Cambrian: Opinion

It took her four decades to finally get inked ... on the islands

Getting a tattoo felt “kind of like a bumblebee repeatedly stinging you or a tiger kitten with needle teeth not letting go of you for an hour or so.”
Getting a tattoo felt “kind of like a bumblebee repeatedly stinging you or a tiger kitten with needle teeth not letting go of you for an hour or so.”

There are things one should never jump into quickly like marriage, children, buying a house … and tattoos. Well, I’ve already done the first three at some point in my life but had been contemplating the fourth for 40 years.

As many of you know, my younger son lives in Honolulu. His best buddy and roommate also happens to be a tattoo artist – who practiced a lot on my son. I promised if I ever made up my mind about it, I’d let Mike do it.

I made up my mind.

I’ve lost good friends this past year, young and old. My hair is getting grayer faster. I can’t skip nearly as long and high as I used to. The younger son just experienced the “OOPS” moment here in Hawaii thinking they were going to get blasted to kingdom come, and who’s to say any of us might not be at any given moment? And, I might have to live only another 40 not 80 years with something I found less than amusing. What the heck, just do it already!

You hear of people making big changes in their lives, falling in love, falling out of love, going through some trauma or another and coming out of it, or just wanting to not-worry-about-what-any-other-person-may-think or trying-to-please- anybody-but-yourself-for-once, as reasons to get a permanent mark on one’s body. Yeah, that.

Only my third visit ever to Hawaii, I came by myself this time with no other agenda than to love on my child and his girlfriend. And get inked. Nothing like jumping into the fire: “The only time he has is (an hour after you land)!” The universe is obviously in on this too, knowing I’d consider backing out if I hung around too long.

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The finished result. Courtesy photo

So, both my sons have tattoos. Nice and tasteful by my standards. Different artists. Mike has a definite Polynesian flair (being a native). Me, old hippy/earthy/simple. … Could we make it work? I’d sent him my artwork, he tweaked it, I critiqued it, he changed the bits I liked or not, he could transfer my cursive writing … and I love it!

Did it hurt? Uh, YEAH! Kind of like a bumblebee repeatedly stinging you or a tiger kitten with needle teeth not letting go of you for an hour or so. But, his studio is bright, the reggae music was loud, my son and his girlfriend were both there and the conversation was funny.

Glad I did it. I’m glad they didn’t get blown to kingdom come so that I might do this and look upon their shining faces and hold them in my arms.

“What was going through your heads when your phone alerted you?” I asked.

“Get water together, look for a solid building, etc. We weren’t freaking out, just like, going through the motions, it was so surreal. It wasn’t until we all hugged that it was like, maybe we might not see each other again!”

Oops, my Aunt Fanny! Geez …

So, I’ve the week ahead, my family is intact, my sons’ names are indelibly etched on my arm just as they are in my heart, as will be my grandchildren. The trade winds are blowing any bad juju away and my heart is full. The arm is the tiniest bit tender but the heart is full.

Hey, I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve. And now I truly am my art!

Dianne Brooke’s column appears weekly and is special to The Cambrian. Visit her website at www.ladytiedi.com. Email her at ltd@ladytiedi.com.

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