This one is going to be fun, because I have a lot of tattoos – but not quite as much as I will have. Isn’t that just how it goes, though?
I gave myself my first tattoos at the tender age of 16. I wasn’t being a rebel or trying to buck the status quo: I needed an indelible way to tell my right from my left. There’s a small L on my left hand and a matching R on my right, and to this day, I use them to tell the difference. If it’s dark and I can’t see them, I have to visualize looking at my hands.
My first major tattoo (and the next one I got) was at 25, I think. It’s twin snakes entwined on my back between my shoulder blades – like the Auryn from “the Never-Ending Story”. It was actually supposed to be a large crest on my left arm, but… well, let’s just say, it wouldn’t have healed right. It was probably one of the most excruciating experiences of my life – I didn’t realize until he was going over the spine that I had some big fat bone bruises going on. Oh, and I only weighed about 85 pounds, so no padding, either.
I didn’t get my next big one until 2005, I think. That’s my stag’s head/dragon’s head knotwork on my upper right arm. It represents the nature of nature and the interconnectedness of all, and it was the first Toby tribute.
The next one was my coyote on my upper left arm, and I’m not entirely happy to admit that it’s shared with my ex. However, we got it not as a “testament of our love” or any such nonsense as that, we got it because we shared the experience of losing Toby. Coyote teaches us that the best laid plans of mice and men usually involve cheese (or at least whatever it is you don’t happen to have on hand to make it work).
After that… I wanna say it was 2008, maybe 2009? I got all six of my natural kids on my left arm below the coyote. Cassidy is a heart-shaped lock, opened up; Lili is a star with a crescent moon inside; Miles is a green and blue hand with a magic swirl; Joseph is a leaping flame with a magic swirl; Toby is a nine-pointed star; and Daniel is a pi sign, as he was born at exactly 3:14 in the afternoon.
Finally, last year for Mother’s Day, I got the rest of my kids tattooed below my stag’s head on my right arm: Gaia is the earth (of course), Cy is a fiery sun (son), and Collin is a lion’s head.
Tattoos that are still planned: a very special “lucky 13” to celebrate the year I married my awesome Saint; a labyrinth to commemorate my journeys past and future; and quite a few others. It’s all about having time and money at once.