When I was young, I always thought that I would get a single tattoo. Just one, black ink — my name, perhaps (one of them, anyway). Some of the first tattoos I saw and liked belonged to a few family friends — brothers who got their names in Arabic, I think, with the tree from the flag of Lebanon (they’re of Lebanese descent). It was strong, personal, timeless. Seeing their tattoos may have been the first time I decided that I wanted a tattoo.
Now, however, I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to be stopping at one. It will still most likely be all black ink; none of them are going to be huge; most will be words; and I’m still adamant that they will have personal significance. For my first tattoo, I’m still planning on going with the Korean words on my forearms. Transformation. Courage. Strength, if I can find the correct word. Passion, again if I can have it mean what I want — otherwise, maybe hope: in a way, it amounts to the same thing, a reason to keep on when it seems hopeless. Freedom, perhaps, or liberation.
전이 용기 힘 열정 희망 자유 해방
At some point in time after top surgery, I want a tattoo on my back, near the top, around the shoulder blades. About a year ago, I was thinking “Anassa kata” (because I really am that much of a Mawrtyr). I’m still thinking words — maybe a quotation. I haven’t decided what; possibly I haven’t yet found it. Something of celebration, of resistance, of determination and belief in a better future.
I’m also thinking of an owl lantern, Bryn Mawr-style (possibly filled in dark blue, the only color I’m currently considering), maybe on the nape of my neck. Something a little like this, perhaps, except in dark blue:
I like the idea of numerous tattoos. I used to be more worried about how to be discreet about them, but since coming out as trans, I’ve become a lot more relaxed about that. For the most part, as long as I don’t get tattoos on my face, my throat, or my hands, my tattoos will be covered when I dress up. Suits cover far more than dresses.
Despite having been pretty much settled on my chosen tattoo design for about a year, I’ve been holding off on actually getting the tattoos. Partly, it’s been a matter of money. More so, though, I’ve wanted to be certain that it’s the right choice. I want to be sure that whatever I get will remain significant for the rest of my life, not just for right now or for the next few years. Something Korean makes sense, as does something related to Bryn Mawr. At the same time, I also think something a little random would be fun (Candle? Lizard? Mermaid?). Those impulses, however, are partly why I’m taking such time to decide (the last thing I want is to regret any tattoos I get).