Originally, as in for months and months, my artist and I tried to figure out a design to cover that one unfortunate tattoo on my back. In case you missed it, it's a name. A name that is longer part of my life. A name that isn't safe in my mouth anymore. A name and that is all. Neutrality is replacing animosity which replaced love. So anyhow...trying and trying to work a way to cover it up. But no such luck. The damn thing is too big and too black. (That's what she said) So we changed our strategy.
I knew from the moment I changed back to my Irish rooted maiden name that I needed to keep that symbolism. I wanted to represent me and my family and my roots and that part of me that changes and the part that never will. Names are incredibly sacred to me. What you are called becomes part of who you are. When I accepted someone else's last name, it was sacred to me. It was powerful and meaningful. And I needed to sever that bond and restore my former name. I did not want to represent that other name, that person anymore. I am not an extension or a reflection of that name or that person anymore. All I can be for sure, for real, for permanent is me. And I wanted to represent that permanence.
With the Irish roots in mind, I also wanted something symbolic of the extraordinary changes in my life. That is when I came upon the willow tree. It is a Celtic symbol of strength. It is gentle but strong, powerful and soft. Sometimes I think of myself as willowy, just in that knobby kneed, too tall to be coordinated kind of way. And the tree moves. You can see all of it move and flow with the wind and it stays strong. It symbolizes strength.
So the design is a conceptual willow tree. It moves and flows around the side of my body. To me, it means that the wind is always going to blow. Sometimes its even going to try and knock my ass down. But I'm still there. To me it represents what I am called. My name. The most intimate and personal part of what represents you. Your name. My name. The roots are showing and the trunk is twisted. But the roots are strong. And the trunk shows its scars. And it twists and turns and makes itself stronger. It is quiet. It is formidable. It is exactly what I think of when I think of who I am now. But not always quiet. I'm like a willow tree that is really mouthy and curses a lot.
The process itself wasn't that awful. 2 and a half hours with only one break. Not too crappy. I'm not one of those cry or pass out people. I do get twitchy. So I spent a good part of that time tensing every muscle in my body to help me hold still. It was painful. It's always painful. But that's the fun part. Art is beauty. Beauty is pain. Pain is experience. Experience is learning. Learning is life. Life is for living. And recreating myself after having been someone else's name was/is a painful experience too.
|Body shot for perspective|
|couple days later. I see London, I see France...|
I think the most fun will be when I model tonight and surprise all the artists with an enormous tree that wasn't there last week.