My astrology chart says I have to actualize the my inner strangeness. I have been hiding this part of myself for a long time. But at the tattoo parlor this weekend, I realized that I have to embrace my weird in a different way. As soon as I heard the buzz of the needle, I turned to my sister and said, “No way.”
I was disappointed with myself. I’d been too long on the soccer sidelines, going to parent-teacher conferences and trying to navigate the world of being a single mom without thinking about who I am as just me. Just me as a whole person. Not me in relationship to my kids or our schedule. I wanted to mark the event of this transition into a new version of myself with a visual stamp. I wanted it to reveal the person I am becoming beyond organized lunch boxes.
I had found the right people to go to the tattoo parlor with: my hip young sister and her hip young husband. We had lunch at the Gypsy Den in Costa Mesa and passed our phones around to show each other meaningful images we’d been thinking of getting. I brought my small copy of Apollinaire’s translated (by the great Ron Padgett) book of poems, Zone, and read some lines to them over fresh mint and cucumber infused glasses of sparkling white wine.
“How about this line in regard to building a new universe? Along my forearm?” I asked.
Good, good, they nodded.
Then we walked in and out of shops made of tin winnebagos.
We found cat-shaped sunglasses and cat-ear headbands and tiny cat charms on bracelets made of hemp.
“Maybe I’ll embrace my inner feline,” I said. “And get a cat tattoo.”
Good, good, they said.
I had a lot of ideas, but nothing I actually connected with–nothing authentically me.
But my sister and her husband kept up the supportive attitude even after I hurried them straight out of the tattoo parlor.
“Ugh, I’m so mad at myself,” I said when we were back in the car on our way to the beach.
“Hey, you don’t need a tattoo. You just ARE weird. Be her. She doesn’t need to prove it.”
“And also,” they added. “Tattoos aren’t weird anymore.”