As I sit here, wrapping Christmas presents and wondering why most of my US-based friends are acting a bit odd today it suddenly occurs that I’ve not updated in a week or so and I’ve actually had quite a lot happen in between trying to make up Nanowrimo word counts and track down presents for people – most specifically that at the tender age of 39 I’ve got my first tattoo, and certainly when I woke up yesterday that wasn’t immediately on my to-do list.
I’d not really had any pressing desire to get one growing up – partly as when I was growing up it wasn’t as socially acceptable as it is these days – the received wisdom being that only criminals and weirdos got them done, and particularly growing up as the eldest son of a vicar (yes, I’m the son of a preacher man as Dusty used to sing), it just didn’t even register as something I’d ever want or need. The second factor was that, for the most part, I didn’t want to get something done that I would see on someone else, picked from a book – so if I did ever go that route I’d be looking to get something custom made, and I knew from conversations with friends and extended family that that could get expensive. So that was another barrier.
Life threw its little curve-balls and I got ill, and fought back through to recovery, and eventually started liking myself again; and having met t’other half and started rediscovering who I wanted to be (ie a stubborn individual setting my own standards) – and finding that Jo was someone I wanted to continue standing up for, I started thinking about how to mark it.
I’ve always had a fascination with mythology and the past – I love legends for what they tell me about people and how similar we are; and I wander Foolishly through various mystic areas out of interest to find out what people believe – building on the semiotic and structural study I did during my English degree to dig at how people share interpretations of the unseen – a route into their psychology that I hope over the next few years to dig further by studying towards a Counselling career.
While reading The Book of English Magicby Philip Carr-Gomm and Richard Heygate
(ISBN: 978-1-84854-041-5) I found a page showing some of the anglo-saxon runes – quite distinct from the norse runes more typically used in tattooing and something about a couple of the runes just clicked with a previous conversation I’d had about astrological signs, and so I decided to design a sigil combining key elements that I could get to mark the relationship.
There are two runes symbolising unity/family (ING) and growth/fertility (GER) and they are flanked and included within the symbols of Scorpio (for t’other half), and Pisces (for myself). So yesterday, while dropping things off to post, walking off a migraine (told you I was stubborn) and feeling a sudden surge of curiosity, I took my design into a local studio that Jo has used before and who have a good reputation generally in the area (I think I know about four or five people who have praised them in one context or another over the years).
When the price offered was reasonable (thanks to the recent windfall) and he offered to do it there and then I mentally shrugged and thought ‘go for it’ – which is how I today have this interpretation of it. He’s lightly italicised the design to give some solidity to the sides so that the more delicate lattice inside contrasts without getting overwhelmed.
And it was interesting to compare the sensations with the phantasies that had built up over the years – occasional mild discomfort rather than pain being my main observation – and it was certainly far less traumatic than anything I’ve ever done to myself in the past, be it papercuts, accidents in the kitchen or doing stupid things while depressed. I’m also pleasantly surprised at how unfussy the aftercare has to be (ie, don’t be stupid, keep it clean and moisturised) – I think I’d been anticipating having a broken night rolling over onto it in my sleep – instead I just had a broken night because my mattress is at its life’s end and I swear its trying to actively cripple me before the new bed is delivered…
So yeah… not so much a rebel without a clue as casting my own spell on myself… right, back to wrapping presents and trying to write this story…