For pretty much my whole life, I have worn every hurt and sadness I’ve felt as an invisible strand of pearls around my neck. I didn’t realize this, of course, until I was an adult, and by that time I was quite bedazzled. We’re not talking major trauma here; I’m just a very sensitive bunny and tend to take everything to heart. By the time I learned how to let go, I had the emotional equivalent of Lupita N’yongo’s Oscar dress. As David Foster Wallace said, “everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it.”
Around the same time that I began realizing I could remove some of those strands of pearls, I noticed my sweet, graceful friend Amanda’s tattoo on her foot. All it said was “surrender.” I tried not to stare. I gushed about her tattoo, and asked her what it meant. I stumbled over my words as I often do. (I express myself much better in writing, as I am able to backspace right on over all the “ums” and “you knows”.) Sweet Amanda was very patient and said that if I liked it that much, then I already knew what it meant. I definitely had no idea what it meant. But then I started to ask myself why I thought I didn’t know. And though I wasn’t quite sure yet, I started to think of it as as my personal motto.
In March 2013 I walked into Jinx Proof in Georgetown and with a nervous hand signed my name on a consent form. I acknowledged that I was over 18 (heh) that I had eaten within the past four hours, that I wasn’t drunk and that I knew what I was getting into. I had known for almost ten years.
My gals Paula and Megan went with me. Megan was getting her nose pierced (which I did, too in a real-quick-do-all-these-things-before-I-chicken-out kinda way). Paula was just along for the ride, mostly for moral support, but I think also she never really thought I’d do it, what with the decade of mulling over she’d witnessed.
“I really want to get another tattoo, too! If I don’t get one at least once a year, I get antsy,” Paula said. She got her first at 18. She mulled nothing over. “I think I wanna get feet with the toes slightly pointed in, like they’re in tadasana.” She’s a yoga teacher.
“I love that idea!” I said. I thought we could Google-images it at dinner.
I was led back to the tattoo area, handed the tattoo artist the crumpled paper from my purse on which I had written the word surrender about twenty-five times. He made a stencil, and I plopped my foot up on the table, inadvertently knocking over some sterile bandages the artist had laid out.
“Oops! Sorry. I’m kind of nervous. It’s my first tattoo and I’ve been thinking about this for almost a decade! It’s got a very special meaning to me and my friend Amanda…”
Suddenly I heard crazy giggling coming from the tattoo station next to me, and Paula’s excitable voice saying, “I JUST THOUGHT OF THIS TATTOO TODAY!!!”
And that is the difference between me and Paula, an Aquarius and a Virgo, someone who trusts the universe and someone who is often delayed by planning and perfection, and ten years versus ten minutes.
I emailed Amanda to show her my new tattoo….She said, “Hope it becomes the great reminder to you that it has been to me. Just wait for the good things to come your way!”
It is, I am, and they are.