How does someone like myself, who, let’s be honest, is not exactly the tattoo type, come to, in fact, have a tattoo? (And incidentally to also use a ridiculous number of commas in one sentence?) I really think it began in January as I made my first tentative steps to figuring out who I wanted to be on my own. Not one to quickly or impulsively make decisions, it was thus somewhat surprising when I, with the enthusiastic support of one of my best friends, made the sudden choice to get my ears pierced. Having begun this path of impulsivity, I did not hesitate when another best friend invited me on a last-minute trip to Oregon a few weeks later. Neither choice caused the least tinge of regret. In reality, I was beginning to quite like this new, (very) slightly carefree version of myself. Thus, when Shannon suggested getting a tattoo, it seemed like an appropriate end to a trifecta of escalating, potentially life-altering decisions that I had recently made with my best friends. Basically, it felt like the right thing to do.
But first, I did what anyone with a PhD and overactive thought processes would do: I slept on it and then copiously discussed the decision over coffee and oatmeal. Although I don’t think the oatmeal was necessary. After as much sleep as two friends who haven’t seen each other in months can expect to get, Shannon and I began our Saturday morning (because the morning does not actually begin until coffee) at a local coffeehouse where we, of course, had the most important beverage of the day (well, except water, which is, I am told, crucial for survival; although I would argue so is coffee), enjoyed a delicious breakfast, and marveled at the barista’s perfect guy-hair.
After breakfast Shannon and I did what is, I’m sure, typical pre-tattoo behavior. We spent the morning getting our hair washed and styled at the local Paul Mitchell School.
Seriously, who doesn’t want to essentially get their hair played with for 2+ hours. And it also happened to be the perfect place to get recommendations for where I should get a tattoo.
Thoroughly relaxed after a morning of pampering and still feeling confident about the decision to get a tattoo, we headed toward Absolute Ink. The relaxed feeling quickly dissipated. I began to feel truly nervous. Would it hurt? Was I sure about the design? Would my parents disown me? These questions and more flooded my mind as we tentatively walked inside. Only to be told that they were booked for the rest of the day… but, they could probably squeeze me in later in the afternoon… if we would just leave a phone number, they would call us if they had time.
Having been ready to get a tattoo, the delay caused a bit of a letdown. And an increase in nervousness. It only made sense to drown our nerves in Italian food and shopping in downtown Murfreesboro. These are pretty much two of my greatest coping mechanisms – comfort food and retail therapy.
We had just finished shopping at a really cute vintage clothing store when we got the call.
The funniest part was probably telling my parents.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: So, Mom, I have something to tell you, but don’t get mad (which is I’m sure how every parent wants a conversation to start)
Mom: Okay (the tone of doubt and concern apparent in her voice)
Me: I got a tattoo…
Me: I got a tattoo.
Mom: I didn’t understand. What did you say?
Me: A tattoo. I got a TATTOO.
Mom: I still didn’t understand you.
… (after about 15 repetitions because, to give her credit, “I got a tattoo” are words she never reasonably expected to come out of my mouth)
Mom: Oh no, you’re kidding. Randy (that’s my dad), Cora got a tattoo.
Dad (in the background): She’s just joking, right (a hint of panic in his voice)… I thought Shannon was a good influence!
And so it continued. I am happy to report my parents still love me, although my dad still doubts that I was sober. As does pretty much everyone else that I know.
For me, getting a tattoo was a rational, if admittedly spontaneous, choice that symbolized what I had gained through a difficult year – a peace and joy in my life that I previously could not have imagined – and reminds me to not lose sight of those lessons.
Shannon and I spent the rest of the day doing low-key friend stuff. We drank (even more) coffee, tried another new restaurant, and watched a movie.
I am so thankful to have a friend like Shannon with whom to share life’s adventures, big and small. This particular Saturday just happened to be one of the big (let’s just say once-in-a-lifetime) adventures. What is one of your favorite friend adventures? Please share!