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.

Laughing Until It Hurts

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Amazon.com

I wipe my face with my sleeve, laughing so hard my stomach hurts. If my entire life is like this, loud laughter and bold action and the kind of exhaustion you feel after a hard but satisfying day, I will be content.

Divergent (Divergent Series) by Veronica Roth

Dream House

After (finally) updating my Wild Raccoon Farm blog, I started thinking about my ‘ideal home.’ The Wild Raccoon explores a form of community living that I would love to participate in, but finding an intentional community can be extremely difficult. It’s the kind of thing that potentially borders on impossible for people who don’t already have a network of friends and family who also want to live like that.

This begs the question – what else? What is the alternative near-perfect option? I’ve started a Pinterest board called Homes and Gardens, where I pin pictures of living spaces. There’s a lot of rustic cabins, Hobbit houses, fairy houses, travel trailer, stone garden sidewalks, reading nooks and similarly rustic-yet-cozy things featured there.

But designing the ‘perfect house’ requires a focus on function over design. How will the space be used? What elements are most important to the lifestyle of the owner?

Personally, I keep coming back to a very old fashioned family business and home combination. This model has become near-obsolete and zoning laws in the United States make finding, buying and maintaining the commercial/residential status difficult. Legalities aside, I just love the idea of owning a house with a storefront, running a business or office out of the store and living above or behind the shop.

Of course, there has to be a large backyard for pets, a garden and recreational activities. A little hobby farm would be even better. And then there’s those below ground homes with grass roofs, which are wonderful for both heating/cooling and extra garden space.

Interestingly enough, my dream home does not have a swimming pool. I love to swim, but every time I see a house with an in-ground pool I start wondering what it would cost to fill it in and put the land to better use. A beach, lake or swimming hole (provided by nature) are en entirely different matter.

I guess that’s what makes designing a dream home both fun and challenging – how do you incorporate everything?

Defense and Fear

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Amazon.com

But they refused to develop a plan for how to defend the village against attack, since it would have required them to explain the danger to the Ashawala’i people. “When you are old,” they said to Zanja, “You will understand. Now, it is difficult for you to see how easily that which is right and good can be changed, and how difficult it is to change it back again. You say that our people are endangered by these Sainnites. But you do not see that fearing the Sainnites would endanger them even more certainly.”

Fire Logic (Elemental Logic) by Laurie J. Marks