Sunday, January 13, 2013

... the skin graft man won't get you

Outfit posts have been a non-issue recently, as my whole family has come down with some sort of illness. Baby Boots got a bit of a cold right before Christmas, then I got a little sick, then my husband got super sick, and then Baby Boots and I got super-sick again. I lost my voice completely on Thursday (still taught two classes!) and missed work on Friday. Baby has gone to the doctor a couple of times and is doing okay - just seems to be a bad cold: neither of us have the super-flu, thank goodness!

Anyway, I wanted to write about something that's been dear to my heart for over half my life: tattoos. What are your thoughts, people? Many of my friends, acquaintances, colleagues, etc., etc. have tattoos, including my two dearest friends. Lots of bloggers whose style I admire (Sal, Raquelita, to name a couple) sport at least one beautiful tattoo.

Let me get this out there:


I come from a socially conservative family, to whom the idea of tattoos is anathema. I'm also quite afraid of pain. I don't really think I'll get inked anytime soon, but I've been half in love with the idea since I was fifteen. At that age, when I was first really in love with India and Hinduism, what I most wanted was an OM tattoo. Something like this:

I didn't know where I would put it, but I loved the idea of having one. Of course, a couple of years later, everyone and their mother had an OM tattoo, so I was turned off the idea.

In recent years, I've thought more and more of tattoos and placement and whatnot. When I first got into walruses a couple of years ago (my favorite animal!), I was really into the idea of a very small, realistic walrus tattoo on my lower back (right side, around where the kidneys would be, I think). But then again the issue is: do I really want a walrus on my skin for life? Maybe not.

I liked the idea of an ancient Athenian owl tattoo (nape of the neck) to kind of symbolize my love for Greece and my husband. It would pretty much be a reproduction of this:

I didn't find a good version on Google, but a colleague of mine has THE EXACT tattoo that I dreamed of, so that's a bust. 

Because of my studies and my love for Sanskrit literature, I thought of getting a favorite verse or two in Sanskrit to commemorate my Ph.D. Also on my back (for some reason, the right side, middle/lower back is what I'm all about). My favorite verse looks like this:

आलाने गृह्यते हस्ती वाजी वल्गासु गृह्यते |
हृदये गृह्यते नारी यदीदं नास्ति गम्यताम् ||

It's from the Mṛcchakaṭika ("Little Clay Pot") by Śūdraka and it means: "An elephant is to be grasped by the rope; a horse is to be grasped by the reins; a woman is to be grasped by the heart: if that isn't the case, leave it alone." For some reason, that verse has resonated with me since the moment I first read the play my first or second year of grad school. Sigh. Memories. I was really close to getting this one upon defending, but I was pregnant. So, nope.

Finally, my new favorite things in life are cherry blossoms. And I love the idea of getting the image of cherry blossoms inked on my body (don't know where yet). Something like this?

I love the rich, pink color on this style. And I love the juxtaposition of flower with branch: I would definitely want that.

I love the delicacy of this. But I like the idea of starker contrast: dark brown branches, dark pink blossoms. Color of the top one, aesthetic of the bottom? I don't know. Some ideas.

I don't know why the idea of a tattoo appeals to me so much. I like the idea of committing to something so strongly that it's etched on my skin. I love ornamentation, as you all know: jewelry, pretty things - I guess I kind of consider a tattoo a form of really, really permanent jewelry that you really gotta love. 

What do you all think? Do you have a tattoo? Would you get one? 


  1. I like the owl and cherry blossom ideas. When I read tattoo I immediately thought something to do with Greece would be awesome for you.

    As for me, I love the tattoos I have and my arm is yet to be finished, but I don't think I will be getting any more after this. Not because I am "over" them, but I am kind of feeling completed.

  2. I'm so glad you're blogging again! Yay! I'm still on . . . hiatus? Let's go with hiatus.

    I have five tattoos, so obviously I like them. I want one more on my back, to complete the spinal pattern / organization I have going, but since I don't know what I want I will wait.

    Yeah, you've gotta love it. My heavily-tattooed ex always said, "decide what you want and then wait a year," though I haven't always followed that rule of thumb. You know what, though? Even if you don't absolutely love a tattoo ten years down the road, you'll still enjoy it as a part of you, as part of your look and the evolution thereof, as part of your history.

    I think your tattoos ideas are brilliant. I love the owl, the Sanskrit (especially because you can read it! So many people have languages they cannot read inked on their bodies) and the cherry blossom. Gorgeous, so much possibility.

    I could go on, apparently.