Whenever I find myself in a transitioning phase, I feel the urge to change something about my physical appearance. Three years ago, I was transitioning back to life in Stockton and cutting ties with people who I once thought were good friends, and also let go of a boy that I had pined over for waaaay too long because I finally realized that it was just never going to happen. I looked at my long dark locks and said, “Fuck it. It’s ALL going!” And so I had it cut in a bob-like fashion above my shoulders. It was so short that I couldn’t even put my hair in a ponytail which completely freaked me out. Last month I seriously considered getting my hurr did with a deep purple ombre, because why the hell not? I would look like Rarity from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic! But the thing with hair is that you can change it back to the way it was via hair dye and the patience of waiting for it to grow back (which mine does quite quickly).
I thought of something else I had been wanting to do, a change that is more permanent: get a tattoo. I’ve thought long and hard about this for the past three years, maybe even more, and stumbled upon an artist in San Francisco named Jen Lee by way of one of my Creative Writing classmates, Haley. She has three tattoos done by her, and I’ve looked into Jen Lee’s work and it is extremely beautiful and well done… and sooo ‘spensive (if you look at her work, it’s obvious why she’s expensive). But I feel like she’s the artist who can truly execute what I want done, which is a portrait of Jingles, the lead carrousel horse at Disneyland.
I set up a consultation with her last Thursday and scheduled April 15 to be the day I get it done. I could’ve had it done as early as February 22, but my parents want me to go somewhere with them that day, and every other available appointment would cut into my tutoring job, and I couldn’t really justify missing work to get a tattoo — even though I want it badly and now. Oh, and I totally went into this without saying a word about it to my mom or dad who aren’t crazy about body art. *nervous laughter*
I confessed to my mom over a cup of hot chocolate the following day though. I couldn’t keep something like that from her for too long, y’know? To my surprise, she took it very well. She just doesn’t like the idea of it being so big (it’s going to take up a bit of my left forearm) — “Cant’ you get something smaller, like a locket?” she asked. And she’s even going to come with me when I get it done! 😀
With every tattoo (at least some, anyway), there’s significance behind it. So why a carousel horse for me? I’ve always had an affinity for carousels, particularly ones that are strictly equine because I’ve always loved horses too. And of course the one I want on me permanently is from Disneyland. Disneyland’s always been my happy place, it’s the place where I can truly just put every worry behind me and be a child, and no one will judge me for it. It’s important to celebrate your inner-child because life is too short to be so serious; this is something I try to do outside of Disneyland as well. So the carousel horse is to remind me, even in times like the one I’m going through right now, is to never let go of my inner child, and to also be a reminder that I must keep moving forward.
The first piece of writing I ever had published was a non-fiction essay called “Hop on the Horse.” You can read it here if you’d like. In it, I compare life to a carousel ride. We go through all these ups and downs; the ride just keeps going despite whatever state you find yourself in.
I suppose the tattoo represents a combination of many things.
Do you any of you have tattoos? What are they of and how did you come to the conclusion that you wanted it on yourself permanently? Or if you’re thinking of getting one, what are you planning on? I’d love to hear some of your tattoo stories 🙂