addition, there was not much pain involved at all with getting it. It is actually higher up than number nineteen on my right wrist.

I am so dedicated and so intense and just beyond all doubts about this current relationship—I got the man’s middle man—his clan name—tattooed on my right wrist, not just where I can see it every time I do anything, but where everyone will always see it, no matter what. In this relationship, there is simply no hiding whatsoever. Period.

The tattoo artist hand-drew the name out for us. He added some terrific flourishes. I had had dreams of the tattoo before I got it, where the ink flowed like vines growing, twining around my wrist and up through my hand, curling its way up my arm and over my shoulder. And even beyond that. It was rather an involved dream. There was a lot more to it than just that. That is where the dream started. The tattoo is not centered on my little two and a half inch wide wrist, but slides off on either side. It does look cool and one day I will post pictures of it. I love it. When the needle first hit my skin, I was not really ready for it to go so deep or hurt that much. I made the mistake of watching the needle go up and down in the gun. I usually watch the tattoo artist’s hand that holds the gun, because I like to watch the energies flow. My brain flipped and I watched the top of the needle, not the end of it that was in my skin. Time slowed down and I watched the needle go up, then down, as if each movement were slow and separate, each motion deliberate. That made it hurt more, watching the needle work, in slow motion. It also forced me back into the whole concept of Celtic tattooing. I could see the ancient tools used to tattoo centuries ago. There is far too much spiritual content some days for me to really go into it. Every single tattoo I have is holds the utmost spiritual meaning to and for me. This one is something different. That seems to be the theme of our relationship currently. This is something completely different from anything else.
And it truly is.

There was some bleeding when the tattoo was being done. Especially in the beginning. Since I am a mother, my mind tends to drift down weird paths. Not to mention, the whole shaman angle these days sometimes leads me down similar paths anyway. There is always blood in the beginning. We enter the world covered in blood. Blood clears the way. Blood binds the method. Blood shared and blood given. The symbology and mythology involved there can be pretty daunting to most when you get the whole tale. I will leave it at that. Basically, we can say that this symbolizes a fresh start, shall we?

The pain angle was a little different. I have a weird pain tolerance. I used to have an extremely high pain tolerance, but that has been shifting a lot of late. Not just within the past few weeks. It has been shifting for a couple years now. Pain tolerance is not exactly what I want to say either, although that is where I most notice it. I am more aware these days. I can literally feel more--deeply. Look, I was watching the Secret of NIMH with my son yesterday and I cried, I mean, sobbed and had real tears falling down my cheeks, when the house sunk beneath the mud. I feel more these days. I was surprised by the pain of getting the tattoo, surprised I felt it as much as I did. I was surprised I felt that the ink and needle where being worked in more deeply than other tattoos I have gotten. Yet, I was also convinced that this was as it should be with this tattoo.

Not to mention, it turned out beautifully.

What I did not count on was how deeply it would affect me on a day-to-day basis. Yes, I have only had the tattoo for not even twenty-four hours yet. There is a huge difference between the thick dark lines of his name twining around my wrist and the tiny little green spiral cluster on my other wrist. I hardly notice the spirals any more. Since it needs to be re-touched, I tend not to look at it. I do not really mind, and I have not since I first got it, even before I realized how much it needed to be touched up, had any issues with covering it up, either with jewelry or long shirt sleeves or whatever.

I cannot walk past a mirror without stopping today. Even if I cannot see the letters clearly. I pace when I am on the phone for work. Back and forth, up my hallway, from my bedroom to the kitchen and back, depending on what garbage is on tv and how loud my daughter has the television jacked, and how loud the bird is screeching, since the bird likes to be very loud when the phone rings. Although we can say I am not wearing my bracelets because this is a fresh and healing tattoo, that is not the reason. I do not think I will wear bracelets on this arm again, except for the one silver one that will not interfere with reading my wrist. I have no desire to wear long sleeves that cover the tattoo, even though I am freezing at the moment and want to go find my sweater somewhere. There is only so much credence I can give to the entire healing tattoo declaration. I want to be able to see this one. I want everyone to be able to see this one.

Even with the green spiral, I had had plans to cover it. Wrist warmers. Jewelry. A watch. The only offer I made to cover this tattoo, number nineteen, was when I first meet his family, out of respect for him and them. I do not think it will be necessary by then, but the offer stands. Otherwise, I will not hide this one. Not ever.

Do you know the best thing about being a free-wheeling writer-artist-poet, the weird hippy chick, the complete unfettered wild child, that I have always striven to be? You can be pierced and tattooed and still be happy, and do whatever you want to in life. I do not have to fret and worry about my day job, cramped in a cubicle, dealing with the ignorant cube people, unhappy and unhealthy, or how they would or could react to the tattoo—or anything else. I get to be who I want to be and do what I want to do—and everyone will just shake their heads at me and expect nothing less. It is just me, after all. I am that person. I am that strong-willed and self-confident. And if I am not yet that self-confident to trust that the Universe will provide-I at least fake it till it comes. I never lose my faith or my focus. At least not for very long.

How can I not believe when all my prayers have so radically been answered of late?

Back to the tattoo. I have spoken before about how mind-blowing and incredible it is to have a partner in your life that actually gets you, that understands, that accepts you, that loves you regardless, that stands by you. I never said I was not completely insecure and free from worry—I said I was striving for such. Now I have a constant reminder of my partner—almost as if I have a piece of him sewn into my skin, sewn into me, constantly on display and always reminding me of his love. (Ok, that does sound creepy, even though it is not meant to be, really. Think more in terms of sewing a quilt together rather than, say, Strangeland.) When I walk by a mirror or I glance at my wrist while typing or writing or anything, that is what I am hit with—not how much I love this man—but how much he loves me. That is why I am not hiding this thing. That is why I cannot. There is no way I will ever deny such a thing.

I am happy. Is that not what honestly matters the most?

Do you want to know the absolute worst part about getting the tattoo? Having my arm shaved—the razor burn hurts worse than the actual tattoo healing. Although, again, it is nice to be with a person who understands and does energetic healing, because everything is a lot better today, since he worked on me a bit yesterday.

The strange little tidbit is the correlation between number eighteen and number nineteen tattoos. I can feel twitches from eighteen, like when you first get the tattoo, how it reacts as it heals. Eighteen is reacting to the integration process of nineteen. It is pretty interesting.

Funny thing here. All the spiritual tattoos. All the dream catchers in my bedroom and in my life. This is the one tattoo that can keep the scary monsters and the scary dreams at bay and far from me. It keeps me safe. Just as he does.

The frightening thing is all I ever knew or expected was that this man would be my friend for this entire lifetime. Despite everything that people and Guides and everyone else keeps telling me, even the things he keeps saying that floor me, about the possibilities of us getting together, I never dreamed that things could go this way-nor that they could be so very good. I am certainly glad they are though. We are very much blessed.