The drawing gene I don’t have…

…and dearly wish I did. For the longest time, I thought being “creative” meant being able to draw, paint, sculpt, or similar. I am gifted in none of those areas. Middle and high school art classes did a pretty good job of demonstrating that.

It wasn’t until college when I took up knitting again, more seriously this time, that I realized how many ways there are to express yourself and “be creative.” And then I discovered sewing, and most recently quilting and braided rugs.

But I still wish I could draw. Now it’s from a more practical standpoint. I mentioned my issues with anxiety in my last post. I make light of it sometimes, but I’m still surprised to discover how much of my behavior it drives, even when I don’t consciously realize it.

Anyway. One thing I have realized is that tattoos have become my stress response when I feel out of control in my life. Feeling out of control is probably the worst thing ever for an anxiety-prone person. If you knew me, you’d be surprised. I know me, and I’m surprised I have tattoos. I’m also afraid of needles. (I recently had to have blood drawn at the doctor, and it wasn’t any easier than before. Go figure.)

The best way I can describe it is as kind of like my version of anorexia, at least as I understand it. It’s something I can control and do to my body when I can’t control anything else. It hurts a little (actually less than I feared), I like how it looks, and I feel like I’ve achieved something.

Side note: I am by no means advocating for anorexia. If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, please reach out to someone you trust and get help.

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This was my first tattoo from September 2017, testing the waters, so to speak, at West 4th Tattoo. It means “impermanence” in Tibetan. I know, the irony. That was only the third layer of meaning to it, I have a weird sense of humor. The main meaning is about appreciating the good while it lasts, and how the yucky stuff won’t last forever. One of those “this too shall pass” messages.

The calligraphy is by a former Tibetan Buddhist monk, Tashi Mannox, who is an incredible artist.

And these are tattoos two through four since then–it’s been a rough year, and I’ve found tattoos to be semi-addicting.  The lotus flower was also at West 4th Tattoo.

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Lotus flower, representing beauty out of adversity, with semi-colon representing mental health awareness and suicide prevention

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Tibetan Green Tara prayer/mantra, which I think of as representing compassion in action

I went somewhere else for my third tattoo, the Green Tara prayer/mantra.  I regret that–Nick at West 4th was much better (was he 4x better? I’m not sure), in hindsight.  Definitely a case in point of you get what you pay for.  But you should probably regret something when you get tattoos, and there are worse things to regret.

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Tibetan Buddhist brahma vihara: loving kindness, compassion, altruistic joy and equanimity, with flowers that have personal symbolic meaning.

And I went to yet another artist/studio for tattoo number four–Emma Grace at White Rabbit (also Fleur Noire).  I liked her execution a lot, but I had hoped she’d collaborate a bit more on the design.

 

 

Back to wishing I could draw: I’ve been feeling the urge for another tattoo, and the process of working with an artist would be SO much easier if I could draw. Instead, I rely on Microsoft office products and trying to describe changes to sample images… “so it’d be like this, except not….”. And I’m also defaulting to the Pinterest universe, which is huge, but hardly original. Sigh.

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Right now, I’m inspired by a line of Emily Dickenson poetry, “hope is the thing with feathers,” while trying not to do the same tattoo that everyone and her mother has done.

I never thought I’d be so eager to be stabbed with needles.

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