What I Did on My Vacation: Got My First Tattoo!

And, despite my promise, it was not actually getting "I'm not offended; I'm contemptuous" tattooed across my forehead. Instead, it was a Virginia Woolf quote accompanied by an abstract design referencing spilled ink and watercolor paint, wrapping around my arm to curve in parallel to a scar left in my childhood by an angry cat.

image of my fat white left forearm with the words 'arrange whatever pieces come your way' curving beside a black drippy line from which stretches away blotches of color that look like paint-strokes

image of my fat white left wrist, with the end of the drippy black ink line curving alongside a scar

Last year, we had a silly thread in which I invited everyone to tell Deeks and me what tattoos we should get, and, in comments, I linked to the watercolor work of a local tattoo artist with the comment: "There's a decent chance I will just show up one day and tell him to have at it, lol." And that's pretty much what I did.

I designed the basic concept of the curving text and black line sweeping up and around to end parallel to my scar, and then told him to have at it with references to spilled ink and watercolor paint-strokes. I wanted it to be messy and grungy and lovely and fluid, and he executed my concept perfectly. He really listened to me, and I really trusted him, and it is exactly what I wanted—something no one else has but me. He said it was his favorite watercolor tattoo yet that he's done, and everyone in the shop admired it when they saw the finished work, even though it's definitely a love-it or hate-it kind of piece.

Anyway. The quote itself I chose both for its sentiment and its rhythm: The phrase is coincidentally in iambic pentameter, which is a rhythm that really appeals to me. Woolf was such a lyrical writer and speaker, and I love the sound of this line as much as its meaning.

Arrange whatever pieces come your way. We can't always control what pieces come our way. And fuck the passive acceptance of fortunes preached by the privileged. I will arrange the pieces. Some of them I will let go, some of them I will hold onto dearly, some of them I will wrestle, and some of them I will arrange with retroactive meaning, in order that I may survive.

[Related Reading: Me and My Teaspoon, Feminist/Womanist Tattoos, Texting! With Liss and Deeky!]

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