I got my first ink the other day, something I've always wanted to do. My youngest sis and I had discussed getting it done together. She's got a couple of tattoos and was thinking about another. I thought about what image to get, and where.
Something classic but not trite, I decided--which ruled out Chinese characters, roses, skulls, the Jolly Roger or the old paw print on the boobs--and also not something I'd see on my flapping middle-aged bicep a few years hence and wish I'd spent the money on a spa day or a nice dinner or a lifetime supply of temporary tats. A native moon, I thought, a Haida design. But I couldn't find one simple enough to translate onto skin.
But this I liked, the fleur-de-lis, the elegant, classic symbol of New Orleans. So, $80 later it's mine forever, tattooed into my left ankle. I won't lie, getting it hurt like the dickens. But there is something cleansing in pain that penetrates to your bones. It focuses you, clarifies your thoughts. How much in life is permanent? the artist said, as she was setting up to get started. And when it was over: Welcome to the club.