Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Check.—Lessons learned from Carl, Tattoo Artist.

on November 26, 2012

Check another one off of the bucket list.

  • Get Tattoo. Check.

For 10 years, I have been talking about doing this. And as my best friend/partner/hubby very lovingly and sincerely said to me with a smile this weekend… “Either do it, or stop talking about.” It was time.

Last week, while counting down to the 40th day, I stopped by a tattoo place that had been recommended to me by several people I know and love. I’ve driven past it a million times. From the outside, of course, it doesn’t look like much. And the same goes for the inside. But, it doesn’t have to look like much. That is not its role. It is not a spa. It is a place for tattoos. So, in its own way, it was and is… just right.

So, I anxiously entered, tried to be charming and cute and continued to share too much information as I answered their questions:

–turning 40…I know, can you believe it?! teeheehee

–need to get a tattoo, yes the sooner, the better, before I lose my nerve. teeheehee

–no, I don’t know who I want to do it, someone fabulously talented, of course. teeheehee

–yes, I want this ‘tree of life’ symbol like on this necklace here. nervous giggle continues.

–no, I’m not sure, maybe wrist, maybe foot…Not sure, yet.

–no, not too big, kinda small, please.

Carl? Sure. Let’s meet Carl. Enter Carl. Young kid. Tattooed, of course. A man of very few words.

And at first, I wasn’t sure. I was looking for a sign. I believe in signs and I wasn’t sure that Carl and I … connected.

And as a friend and I entered a few days later, I was still unsure. I wanted the experience of getting a tattoo. I can’t explain it. Just something I have always wanted to do. And there are some things that you have to do at a certain time in your life. Like move to Huntington Beach, California, surf during the day and work in a bar at night. Or live in NYC for a few months during college. I didn’t do those things.

I went to college just a few miles from my house. I lived at home freshman year. I came home whenever I wanted to. I swore I would get a job far away. I applied to NY city schools and schools in California and near the beach. And then… I was offered a job right back in my hometown. That was it. No surfing. No Broadway. I did what was expected.

Which is fine, because I love where I am. I love my life. And by love, I mean, LOVE. I love my family and my career and my world. But there were/still are things that I want and needed to do. The tattoo was one of them. And it was to the point that if I didn’t do the tattoo now, it was going to be too late. I would miss that window.

The anxiety and the delay was never about the pain. I wasn’t really worried about it hurting. I mean, I knew it wouldn’t be licked on by kittens, but I wasn’t scared of it, either.

No, it was and is more about the permanency of it all. If there is anything that scares me, it is the thing that I can mess up and then not be able to fix. Seriously, those are the things that terrify me. Terr. Rif. Fy. So, a tattoo. That is forever. What if it doesn’t look good? What will other people think? How will they judge me? What if I hate it afterwards?

And then there was Carl. A 20-something, who was and is oblivious to my 40 year old tattoo virgin angst.

He said, “Are you ready?” Yes, I’m ready. Breathe. “It’s not about the pain, Carl. It’s the permanence that makes me uneasy.”

“Well,” he said quietly, “I kinda believe that nothing is permanent.”

Huh? Could Carl be on to something? Most things, not all things, but most things can be fixed or changed. And if they can’t, our attitudes toward these things certainly can.

Maybe I shouldn’t walk around so worried about the “what ifs” and the “what will they thinks” and the “I wish I hads” and instead…. just… do.

As my Y said to me on Thanksgiving: “You are just right.” Carl is just right.

Maybe I am, too. Tattoo and all.

So, here is the new ankle tattoo: A tree of Life. It means balance or at least that is what it means to me.

I’ll continue to look for that in my world and have this as a reminder.

Go. Do what scares you just a little. Be proud of the times you do the unexpected.

And know that lessons sometimes come from some of the least expected places.


9 responses to “Check.—Lessons learned from Carl, Tattoo Artist.

  1. Edie says:

    It looks amazing Sharon!! Can’t wait to see it in person 🙂

  2. Pete says:

    I do like it, your so brave. I hit half a century in April, I cannot believe it, me 50, does this mean I start finding old women attractive?, am I old? neeeerrrrrr I am still in my 20’s, in my head anyway. I work with children mainly in a nursery they make me feel 5 years old. I got my one and only tattoo at the age of 12, when the boy I was sitting next to in English class stuck a pen in my thigh and 38 years later its still there. The little blue dot reminds me not to draw a poo on the front cover of any ones book again. Hope you enjoy being 40, 41, 42, 43 and the rest of your birthday until you start forgetting. 🙂 Take care – Pete

    • MommyVerbs says:

      How did I miss this comment!? Thanks for stopping by and leaving me this note for me to find months later. Like a little surprise gift! 50! Congratulations! I hope you celebrated and did fabulous things to mark the new adventure! Yes. and drawing poo on the cover of books does usually tend to be frowned upon. I’m not sure it rises to the level of deserving a permanent ink mark on your leg?! But I guess you learned that lesson! 🙂

      • Mysoresoul says:

        Your so welcome….You need to check your posts more often lol 😀 Well I have been 50 a month tomorrow and guess what?????? Its not sore, I feel just the same as I did 2 months ago, except I was 50 on the Thursday and in the mail on the Saturday courtesy of the Great British National Health Service was my Bowel Cancer Test kit, which is sent to everyone in the UK 50 and over and every 3 years after that. It suddenly brings it home that I am in that age group, the group that is more susceptible to age related conditions. The tests are not pleasant to do, 3 times over a 10 day period taking 6 samples in total of ‘you know what’ then it is all placed into plastic sealed envelope and sent in the mail to the testing hospital. I received a letter yesterday and the samples are without blood cells, which is what I was wanting. How much does this all cost, the cost to save a life? Not a single penny its all part of the National Health Service which is free to young and old rich and poor and in Scotland where I live includes all eye tests and free glasses and free all perscription drugs. If you are in receipt of low income benefits you get dental treatments. Being 50 in the UK is OK

  3. Lauren Wimbish says:

    Sharon!! When you told us that you blogged I had to google your name and find your blog. I love this about your tattoo!!!!! As Richelle said, I have been wanting to get a Jesus fish for a longggg time and all the “what if’s?” stop me. It stops me in most of my big decisions. I love this and your story! You may have just given me the courage to go get “tatted up!” hee hee 🙂

    • MommyVerbs says:

      Go do it. Seriously. Follow Carl’s advice: nothing is permanent. Do what scares you just a little. You’ll be proud of yourself. ❤ (And tell him Sharon sent you…he'll honestly have no idea who you are talking about!) Ha!

  4. Lauren says:

    I did it! Just got home. I’m so excited! I did “what scares me…permanent”

  5. […] I got my 40th birthday, been talking about doing it since my 3oth birthday, tattoo last fall. But, I learned a lot from Carl…nothing is […]

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