My wife got her first tattoos just a few days ago. She’s been looking forward to this for years and we finally buckled down, made the appointment, and headed off to Cicada Tattoos up on Aurora. Sure, she was nervous and a bit anxious about the appointment in the days leading up to the fateful moment, but she was still so excited. Kelsie is a visual artist – she paints, sculpts, draws – so she’s always been interested in tattoo art. It’s another way for her to express herself, to express her creativity.
I’ve always been frightened of tattoos. Of course, the pain is the thing that terrifies me the most. I’ve always been deathly afraid of needles – I have panic attacks every time I have to get a shot or have my blood drawn. As for donating blood? I think I’d pass out before I even sat down in the chair. My wife is, by far, much braver than I am when it comes to pain – or even the thought of pain.
But the deeper fear, the more primal sense of panic, is my fear of a tattoo’s permanence. Back when I did more acting than writing or directing, back when acting was what I really wanted to pursue, I had an excuse. Tattoos get in the way of becoming another character – of being able to take on other roles. But now that I don’t really act anymore – unless I’m directing a production that is desperate for actors – getting a tattoo shouldn’t be as big of a deal. But for the longest time, I never thought I’d want any markings permanently inked into my skin.
Then my wife got her tattoos. One of them is my name written across her knuckles. It’s a humbling thing to have your wife permanently place your name on her hand. But that’s what she did. As a part of her self-expression, she chose to express her love for me.
And now, I’m reconsidering my aversion to tattoos. Sure, I’m still frightened of the pain, but not the permanence. And I know that if I do eventually go under the needle, whatever I get will express my passion for art, my hunger for faith, and – most of all – my love for my wife.