That one time I got a tattoo (please don't tell my brother)
I wasn't planning on writing on this, but I've had quite a few people request to hear the story, so...here goes!
I've always wanted a tattoo. I know. You're talking to the girl who bruises like a peach and has passed out three times because of needles. Stay with me here.
I've been wanting a small cross tattoo on my wrist for the longest time. I kept wimping out since it's been, well, low on the priority list. When you're battling a major disease and a movement disorder, you tend to cut a lot of unnecessary things out of your life.
I kept thinking I wanted the cross tattoo until I ran into my friend a few months ago at church. She's a missionary in a closed Muslim country. I saw her small, delicate tattoos that were three small boxes on her arm; they stood for the Trinity. I immediately fell in love with the idea.
I thought it was beautiful because a) it represented something extremely meaningful b) didn't jeopardize her ministry c) it was honestly between her & God.
So, I tucked the idea in my back pocket. As weeks went by, I realized it was something I really wanted-- three small dots on my left wrist to represent the Trinity & to remind me what Christ has done for me.
So, I did what any self-respecting 25 year old would do. I bought a Sharpie to draw the three dots on my wrist to see how I liked it and if I would get tired of it. Spoiler alert: I didn't.
A few months later, I did my Sunday afternoon ritual of hopping on the L train over to Williamsburg to work on my laptop and read at my favorite coffee shop. This is when I'm most likely to scheme...er, dream.
I looked up a tattoo parlor on Yelp, and to both my delight and chagrin, there was a parlor on the exact same block with 40 straight 5-star reviews. I couldn't procrastinate anymore.
After I finished my latte, I marched the 30 steps over to this place. Honestly, I was so nervous walking in. Surely, they would judge the blonde Texan sorority girl. This actually turned out to be quite the opposite. They had an adorable porch and backyard, comfy couches, and even had gourmet teas to drink. As if I wasn't excited enough, the guy coordinating the place introduced himself and just happened to be from Dallas. I never stood a chance. Sold.
Since a lot of my friends wanted to come with me, I decided to hold off. When I tried to coordinate everyone's schedules, I realized we'd have to schedule probably 5-6 weeks in advance. Since scheduling getting a tattoo months in advance is the least badass thing ever, I didn't tell anyone went on a whim the next Monday.
My tattoo artist was a Diabetic with purple hair. She was amazing; we talked the whole time about health issues, Texas, and it didn't hurt at all.
Afterwards, I actually felt really empowered. Honestly, I couldn't figure out why until I was talking to a friend the night after.
Although wonderful, the last six years have been incredibly painful. My life has been a series of painful tests involving needles for years of my life -- and the outcome was always another diagnosis for another disease.
But, for the first time in my life, I had control. And this time, the outcome wasn't a dreaded diagnosis, but something beautiful. It was incredibly redemptive.
But, most of all, I did it for myself. I did it to prove to myself that I was still capable of taking risks and living life. As much as you try, this disease and disorder rob you of a lot of things. But, this was one thing I could still do. Small victories. And now, when I get tests done or blood drawn, I look at my wrist, and think to myself, "You can do this. Keep pressing on."
And press on I will.