Growing up, I couldn’t wait for all the perks that come with being an adult: to buy tobacco, to vote, to drink (legally), and most of all to turn my skin into a canvas for artwork that would stay with me wherever I went, however long my body lasted.
But then I turned 19, and I didn’t get that tattoo. This is because I didn’t know what that tattoo should be. As my initial one, I wanted it to be something with especial meaning, not just for my past and present but in the context of my entire life to come. Being the indecisive person that I am, I dwelled on it a year and then a decade, on into my 30s.
That whole time of trying to decide what I should get permanently imprinted on myself, I often considered the advice of my many inked peers. “Go for it,” they’d say, to paraphrase a composite of several conversations. “Just don’t get a band tattoo, because your tastes might change. And never get the name of any lover, because one day you might grow apart and even come to hate each other.”
So I finally did go for it. And I got, as my very first piece, a band tattoo with my lover’s name in it.