….. I just got. Don’t freak out, I thought about it for a long time, like two years. I found my chosen word written in my dad’s handwriting on a piece of paper holding a random spot in his AA blue book. The word was PROVADENCE. Yes, it was and is misspelled, and has nothing to do with the city. He had never been much of a writer. He was life smart more so than book smart. And that word had some meaning to him or he wouldn’t have bothered with it.Dad's provadence
I worried about general stuff. Would it hurt? Would people judge me? Would I lose my arm from some rare infection? What would it look like in ten years? Twenty? Would I regret it? It was so permanent.
No matter where my thoughts went, I could not stop wanting all of it, the providence itself, the tattoo and it’s blood-brother sense of finality.
So I go to Visons Tattoo, Piercing and Art Gallery, a reputable and very cool spot in Medway. I normally think of myself as pretty current, but here I feel a little like June Cleaver in a heavy metal music video. The receptionist could be my daughter. There is an 18 year old girl getting a tattoo for her birthday, who brought a group of friends along for support, and I feel like I am in my own living room with my kids. The girls each take there turn looking at me out of the corner of their eye, trying to figure out if I’m there with someone else or heaven forbid, by myself. “That’s right,” I think. “Your moms should be this bad ass, Bitches!” However, I know saying this out loud while I’m shaking in my boots would not have the same effect that I envision in my head, so I keep it to myself.
But I stick with it, have a consultation with tattoo artist Craig Prentiss, make my appointment, and give a $50 deposit.
Honestly, the non-refundable deposit kept me committed. I pride myself on my history of difficult but successful life decisions. It’s just that as soon as I make them I want to follow through that moment, with no time for projection or self doubt. So for two schizophrenic weeks, “what the hell am I doing,” is what I think intermittently with, “I am getting a GOD DAMN TATTOO!”. When they called to confirm the appointment, I weakly tell them I’ll be there, relieved when the day finally arrives.
I knew there would be a heaviness in the etching of my dad’s handwritten word in my flesh, his wisdom embedded in my physical existence and sealing for me his physical absence while embracing his sense of spirit. This would mark my closure, my moving forward from what I lost with the bounty I had gained from him.                                                                                                     For the record, it hurt a little bit, but didn’t take long. Craig was awesome, and I am really pleased with my decision. I don’t give a crap what anyone thinks, really, and usually don’t. And my arm is still attached, and infection free. Yahoo!                                                                I am the one who sees that tattoo every day. It’s a reminder of what I have learned, who I am, and where I came from. It’s a reminder to be proud of the person I’ve become and how hard I’ve worked to get here. Tattoos are permanent, and so is providence. Thanks, Dad.