Would this 60-something grandma get a tattoo?
Especially since both her daughters asked (with puppy dog eyes and adult logic!)? “We could get matching tattoos of a ‘claddagh’ (symbol of a heart in hands) to honor our Scottish heritage,” they persuaded.
Well…no. Sort of…
Most of the stories I have told you in this blog series came from people, both young and old, who had given their tattoos a tremendous amount of thought. They languished over choosing the right artist and creating the perfect design. They relish telling the story behind their ink. Their tattoos commemorate personal milestones and memories that are uber meaningful for them.
I, on the other hand, am older (ahem). There are so many personal milestones I have achieved at my age that it would be hard to choose just ONE to permanently ink onto my body. What if I had permanently applied on my body symbols for what seemed important at the time, but then failed? My body could look like a road map to CrazyTown! My kids’ names? Not really necessary. Even this many years later, it is not likely I could forget three unmedicated births, or the strong personalities they possess!
But my daughters poured it on pretty thick. Especially with the Scottish heritage suggestion. A ‘claddagh?’
So I did what every non-committal, overly busy Boomer does. I googled it! No further thought. No long sessions tweaking a design. The second design that came up made sense! I printed it out on paper (instead of a digital copy. Yes, I’m that old!) and just decided to DO IT!
I took it with me last weekend to Las Vegas and actually stepped inside a tattoo parlor (are they even called parlors? after all this research, one would think I might know!). One whiff of ink and rubbing alcohol, and I was back out the door again. No courage. No tattoo. My husband’s total consternation might have had an influence…
And then it happened
Tuesday, I walked through the mall with my granddaughters on the way to the Lego Discovery Center, because that’s what grandparents do during the summer. And off in the distance, like a slow-mo promo was… a threading kiosk called Karma Henna! I made a mental note, enjoyed the day with my granddaughters, and headed back to the mall alone later in the week.
So yes! I got a tattoo!
A black, henna tattoo of a Scottish claddagh. Displayed on the ever popular wrist. Positioned so others can see it. It took five minutes and cost $15.
It will give me bragging rights for three days. It took my husband two of those days to even notice it, and let’s just say in a very understated way, it sparked a ‘conversation.’ By the time you read this, I will be scrubbing the last shadows out of my old, wrinkly wrist. It never occurred to me that I had an old, wrinkly wrist till the ink ran in a few of them. Ew.
I fancy myself a granny-blogger, building stories that bridge different generations with hope, understanding, and now, beauty. It troubled me to see too many people judging others with tattoos, and seeing the judged miss out on knowing otherwise nice, normal people. I needed to explore ways to bridge that ink divide.
You may be the one who doesn’t understand, or you may be misunderstood. Perhaps it is about your tattoo, or maybe it is about something completely different. It doesn’t matter. We have all misunderstood and been misunderstood.
The principles taught in God’s word are the only things that truly, never change. If I had to choose one principle (okay, two principles), to bridge misunderstanding, it would be: Matthew 22:36-39
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
When we lead with love, God allows us a glimpse into another person’s soul. The opportunity to start a conversation with someone different is an opportunity to build a bridge of understanding. Across that bridge you can carry kindness and hope, or judgment and misunderstanding.
Love God. Love people.
Choose kindness. Choose understanding.