Bucket list item #1, Tattoo:

Perhaps the tattoo is cliché, I don’t care. As I told the Doctor whom I work for when he asked why I got a tattoo, ‘It was on my bucket list, so I had to do it’. He laughed and objected. September of last year, one month before my 29th birthday, I found myself in Portland Oregon visiting Tyler, my childhood sweetheart and ambiguously estranged husband of nine years. He had moved just over the Oregon/Washington border in July to take a job working for his Dad. I stayed in Southern Oregon because I thought it was a terrible idea.

It was a Monday and Tyler had to work while I had the whole week off to putz around Portland. I told him my tattoo plans while we made breakfast and he seemed astonished. ‘You are really just gonna walk in somewhere and get a tattoo today?! What if you regret it?’ I had browsed tattoo ideas online for a couple of days, so I considered my due diligence done. I wanted something simple and meaningful that could be hidden or displayed easily. We kissed goodbye, tasting of turkey bacon and maple syrup.

I successfully parallel parked in front of ‘New Rose Tattoo’ in Northeast Portland. This was a good omen. With a stupid grin I walked into the parlor and was greeted by Mr. Xavier Darling, whom I had spoken with an hour earlier. I showed him the inspiration pictures on my phone and spoke of my love of ‘watercolor’ tattoos. He responded with his dislike and distrust of this new fad, cautioning against the fading and unsatisfactory long term look.

My previous experience in dealing with professionals urged me to listen to the demure Mr. Darling and we settled on a very minimalist Scorpio constellation just behind my left ear.

I lay on my side, hair hog-tied by several rubber bands, skin sterilized and waiting. The anticipation was thrilling. ‘I’m getting a tattoo!’ I was just enough scared to enjoy the triumphant bravery. The gun started humming. ‘Ok, here we go’ Mr. Darling reassured. I smiled and grimaced. After 5 seconds… ‘is that all? That doesn’t really hurt!’ More of a pinching, stinging sort of feeling, I mused.

Just enough pain to feel alive, but not enough to really question my existence, a comfortable pain.

5 minutes later I emerged a couple of degrees closer to ultimate badass and joined the ranks of another co-culture, the tattooed.

I didn’t facebook it, I wanted it to stay semi-hidden. It was mostly for me, marking the beginning of my intentional search for true life. Bucket list item #1, check.

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