Book Review: The Stories Behind Tattoos

Shocking Tattoos

I was standing in the driveway, casually discussing the possibility of renting part of a house. The prospect of entering into a situation with roommates wasn’t particularly appealing, simply because I’d had my own space for many years and I prefer to live with that level of control, specifically: I make the decisions, period.

As the conversation progressed, my potential roommate/landlord brought it around to the other, long-standing roommate. The one not present. The one with…and she paused while making the pained expression people have when they fear a particularly bad response to what they are about to say…dreadlocks and tattoos.

I paused a moment, wondering when, exactly, I had physically transformed into the middle-aged, suburban, ignorant-about-everything woman people kept (incorrectly) assuming I was.

“I have tattoos,” was my only response.

She clearly did not expect that.

My Tattoos

I got my first tattoo right before the beginning of my divorce when I knew something was going to have to change or I was going to have to leave. As it turned out, lots of things needed to change and we both needed to go our separate ways (the details are another story for another day).

It’s the lion from the strength card in a tarot deck I owned at the time. I chose that image because I liked both the symbolism and the artwork. It translated into a beautiful tattoo. The symbolism behind the card and the lion (outside of the tarot deck’s interpretation), combined with the circumstances surrounding the act of being tattooed, couldn’t have been more perfect.

My second tattoo occurred during the height of the legal process of that same divorce. It’s a stylized hawk in similar colors and artistic design to the lion. It was designed by a friend with Native American lineage (and a grandmother actively involved with that community), so it includes a balance symbol from her own traditions. At the time, I suspected that particular element was included because the artist thought I needed to find balance in my life; which was true enough, so I went with the design. However, for me, the hawk has always symbolized freedom from entrapment (another long story for another time). Yet, freedom and balance can easily intersect with one another – particularly when necessary changes happen to include the end of a relationship.

The third tattoo was acquired at the very end of my divorce, during the absolute worst period of social and relationship drama. It’s a snake around my ankle. It’s the most visible tattoo I have. It’s a stylized blue tattoo, whereas the other two are red. It’s not scary and the symbolism behind it is not what you think – which is kinda the point. (And, yes, that is also a long story for another time.)

I like my tattoos. They are both symbolic and earned. I wish more people understood both of those concepts.

Chick Ink

This story is not in the book Chic Ink, but a complete version of all details (including those not provided here) could be pulled from this book.

Chic Ink is a collection of experiences, explanations, deep thoughts and memories. Reading it is like sitting down for coffee with a random collection of women and listening to every one of them answer this question: “What’s your tattoo and why did you get it?”

If you’re looking for a good read this holiday vacation, consider picking up Chick ink. The stories behind the tattoos are positively fascinating.

Chick Ink: 40 Stories of Tattoos–And the Women Who Wear Them by Karen L. Hudson

Quotes from the book can be found HERE.

Professional Caretaker

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Amazon.com

I could picture Petra’s face, the self-mocking pout she puts on when she knows she’s being a brat. The trouble was, of course, I would come to her rescue. And she was banking on that. Growing up the way I did, my mother dying when I was in high school, my father forced to turn the house and meals over to me, I felt as though I’d been born old. I was tired of my own knee-jerk reaction. You’re in trouble? Say no more. V.I., the grumpy cousin, will bail you out! I wished I knew how to turn off that particular switch. I wondered for a moment if my whole detective practice was built on my private history of being an adolescent caretaker.

Body Work (V.I. Warshawski Novels) by Sara Paretsky

Just Need A Door

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I slammed out of the Priest Hole and started walking, heading nowhere in particular. Sometimes you just need to go through a door.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The Movie opens September 30th!

Destiny and Doing Something Important

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Amazon.com

“Destiny” sounded like an obligation, and if I was to be thrust into battle against a legion of nightmare creatures, that had to be my choice. Though in a sense the choice had been made already, when I agreed to sail into the unknown with these peculiar children. And it wasn’t true, if I really searched the dusty corners of myself, that I hadn’t asked for this. Really, I’d been dreaming of such adventures since I was small. Back then I’d believed in destiny, and believed in it absolutely, with every strand and fiber of my little kid heart. I’d felt it like an itch in my chest while listening to my grandfather’s extraordinary stories. One day that will be me. What felt like obligation now had been a promise back then—that one day I would escape my little town and live an extraordinary life, as he had done; and that one day, like Grandpa Portman, I would do something that mattered.

Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Entrepreneurs vs Suits

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Amazon.com

“And that’s the absolute difference between corporate and entrepreneurial mind-sets. A suit looks at reports. If reports say this is selling, it’s design more of this. The entrepreneur says, “I feel a change coming around the bend, we need to get out of this and start getting into that. That is the new trend.” The corporate mind-set won’t do that unless they take a survey of one hundred people. The entrepreneur says, “It doesn’t matter what they say they want because they don’t know they want it yet.”

A good management team is able to meld what the entrepreneurial mind says is coming next and what the corporate mind says is working now. One is gut and the other is report.

The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned It into a Global Brand by Pamela Skaist-Levy, Gela Nash-Taylor, Booth Moore

From the first chapter:

We just wanted to create something people loved and a work environment that made us happy. That’s our version of the American Dream. That’s the glitter plan.

Dangerous Confidence

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Amazon.com

I know from experience that confidence alone can get a person into a forbidden place.

Allegiant (Divergent Trilogy, Book 3) by Veronica Roth