The Tattoo Artist, Friendship Soup and Conversation

vintage-tattoo-couple“Tattoos made my skin more ‘me.’ -Melissa Maxwell”

Larry Smith, It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure

I spoke to him on Thursday night, after handing him a jar of handcrafted soup. The note attached articulated that I hoped it nourished he and his son’s bodies as well as their souls.

His eyes clouded with tears, and he began to speak to me. To catch me up on his life. The words came out in torrents. I just listened. It usually is so difficult for me to keep my mouth shut. I always want to inject words of advice into conversations with friends. To ease the pain in some way.

He told me of recent happenings. The sadness. The grief. The loss of a good friend to suicide. And coming to the realization that he was a good man. I kept listening. And smiling. I wanted to hold him close to me, but I didn’t think he’d welcome the contact.

For some reason, he went back to the beginning of his life and shared everything. This man that has pierced me with his needle made sure to  pierce my heart too.

We spoke of his art. The drawing, painting, and tattooing. We spoke of writing. He said I was good. I told him he was better. I announced that he was a reincarnation of Jack Kerouac. He chuckled and grinned like a little kid and announced that his grammar was awful. I assured him that a writer is only as good as their editor. He snickered again.

I inquired about Christmas Day. He told me he’d be spending it alone. The nurturer in me wanted to invite him to dinner on the 25th. Wouldn’t that be something, my friend, covered with tats, ears gauged, sitting at the dinner table with my family? But I didn’t ask. I should have.

Our words began to lessen and it was time for me to take my leave. He came around the counter and hugged me tightly to him. I took in his scent, divine and manly. I whispered in his ear, ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.” He smiled boyishly and I departed from his shop.

His smile stayed on my mind while I drove to my little apartment, just 10 minutes away. The fact that he would be alone on Christmas Day did also. When I got home, I extended an invitation for Christmas dinner. His reply was noncommittal but thankful all the same.

He let me into his life on Thursday night, and I didn’t worry about what time it was. Or the other things I had to do, I just listened.

And I learned.

**Writer’s Note:**
This was the Facebook status that I was tagged in after we talked on Thursday evening. I guess my words stayed with the artist. It is quite an honor to be a part of his life. No matter how small that part may be.
I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.-jack kerouac — with Renee Heath.
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You’ll Swoop from Incredible Highs

‎”You’ll swoop from incredible highs when you’re just glad to be alive, to those lows when you wish you were dead. And just when you start thinking that you’ve accepted who you are, that changes, too. Because who you are is not permanent”
— Andrew Davidson (The Gargoyle) 

I’m really busy today and don’t have much time to post but I’ve been reading one of the most incredible books. It’s called The Gargoyle. t from As Long As I’m Singing wrote a top 10 book list that I’m trying to work my way through. Of course I had to read a tragic love story first, because it’s the kind of girl that I am. I LOVE love. Especially impossible love. Redemptive love.

I’ve been thinking a lot about redemption this week. About changes. About why I’m still here. About how I could have killed a 19 year old boy that was just going to get a pizza. About my life. About slowing down. About losing two best friends. About, everything. And re-connection. And love. Of course about love. I forgot about the love for myself. The one person that I’m supposed to support I forgot about. Me.

I’ve been so busy flitting from one shiny thing to another I forgot to take care of myself. To stay in touch with old friends. I forgot about God too. I forgot to pray. I forgot to ask for guidance and forgiveness. I forgot my way. Do I believe my car accident was divine intervention? Yes, I do. I know it was. I could have killed a boy. I could have died. I looked down to fuck with my stupid phone and that was all it took.

I have no lasting injuries from the accident. I actually slept better that night than I had in years. The next day, as I lay in bed listening to Roger get ready for the day, I wrote one of my best posts about comfort. The comfort of him. Of his being in the next room. It really was one of my best. I took a pain pill and drifted back to sleep. Roger went to hang out with my mom. They’ve known each other longer than we’ve been married. It’s a long story of how we met. Some day I’ll tell it to you, I’m sure. After I woke up I called the young man that I hit to make sure he was okay. He was and I thanked God.

I’m still thanking God. For the fact that I was injured and he didn’t have a scratch on him. I thanked God for that young man having the where with all to call 911 while I sat in my car in shock. I thank God for that young man, although visibly shaken, kneeling down and holding my hands while I sat in my car. I thank God for that young man that pulled me out of my stupor and my car. For standing in the middle of the road with me and waiting for the police. He and I didn’t let go of each other.  I asked him how old he was and he told me 19. I reached up and touched his face, and said, “My God, you’re a baby. I could have killed you.” After that the police, ambulance and Roger arrived. It was chaos and I remember nothing.

It took a friend telling me she was worried about me to make me realize that maybe there really is something more to my incredible highs and my incredible lows. My impulsiveness. My need to be always doing something and never slowing down. It’s all about fear. Fear that there is something wrong with me. Fear of not being happy. Fear of growing old. Fear of getting fat again. Fear of fear. Fear of love. Fear of not being loved. Fear of not being pretty. Fear of being full of myself. Fear, fear, fear. Fucking stupid fear!

Talked to Harry and Rory and told them that I forgot about God in all of this. Said I needed to pray. I’ve been praying so hard, it hurts. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to get all Christian up in here and stop saying the F word.  I am a Christian and I always have been. It took me smashing my head up against my driver’s side window and the thought of possibly killing a young man to realize that I need to slow down.

The accident was a divine intervention, yes. It was my epiphany. I’ve been receiving them in so many ways, but I ignored them. I just wanted to keep feeling good. Keep feeling everthing after being numb for so long.

Now I don’t feel good. I feel like shit, and I have to realize it’s okay. I don’t have to feel good all the damn time. Because if we don’t have the bad times, how the hell can we love the good times? How the hell can we tell the difference?

I miss my friends B and K. I sent them a message this morning. Still haven’t heard from them. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I will. I know they read me. I hope they know that I love them. They’re my family. My sisters. And I miss them so. Today I’ll pray for them to come back to me. I’ll pray and pray and pray. For them to come back me. And for me to come back to me.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

 Fuck yeah! I have been nominated for an award. Thanks to Travel. Culture. Food for the nomination. You’re so incredibly sweet and honey you have no idea how much I needed this pick me up today. Miss Zari your photos and articles are beautiful. I wish I had unlimited funds to travel to all the places you blog about. Sigh.

Now I want a new tattoo to celebrate!

http://volunteerfringe.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/blogger.jpg?w=220&h=142

Very Inspiring Blogger Rules:

~Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post.

~Share 7 things about yourself

~Nominate 7 bloggers you admire

~Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated.

7 Things about me:

  1. I know I seem really sweet, but I’m an opinionated and mouthy bitch.
  2. I love with my whole heart, but I’m a realist. I’m no Pollyanna or push over. Don’t fuck with me!
  3. I’m learning that it’s okay that not everyone likes me. The important ones in my life do, and that’s all that matters.
  4. I’m so incredibly glad that I can’t get pregnant anymore. Hahahahahahaha!
  5. I like porn. Hey don’t judge me!
  6. I think I’m getting better at this writing thing. I love when my FB friends send me pictures or story ideas and then I write for them. It’s fun.
  7. I believe in heart connection. I believe that you need to inspire everyone you come in contact with. Whether it be by touch, word, look, gesture, gift, laughter or time. Connection with another human is what I want my legacy to be. And my words. I want my legacy to be my words too.

Nominate 7 Bloggers:

These are the blogs that I nominate. Some are funny, some are thoughtful and some are just plain beautiful. They inspire me in so many ways. Please read them all. They rock.

  1. http://athingirl.com/
  2. http://aslongasimsinging.wordpress.com/
  3. http://thechangeyourlifeblog.wordpress.com/
  4. http://youjivinmeturkey.com/
  5. http://hovercraftdoggy.com/
  6. http://boomiebol.wordpress.com/
  7. http://fashionstyleguru.wordpress.com/

Beauty, Battle Scars, and Survival

“BATTLING CANCER MAY HAVE WEAKENED MY BODY BUT IT EMPOWERED MY SOUL.”
Denise Osborn, Survivor 1998

She looks at her breast in the mirror of the tattoo shop. Behind her there is the sound of the needle biting the skin of another willing participant enduring pain for beauty. For art. There are people milling about too. Talking. There’s music. Steady, with a heavy base. She hears and sees none of it. She just looks at the beauty of her body and her reflection. She realizes that her breasts do not signify her womanhood. They are merely flesh, fat, blood, milk ducts, and nerve endings. They’ve been used for nourishment and for pleasure. They have experienced pain, need and want. Recently the left one has experienced pain. From mammogram, biopsy, diagnosis, chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. It is now battle scarred.

It will never work the same way again. The nipple is there, but it is merely a prop. The breast has been reconstructed, but it will never feel the nuzzling closeness of a little one’s mouth when it’s time to eat. It will feel the hands, lips and tongue of a lover but it will never respond the same way. The nipple will never rise again. It merely exists. But it is there all the same. She is there all the same. She and her breasts are still viable. Still beautiful. Still her.

The artist decorated her breast with an array of pink petaled flowers and green leaves. Not to hide the scars, but to commemorate them. To honor her struggle. Her survival. She knows now after this journey, that her womanhood is not tied to her body parts. But to her spirit. Her battle scars are her womanhood now.

It’s Time for a Road Trip!

Almost Heaven, West Virginia-John Denver

It’s been about 30 years since I’ve seen one of my dear BFFs, split apart, soul-mate, love of my life. She and I were friends when we were in high school. Not close by any means, but we always ended up at the same parties. In the same social situations. I was in awe of her. She was a beautiful young woman. Blonde haired, blue eyed and gorgeous. Vivacious. Full of fun. Dangerous. The boys loved her. I wanted to be her. Wanted to be closer to her. She was older than I was by a couple of years, so we didn’t connect until years later.

We became friends on Facebook. We shared stories, laughs, tears, and memories. We also found out that we had dated a lot of the same guys from back in the day. We found that we were also so much alike. We write. We love to read. We find life to be incredibly exciting and cosmic. We live for adventure and love. She is a beauty. In mind, body and spirit. She completes me. I talked to a mutual FB friend who told me I needed to get my ass to West Virginia. I agreed it was time. It was time to pack up, load the car with another good friend or friends and head down the road in Candy Blue, the stripper mobile.

It’s time to find my split apart that I haven’t seen in 30 years. It’s time for us to hang out in an old cabin and look at all the beauty surrounding us. It’s time for us to sit at a campfire and contemplate the universe in all of our infinite wisdom. It’s time to get a little Thelma and Louise and have ourselves a kick ass time. To realize that life is still worth living and that we are still just as viable as we were when we were teenagers. To laugh ourselves silly and cry a bit too. To reconnect and find out why we love each other so much, even though we haven’t spoken out loud to each other in 30 years. It’s time for new memories. It’s time for some new ink. For an angel to sit upon my shoulder. Or possibly the top of my foot. So that I will always, always remember who has my back. Who always loves me. To remember that a bit of my heart belongs in West Virginia. I love you T, my angel, I’m going to be there to see you soon!

The Sweet Smell of Sunscreen

 

I smell sunscreen in the air. Orange creamsicle and coconut aromas waft near my nose. I’m at the adult pool in the Pines. Taking in the sights and sun. The sun, the sun is so vibrant. The clouds like cotton, but sparse enough for the sun to shine through and warm my skin. There’s no humidity and the temperature is about 80 degrees. It’s perfect, perfect, perfect.

I’m wearing a salmon colored pin up style swim suit. I feel like I’m channeling Marilyn Monroe. My golden blonde hair is loose, wild and wavy. It’s being blown about by a gentle breeze. I have SPF 15 on my Sally tat, because I don’t want her to fade. I’ll put SPF 8 all over the rest of me after a swim. Or maybe after I go down the water slide a few times. My Caribbean blue eyes are protected by sunglasses that look like Jackie O’s. Big and round, cute. They are the color of a strawberry Jolly Rancher. I wish they tasted like one. I’d eat them.

Of course I have a note pad and a pen. The color of the ink is purple. I have a copy of the book, The Stand. I read it every summer. I have my Ariel towel. Because, well, I’m a princess. Full water bottle of course. There’s not much to do today, but enjoy the beautimous day. Hey, I know it’s not a word. I make them up to suit me. I’m kinda quirky that way.

There’s about 20 people here. Laying out, reading, swimming, soaking up the sun. One woman is reading Fifty Shades of Gray. I find it funny, and I chuckle out loud. Don’t ask me why it tickles me, but it does. I then notice an old creeper dude staring at me. He’s wearing sunglasses so he thinks I can’t see him ogling me. He’s so damn obvious about it. I want to run over to him and scream in his face to stop fucking looking at me! Just fucking stop it! I take my strawberry colored sunglasses off and stare directly at him. He gets the message, and turns away. I’m not used to be stared at, and I don’t like it.

My skin is getting warm and a little pink. My summer freckles are coming out on my nose and forehead. I think it’s time for a quick dip in the pool. Wish you were here though, I could use some help with applying sunscreen to my back.

Oh, I did go down the water slide. Ten times. Because I really AM 12 years old.