Because now, I am sat here in this cafe downing my third americano and musing on how I've ended up with seven (whoa, SEVEN!!?) little tatts.
They all mean something. Of course they do, for goodness' sake I wouldn't get stabbed repeatedly with a needle and have ink bled forcibly into my skin for nothing - or for something I wasn't 100% in love with in some way.
Each one has a story, and a meaning. I actually, unlike many of my tattooed peers, really enjoy telling the stories and don't mind when folks point to one and ask where it came from, what it is...I'm in a minority there, I think.
(Some of Kel Violet's designs)
So here they are, in no particular order...
So here they are, in no particular order...
- Three words.
I have three words on my left (your right) inner forearm. They are a saying that my dearest Grandad has always uttered to me, since I was very young and prone to strops, sulks and tantrums. These days he'll say the words when warning me not to get too drunk on a night out on the town, of course. The words are in his handwriting, and will (hopefully) prevent me from doing silly things in the future. And obviously always remind me of my Grandad, one of my favourite humans.
-- I was thinking about this one for three years.
-- The amazing Kel Violet did it for me (and she was saying what a good idea it was throughout; that I'd never ever regret it. She's right!)
- A teeny growth.
I always loved the rec in the city of Winchester. I'd go there to run a few times (I gave up very soon after), to train with my Ultimate Frisbee team, and I would walk through it rather a lot whenever I fancied seeing pretty things and hearing the river flow.
There is a row of trees there, running through the two big grassy fields. I have no idea what kind they are...oaks? Whatever. They are all gigantic trees. All broad and tall. Except one guy. He is teeny tiny, and stands alone within the line. Some might say he's a silly little squirt, trying to play with the big boys, shunned by his bros for being embarrassingly weak. I say he's a badass outspoken mother effer who his peers wouldn't dare touch for fear of getting owned.
So I got him, and his friends, on the back of my neck. Obviously.
-- I was thinking about this one for a few months, but seeing the artist's work spurred me into getting it done immediately.
-- The beauty Daisy did this one. And she will do many, many more for me in the future. If I get my way. She is just my style. So fresh and crisp.
- Brolly. There's an umbrella on my ankle. It symbolises the extreme protectiveness I feel towards my little sis, I'll always protect her from the rain - and it's also a nod towards Gilmore Girls, our favourite show, and the 'in omnia paratus' thing. My favourite episode, You Jump I Jump, Jack. Also at the time I was thinking about its possible link to How I Met Your Mother (even though my umbrella is blue), but after that ending? Nuh-uh. Any association was severed.
-- I was thinking about this one for a year - the tattoo, anyway. I've been a protective big sister for approximately seventeen years of my life.
-- The rad Kel Violet did it for me (and I am honoured to have one of her original designs on my bod forever...however small it may be!)
Just that. A semi-colon. To symbolise mental health awareness - inspired by my darl Clare Bear, who got one on her toe. The semi-colon is where things could have ended, but they didn't. The writer carried on. I adore that, and I do actually abuse this punctuation device when writing.
It sits behind my left ear (your right), just next to my bald/baby hair spot that cropped up (or rather, didn't) after radiotherapy. It's also beneath my scars from my operations - the operations that altered my brain, mostly for the better, but sadly left some nastiness in the way of mental health. It seemed so so appropriate.
-- I was thinking about this one for a few weeks, but then on the day it was an impulse. Walked in, laid down, boom! Luckily Clare was with me, for moral support.
-- I got it done at Ink Scape, Bexhill, and so help me I cannot remember the guy's name, but oh lordy he was a dude. He took my £15 (!!) and put it in an envelope to donate to the centre a few doors down that takes care of mentally ill folks who cannot take care of themselves. Epic.
- Three more words.
A Joshua Radin lyric - or a fragment of a lyric. On my ribcage - gee, that's a killer there isn't it? Ouchie. It's in my handwriting, because I was so amazed I could handwrite again and this was when I decided I needed every script tatt I ever got to be in someone significant's handwriting.
-- The legendary Kel Violet did this for me. It was the last time she tattooed me in Winchester before she effed off to this place in London and made it big. Rightly so.
- Five words.
My second Joshua Radin lyric. A proper full lyric, this time. In his handwriting. Yeah, that's right. I got him to scribble it down for me when I saw him live recently (for the 7/8th time). Another ribs one - the other side to the last. The last actually may need covering up someday, anyway. With something big, that I already have planned.
-- I was thinking about this one for a few months, but again on the day I walked in and luckily they had space that afternoon. That was an exciting Saturday.
-- It was inked by Amber Ida, the apprentice at Seven Tattoo, Eastbourne. She was a proper cutie, and will go far for sure.
There's a pen on my outer wrist (my right, your left) which looks suspiciously like a knife. This was not intentional, it was supposed to be a Parker-style clicky-top pen, but actually I've come to love its knife-like qualities. I also like that people I'm talking to see it, whereas I don't always.
This bad boy was my happy promise to myself that if I got a First in my Creative Writing dissertation (ECP) I would treat myself to a tatt. Of a pen, of course. Because I want to be a writer, I had finished my degree in writing, and...yeah.
Then I lost the ability to handwrite. I physically couldn't hold a pen, or push it on a piece of paper. That was the beginning of my hideous journey back in 2014, which began with weird loss of motor skills and general disorder in my limbs, and ended in hospital with staples in my head. So then the tattoo, which I got immediately after I was released from hospital and realised I had the ability to handwrite again, became all the more important, and more meaningful than ever.
-- I'd been thinking about this for the best part of a year when I finally got it.
-- Yep, the gorgeous Kel Violet did this for me, too. What a babe she is.
So yeah, those are my tatts. There are more in the pipeline, though. At least two more booked in for the coming months - oops! Whatever would young Gracie think...!
My philosophy recently has been: screw it, it's my body, I love this and I want it on my skin. I only get this body once. I will make it my own, and however much it dicks me around I will fight back and reclaim it as best I can. I'll also let it run free, now and again, of course. You just gotta.