Street Cred: Got Ink?

A couple of years ago, I discussed my mom’s and sisters’ addiction to tattoos and my equally strong fear of getting one. I’m still mostly chickenshit, but I think I’ve finally grown ballsy enough to get inked. After all, what the hell kind of mafia capo can I be without having a tattoo?

Getting “tatted” together is a bonding experience that my mom and sisters have shared, and they’ve been trying to persuade me for years to join them. I went with Chanel and Dani a few months ago just to watch when they got their last tattoos. I maybe possibly perhaps got a little dizzy when the needle machine thingy drew a little blood from Chanel’s leg.

Wussiness aside, the major reason I haven’t gotten a tattoo before now has been because of the surrogacy attempts. Though the risk of disease transfer is relatively low when being serviced by a professionally-licensed artist, surrogates cannot transfer within 6 months of getting a tattoo. This is to give time for possible communicable diseases to incubate and show up on testing if they are present. So, getting a tattoo was always on my list of things to do after my surrogacy days were over.

Well, it’s time. I feel like getting this tattoo is what will permanently seal my active participation in surrogacy. When I announced my retirement, it wasn’t with a feeling of satisfaction for a job well done. It might sound like giving up on surrogacy isn’t worthy of an emotion as heavy as grief, but I really think that’s what my year of writing silence was all about. I didn’t come to terms with my retirement from surrogacy in a linear flow; I cycled through acceptance, denial, anger, bargaining, and isolation. I had to come to a place where I could look at my cumulative experience as a surrogate and feel the warmth of what I did accomplish instead of the failure of what I didn’t. 

I’m proud to say that I’ve made it to that point. I’ll always continue to be a source of information and support for prospective intended parents and surrogates, but now I feel like I can officially close the chapter of actively being a surrogate. Getting a tattoo will punctuate this closure with a permanent reminder of all in my life for which I am grateful.

I’ve spent months trying to figure out what tattoo I wanted. I can definitely say that it has been one of the most challenging tasks to accomplish. I’m the type of person who likes to change things up often, and I needed to be sure that I chose something  that I wouldn’t mind looking at for the rest of my life. It also had to represent the happy fullness that I feel in my heart so that in rough times, it would always stand as a reminder of me at my best. It had to represent the unyielding love Frank and I have for each other and the love we have for the Minions and for our wider family. It also had to represent how I now view my infertility journey and all that it lead (and still leads) me to do with surrogacy, because that collective experience shaped a very huge part of who I am.

When the image finally formed itself in my mind, I described it to my sisters and they, in turn, described it to Brandi (she’s the family tattoo artist; we are thugs like that). She free-handed a sketch (the actual tattoo will include color) and emailed it to me. Not to sound trite, but my heart skipped several beats when I saw it. It is perfect:

Fortunate tattoo

We have a family tattoo session set for tomorrow afternoon, and I’ll be getting this inked just above my right ankle. My evil sisters have promised to take pictures and video footage.

It’s your turn to share your Smartness: Do you have a tattoo? If so, what is the story behind it? Does it represent a culmination of a phase of your life or carry some other significant meaning? Do you have any tattoos that you regret? If you don’t have a tattoo, do you have plans to get one or would you ever consider getting one? What would you get and why?

24 thoughts on “Street Cred: Got Ink?”

  1. When I turned 25 I got a butterfly on my lower leg. I imagined myself getting another down the line but riht now once was enough. Someday soon I may get another. Maybe. I like the way it looks, I like that its just one. I will freely admit that I look in horror at the tattoos that cover arms, legs, necks…gah!
    I enjoy my tat, don’t feel rhat I have additional street cred and love, love, love the look I get when people realize that yes, I do have a tattoo. And locs and a nose piercing!

    1. I think people will be quite shocked to see that I have a tattoo, too. I think locs and a nose ring DO give you some extra street cred!

  2. Ohhh exciting! I’m so happy and excited for you! You’re going to love it!
    I have two tattoos and I love them both! I have one on the back of my neck that’s a passion flower, there really wasn’t much significance other than I love flowers and passion flowers are beautiful. After my mom died, I had always wanted a tattoo in her honor. I didn’t want a “traditional” memorial tattoo with her name on it and the date of her passing. For me, it didn’t feel right. So instead I got a forget-me-not flower on the inside of my left wrist. It is my favorite tattoo and I am in love with it! It was a huge step for me to get this tattoo, and I don’t regret it!

    I can’t wait to see your tattoo!

    1. A forget-me-not sounds like the perfect choice for a remembrance tattoo to honor your mom. Have you ever blogged about it before? If you did, I missed it and I’d love for you to send me the link. If you haven’t written about it, maybe you could? Miss you!

  3. When I was 19 I got the Chinese character for “butterfly” above the inside of my right ankle. At the time, it seemed like EVERYONE was getting either a butterfly or a character tattoo, so I went a bit different. It’s special to me because my Chinese name, when translated to English, means Butterfly Dream. I also knew what the calligraphy was supposed to look like; one of my friends thought she was getting “happiness”, but the artist tattooed “whore” instead…

    1. Oh, snap! Did your friend ever get that corrected?

      Love your that your tattoo is the meaning of your name. When considering tattoos, I’ve thought of finding an African Adinkra symbol that is similar to the meaning of my first name.

      1. Yes, but only after she went on a trip to China. She couldn’t figure out why guys were propositioning her left and right, until someone pointed out the meaning of her tattoo (she thought it was because she was a tall, blond American). When she got back, she threatened to correct his face unless he paid for the tattoo to be fixed by someone else.

        1. Oh, damn! I would have had his balls in a sling; good to know that she had what it took to put that asshole in his place.

  4. Another one suffering from chickenitis, otherwise known as a total chickenshit.

    I have 3. I won’t lie, they hurt like a mofo. Each of mine have personal meaning behind them so I don’t regret them for a second.

    I think you should have ‘Smart’ tattooed right above your buttcrack. Just make sure they don’t change the word to oh…..’Jack’ or ‘Dumb’. 😀

    You know that old saying “It takes one to know one.”? I’m just the older smartass.

    1. HAHAHA! I know exactly who you are, Older Smartass. You finally came out to play on my blog. Your witty commentary is more than welcome here, because you are like the OG of being a smart ass.

      1. Another one suffering from chickenitis, otherwise known as a total chickenshit.

        Hey, I commented a few days ago on your visit to the torture chair at Satan’s lab, aka the dental office…but you were probably to doped up on the happy pills to notice. 🙂

        Duh. Me again.

  5. I like it!!
    I have 8 tattoos, 2 very large ones on my back, one on each arm and 4 on my feet. If given unlimited funds, I have no idea how far I would go, I love them.

  6. For the record…i’m chickenshit too!!! Lol so considering taking the jump right before my 30th

  7. I got a matching tattoo with my youngest step-sister (somehow we are the closest out of 9 half/step illegitimate children) We told the artist we wanted two flowers and our favorite colors (pink and purple) incorporated into it. He sketched it out and put it on our ankles. It wasn’t that bad and I want another one. The trouble is finding something that I want to put on my body permanently and finding a place that hasn’t been completely ruined by pregnancies but is somewhere I can hide if need be (I wanna be a teacher, ya know!) Reading your comments makes me happy I held off through my fascination with Chinese tattoos and never got anything in a different language written on my body.

  8. Love the new digs babe!

    I have 3 tattoos, each of them has a story…
    Pepe Le Pew on my left shoulder blade: my cousin and his wife were killed in a tragic accident in Switzerland in 1999 on their honeymoon, their deaths rocked my family like none of us could imagine. So my cousins and I made a pact to do something that we’d previously been too chickenshit to do, my thing was a tattoo, I wanted one but was too scared to do it. Why Pepe? Because, to me, he signifies love and joy!!

    On the inside of my left ankle I have 2 tattoos representing my lost babies. The first one is the Gemini sign, which I had done after we lost the girls. Their star sign should have been Gemini, and of course the twin thing. The other one is an Ankh for boy/girl twins.
    I’m now actively scouting for another design to celebrate the birth of B…
    Pics please?!

  9. I love, love, love that design. I currently have two tattoos…a dragon with stars and a dragon/dolphin yin yang symbol. You can see the pictures here The meaning behind my tats (copied and pasted from the post)…She reminds me of the dragons from Anne McCaffrey’s books and I had her done in gold just like the female dragons in the books. I had the stars added about 6.5 years ago and each star represents one of my losses. Since I only know the sex of one of the babies I lost, I told the tattoo artist I wanted one pink star and to pick whatever colors he liked for the rest of them (I still need to add one star). When I get the final star added, I want to add a dragonlet for each of my kids. The second tattoo is something I designed. It represents the friendships that carried me through some horrible times. However, I realized soon after I had it done that it was missing something. It needs a name and (somehow) a cat’s paw print added. I’m thinking the name should be added across the top and there should be a small paw print in between each name.

    I definitely have more that I want to get.

    Maybe you and I can get one together when we finally meet up.

  10. I’m up to 8 tattoos and see no end in sight. I have a vision to have my while back done as a sort of mural of my life.

    My fave tattoo is currently my largest taking up most of my right shoulder blade. It is a Japanese tribal style dragon mixed with several kenji. I chose “growing strength” “tranquility” “wisdom” and “fate/destiny”. They are just the words but I chose them to represent my personal philosophy “have the wisdom to accept your fate and the strength to make peace with it”. I went through some rough times in my early 20’s and this tattoo is there to remind me that we can survive almost anything if we learn how to accept the past and not let it rule our future. Might sound silly to some but it’s mine and I love it.

  11. I have three tattoos, which are all in places I can “hide” while at work. I love your tattoo, and cannot wait to see pictures!

  12. I love your description of the letting go process. I hope I can do it with as much grace. I have two tattoos, on my ankle, a bit of “twenty-first birthday” silliness. The on on my lower back is a Druid symbol that turns negative energy into positive energy, kind of a synopsis of my life philosophy. It’s very dear to me. I hope it went so well and you LOVE the tattoo.

  13. I like it! I don’t have any because like Lori, I’m scared. Or, more accurately, I have a completely irrational fear of needles even though I filled an entire large Red Sharpes container with syringes during my infertility journey.

    Can’t wait to see the pics 🙂

  14. “I had to come to a place where I could look at my cumulative experience as a surrogate and feel the warmth of what I did accomplish instead of the failure of what I didn’t. ”

    Glad you made it to that place.

    I have no tattoos as I’m afraid of the pain and can’t think of anything that I’d like permanently inked on my body. But that tattoo design looks awesome.

Comments are closed.