that’s gonna leave a mark.

Someone once told me that I was too young to make a bucket list. My response? “When I’m old, I want to be able to say I’ve DONE those things, not that I wish I’d done them.” And I seriously doubt that I’ll still be spry or rich enough to accomplish all the things I want to do. (Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, I’m looking at you.)

This will not be a blog post about my bucket list. I’m here to say that this past weekend, I accomplished something on my bucket list and it feels GREAT.

On Friday morning, I woke up nervous and excited…and virgin-skinned.  And now my spine will never be the same. 🙂

And, as I am prone to do, I have come away from this experience with many metaphors.

Metaphor #1: Getting a tattoo is like getting married.

(Which, on a semi-related note, is also totally on my bucket list.)

How? If you’re going to do it, you need to be absolutely sure that it’s what you want. You can’t just walk into a tattoo parlour, pick an example off the wall and say, “Yeah, smack that sucker on me.”
You must take time, make considerations, do research. Figure out who you are first, and then design something unique that will represent you in the best possible way. Once you get that down (it took me 3 years), then you have to find the tattooist/rockstar who knows his craft well enough and knows you well enough to help you follow through with your decision. He, if he knows what he’s doing, will draw the design for you 3 or 4 times until you think it’s just perfect, and then he will copy it with a mock-up anywhere on your skin until you find the place you can’t live without.
Believe me, getting a tattoo is a commitment. I was crazy excited to get it, but even as it was getting applied and I felt the pain (which is totally worth it, I might add), I wondered…was I making a huge mistake? I had been so sure for 3 years and now it wasn’t the pain that was making me question – it was the foreverness of it. I view marriage the same way; I can’t wait until someone loves me enough to ask me to share the rest of their life with them. But it’s so easy to think you know what you want, and it’s even easier to imagine exactly how you think it’s going to be. I thought my tattoo would be quite a bit smaller, maybe a little less fierce…how strange to think that it will still be there when I’m 72, if I live that long. But now that I’ve made the plunge, paid the price and seen the results, I can honestly say that I don’t regret it at all and I love it to pieces. I’m hoping that one day, my marriage will be the same way.

Metaphor #2: Getting a tattoo is like choosing God.

Again, it is a commitment. But I also did this FOR God. The Arabic characters surrounding the butterfly mean “new life,” and I feel very strongly that this is what God has given me. He has constantly reminding me along the journey that I am a caterpillar that he’s been slowly forming into a beautiful butterfly and that all the suffering will be worth it one day. I chose to have the lettering run along my spine with a bit of a wave instead of a straight line because this journey has not been straight. It’s been windy, twisting and turning, unpredictable. I chose my back because I won’t always be able to see it, but other people will and I’m hoping that’s how my faith will be as well. Even if I don’t always see evidence of God working or feel that my faith is strong enough, it IS there and will be forever. I want my tattoo to be a story-starter. And finally, it is an altar. In the Old Testament, whenever God did something great, the people would gather rocks into a pile and make a sacrifice to Him, giving the place a new name according to what he had done. All over the Middle East, to this day, there are altars everywhere and there are even people who still know what they mean. I believe that even though we don’t set up physical rock altars anymore, we are called to remember what God has done, in whatever form that comes in. And what better way to do that?

So that is the story of why. I am the same person, and yet different. And I’m so looking forward to seeing what happens next.

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