Tattoos are expensive, painful and permanent. So why do people get them? I suppose it’s for many different reasons. Some say it’s in order to be different, while others claim they are just trying to fit in with all the other tattooed people. Some think that tattoos are just a cry for attention, a rebellion against society, or a way to hide who they truly are. Many people find them unattractive, or even repulsive. Still others see them as something beautiful, as a piece of “body art.”
I got my first tattoo when I was 17 years old. I lied about my age and had a dying Tree with broken roots tattooed on my back. At the time I was going through a mini existential crisis and was struggling to accept the fact that I was actually mortal, which was quite a shock for a 17 year old kid. Since then I’ve gotten new tattoos at different milestones in my life. For me, they tell the collective story of the significant events of my life experience.
When I was 20 years old I made a promise to my Mother that one day I would get the roots of my Tree re-attached. With the birth of my daughter I felt like the time had come. So this week the roots were connected and the entire tattoo was refilled with a fresh coat of ink.
For the second time in our life, my sister joined me in the tattoo ritual. She got new ink on her wrist.
I will share with you a truism about getting tatted. If you are a woman, it is ok to scream and even cry during the ink job. If you are a man… that is simply not allowed. I’m not being sexist. That is just the way it is, and you should know that prior to engaging in the process.
Since we found a great tat shop 5 blocks from our apartment, and since tats are ridiculously cheap here in Peru, I decided to have a little more work done. What would have cost $1000 in the US was less than $100 here in Peru. Hard to turn that opportunity down.
The earliest tattoos found are more than 5,000 years old. In 1991, a 5,300-year-old mummy was discovered in the Alps. He had more than 50 tattoos on various parts of his body, and he is the oldest human ever found to have tattoos.
The rationale of tattoos has differed from one culture to another during the centuries. Egyptians used tattoos to differentiate slaves and peasants. Then tattoos spread to China and Greece around 2,000 B.C. where they were used as a mode of communication between spies. Through all the different religious and cultural reasons, it seems that today tattoos persist for the love of art.
I bit down on my lip for 3 and 1/2 hours while the needle carved another large piece of art on my back. I thought about the huge event that just transpired in my life, the birth of my new daughter Soleil. From the first moment I saw her I knew that things would never be the same. I would never be the same.
Now I am a Father. And I will always be a Father. I love you Sol.
P.S. I think Stevie might be gearing up for a new tat soon. Stay tuned.
Family Iron Faith – remember here