There are some cathartic events that you know it, you feel it as it is happening. Like getting married. Or attending the funeral of a loved one.
The tattoo has been slower in developing meaning.
I'd joked about getting a tattoo for years. A couple of years ago, there was a half-hearted attempt to acquire one. Then, last winter, when it was decided that my Bestie would be joining us in NOLA in June, the conversation got serious. We both agreed we were into the tattoo. We found the place we wanted to do it, and worked on our designs.
I, originally, had asked my oldest friend in the world to design one for me. But, then he killed himself. I poured through his artwork to see if I could find something usable. Nada. Then, one night, at the end of yoga, I envisioned a lotus flower. Later, the same evening, a friend asked me for a recipe. I consulted the Southeast Asian cookbook I'd inherited from my friend. Stuck in the book, which I know to have been his "go to" cookbook, was a drawing he was using as a bookmark. In the center of his drawing was a lotus flower.
The tattoo place said they'd have to make it HUGE in order to insure the detail would come out properly. Much too large for what I was looking for. So, it seemed I might not get a tattoo after all. Then, as I gathered my friend's letters for his father, who is working on a collection of writings/art in memory of his son, I found a letter with doodles in it. And, that's how I settled on the design.
The tattoo was more painful than I expected. I didn't jerk my arm or cry, but there were moments when I gritted my teeth and wondered if it were worth it.
It is nearly healed now, and settling into becoming a part of me. Like the way my friend will always be a part of me.
Let's face it. Since my 40th birthday, it's been a long, painful march through crappy situation after crappy situation. I learned that a person I thought of as a dear friend was everything but a friend. I've had to watch the Old Woman struggle with the end of her life. I've experienced the death of two of the most important people in my life. And, I've had this bizarro medical journey with multiple hospital stays and surgeries. I need a bookend to these years of crap. I hope that this tattoo will become symbolic of what I've survived, and that the pendulum will swing back to the quiet, drama free life I once knew.
That is a lot to pin on 30 minutes of gritted teeth and a bit of ink. But, humans are kinda silly in what they put their faith in, no?