When I was 18 and backpacking through Europe, I decided that getting a tattoo would be an excellent idea. I wasn’t alone, either. My friend Kelly and I were in this thing together, so, while staying with her friend in Ghent, Belgium, we found a tattoo artist — a man with lots of facial piercings and little space in his studio — to do the work. We decided we’d each get a shooting star — mine in blue, hers in purple — to remind us that…..Well, I’m not quite sure anymore. But I know it was probably important and special and definitely young and optimistic.
For a long time, I didn’t tell anyone at home about my ink, other than a few friends. Certainly not my family. It eventually popped out of my mouth the night before I was off to Ecuador to study finance in Spanish. My parents and brother were in the room when I said, “Just in case something happens to me over there and you need to identify my body, I have a tattoo of a blue shooting star.” I’d been watching a lot of crime shows.
My family didn’t judge me at all but that’s not to say others haven’t. I always get a kick out of conversations about tattoos and the types of people who get them. Case in point: a first date in Toronto in 2004. The conversation went like this:
Him: I mean, who would get a tattoo? People with tattoos are so ignorant and crazy. That sh*t’s on your body for life! You’d have to be stupid to….*Rant rant rant rave rant*
Me: (Staring at him in silence.)
Him: *More ranting* (Pausing when he noticed I was not agreeing.) You have one, don’t you?
That guy became my boyfriend and, although the relationship eventually blew up and the whole thing went to crap, I like to think that I changed his outlook on tattoos and the people who get them.
Doesn’t matter, anyway. I’m good with my faded blue star.