"Show me a man with a tattoo and I'll show you a man with an interesting past." ~Jack London
For some reason around the age of 12 I was an avid Real World watcher, hell, I still am. And maybe because of my Real World obsession I made a point to a) be on the Real World (got three years and 1 month until the cut off) and b) to get my tongue pierced. Whenever I mentioned either, Peg would give me the disgusted, why the hell would you do that? Look. To this day, I am unable to point to a specific reason for why I would want my tongue pierced, since that was the one I knew would be more easily attainable. I’m one determined chick, so please don’t try to stop me.
Upon my acceptance into American, I was placed (forced is the word I use though) into a program for minority students, so that they could become more easily adjusted to a new environment. What-the fuck-ever. I sulked and moved to DC the day after graduation, at the tender age of 17. My first foray into adult life. I had new friends and my New York State ID, which I ‘chalked’ with red, white, and black colored pencil. I was the only one in my summer program able to drink at clubs. I was a freaking rock star!
So I’m 17 with an ID that says that I’m 20 (almost 21) and I’m away from my parents. One day my roommate Denise decides that she wants a tattoo. At the same time, my friend Kenya decides that she wants her tongue pierced. Perfect timing, I’m getting’ my tongue pierced (I also had $200 burning a hole in my pocket). One weekend, we head to Adam’s Morgan, I’ve got my ID, although it had been smudging a little and Denise was ready to get her tattoo. We go in, I’m in the chair, I stick out my tongue, put my tongue to the roof of my mouth….Wouldn’t you know, I have a honking huge bright blue vein in the middle of my tongue. My piercer (is that a word?) tells me that if he nicks the vein, I will bleed to death, no if ands or buts about it. He knew a guy though, who could attempt it. Ummm Fuck no. I went home teary eyed and pissed. Now what?
Two weeks later, five of us head to Georgetown, I’ve found my “now what?”; a tattoo. Not sure what yet, I don’t think it really mattered, I just wanted someway to deface my body. I told you, I’m determined. I pace the parlor looking at the different designs. The tattoo artist accompanies me, to tell me how feasible the stuff I want is. Because I’m black, a lot of colors won’t show up very well. Ok fine. So what do I chose? A butterfly. A fucking butterfly. On the inside of my right ankle (so that no one in my future can see it. Also so that my parents can’t kill me right away). Bad ass. I know.
The next week, with my new and awesome tattoo (which wasn’t painful at all, except when the needle neared my shin bone), I phoned Peg.
“I have something to tell you and you won’t be happy”
“Are you sick? Are you pregnant?”
"Yeah mom, I'm pregnant. It's immaculate conception"
"Then what is it??"
"I got a tattoo"
“Oh My God! Don’t scare me like that”
For a woman that said she’d be disappointed if I got a tattoo she didn’t sound too upset. Just happy that I hadn’t gotten pregnant. For months I was pretty freaking proud of that thing, I could hide it then flash it when I wanted to.
It’s been a little over four years since I got my butterfly. 1) Who gets a freaking butterfly? 2) Who gets a freaking butterfly on their ankle, when they refuse to wear stockings, like ever?
3) What kind of mother permits her child to get a tattoo and then not put the fear of Jesus in her child, to prevent her from doing stupid things like getting tattoos?
Eh, at least she’s not disappointed in me. Let’s just keep her from finding out that I’ve done much worse. Wouldn’t you like to know.