I'd like to start today by saying thank you to Hawk (AKA Brown Dog) and his Mama. They awarded "At A Glacial Pace" the Stylish Blogger Award and we really appreciate it. I love reading her blog and I am positive her pictures are fantastic to look at. ;) So, if you get a chance, head over there and take a look see.
So, why am I "under the gun?" Well, don't worry, no one tried to rob us. In fact, this is a different kind of gun and I am at its mercy by choice. Actually, I've experienced this kind of gun four times already and even though it isn't exactly pleasant, I seem to keep going back for more.
If you haven't already guessed it, I am probably going in for my fifth tattoo. When written like that, it sounds like a lot and maybe it is, but each of my tattoos have been symbolic for me. I also don't like flashing mine about. I get them for me and they have meaning for me, so they're not something that I feel everyone wants or needs to see. That said, I know people who place their tattoos specifically so that they can be viewed and I don't have a problem with that either. It's all personal preference really. Now, the next logical question would be "why would a blind girl want tattoos for herself that she can't see?" This question is harder to answer.
As I said, they are symbolic and are a marking of something significant happening in my life. For instance, my second tattoo is of Jetta's paw print. We placed her paw in Play Dough and let it harden. Then we took the impression into the artist and had him use that his stencil. The bond between human and dog is strong and it's incredibly strong between human and working dog. I wanted something that was Jetta's that I could keep forever.
My fourth tattoo was of three, palm sized dragon flies flying up my side. I have always loved dragon flies and admired their versatility in the wild. Dragonflies are also a symbol of luck, strength and happiness in the Japanese culture. I got this last tattoo just after I retired from swimming and was about to start a new chapter in my life. It was hard going from being an elite athlete to an every day citizen. I had to redefine my social role and when I read the meaning of the dragonfly, I knew that I needed a constant reminder of my own inner strength and the happiness that was ahead of me without swimming. A little luck never hurt anyone either. :)
I also thought it was fitting that I got a tattoo after my swimming career had come to an end since my first piece was done in honour of swimming. I had a Maple leaf bursting out of water done on my hip. The waves were drawn to represent the waves that a Breast Stroker creates when they are swimming: that was my best event. My second tattoo was of a fairy with quite a bit of 'tude. I was a young, disabled woman trying to assert myself in the world and I think she symbolically represented that for me. I also had her wings drawn much larger than the original picture because flying was something I thought would be the ultimate freedom.
The other reason a blind girl would want tattoos is because despite my lack of vision, I am an extremely visual person. I love when people describe images to me and I love colours. I think I own one white shirt and one black one. Everything else has rich or vibrant colours. I think if I could see I would have probably been a painter or a photographer. I love making jewelry and I think it's because I get to make something with my hands and use my ideas of colour scheming in a productive way. I don't know how to explain it, but for some reason I have a strong instinct for what colours should go together and which ones should not. Quite often I will walk into a bead store and pick a piece for the centre of a necklace I am making and perfectly match the complimentary beads to it. Of course I have to ask what colour the beads are that I am touching and I am sure it is a tedious process for whoever goes with me, but I have some pretty patient friends. :)
The point of that random tangent was that I love art and I think tattoos are art: it is a form of art I can be a part of. I have been told that I should sculpt because it would be an artistic medium I could participate in and those people are right, but I've tried that. I sculpt something and then I want to paint it; give it some colour. LOL In high school I sculpted a turtle and then insisted on painting him green and orange. That was a satisfying mess. :) Sure sculpting is enjoyable, but for some reason it doesn't really appeal to me as much as playing with and matching beads. I am getting away from my main point again.
Life is changing around me very quickly right now; good changes. Some of them make me a bit nervous, but also very excited. I want something to mark these changes so I have decided to go back to the tattoo shop. This time around I want a painted turtle.According to the First Nations, turtles are respected for their healing properties and as well as for their resciliance. Moving to Scotland, embarking on yet another educational journey and having a wedding all seem like big moves to me. Very exciting moves, but big nonetheless. So in honour of these changes, I am going "under the gun." :)