There was a time when only sailors and prisoners ever got tattoos. How times have changed!
My wonderful friend Huy Truong is a professional graphic designer. Recently, I commissioned him to come up with a design for a tattoo to celebrate a truly fantastic 2014, my first year as a publisher author. This is what he came up with:
His remit was very open. I said I wanted something to celebrate my author status. Perhaps a picture of me, maybe, surrounded by a couple of cats and some books. Something like that, I said. I was blown away by his results.
This will be my sixth tattoo. Each of them is cat-related and all mark specific periods or milestones in my life. They are sentimental events I wanted to remember especially and keep a permanent record of them. Separation and divorce, a particularly poignant love affair, and my own little cat’s portrait, they all have their place on my skin.
I love tattoos. Years before I had my first one, at the tender age of 28, I had yearned for one. I think there are a few reasons why.
Firstly, there’s the pain. I like the thought of enduring pain for something beautiful and meaningful. At this point, I feel the need to tell you that I’m not a mother, nor do I have any inclination to become one. I’m sure those of you who have endured the pain of childbirth will all agree that it’s very much worth it, for the children you have brought into this world.
Secondly, I think it’s a great way to exercise freedom of expression and individuality. Tattoos have become very personal items. It’s not uncommon to have them commissioned especially for you, as Huy has done for me. I know this image could be widely copied from the web and used again for someone else’s tattoo, but I also know it was designed personally for me, and with me in mind. That girl does kind of look a little like me, in a good light!
But, you know, there’s another reason why I keep getting tattoos. They are strangely addictive. I shall never forget my first one: a small stylish outline of a cat in the small of my back. The guy finished putting away the needle, sat back to admire his own handiwork, then said, “You know, one will never be enough. You will have more.”
It was a number of year before I went back, but I did. I have now embraced the fact that I shall keep getting them, as long as I have something to commemorate; an event or a milestone that is so important it deserves a permanent brand somewhere about my person. I am celebrating my expression of these moments in my life, that have made me who I am today.
In the meantime, I shall be having this tattoo done some time early in 2015. Check out my Twitter page for an image soon!