So a few days ago my family and I got new tattoos. (And ran into a reader! Thanks so much for saying hi, Nicole!!) I essentially got a backward “D” which is symbolic of Christ making all things new, but I’ll spare you another rant on that.
I don’t want to cry in yet another coffee shop.
Tonight I was in the gym and caught myself looking in the mirror and, for lack of a better phrase, checking out my new tattoos and how they looked on my skin: Fresh, puffy, shiny and new.
Before I got my first tattoo (the word “hero” in typewriter font on my shoulder) I imagined how it would make me more intimidating. I would be on a run and people would see me and think Wow…that guy has a tattoo! Or maybe the women would flock to me because I looked like I was in a rock band.
Whatever the motivation, I know the desire to get a first tattoo was urgent and eager. And the first few weeks, or maybe even months I had it, I felt tougher. I felt like I could get into a fight and win. Or like I could dive into a mosh pit and actually belong.
Now I look at that ancient ink sunk beneath my skin and it’s not jarring and fresh. I am not surprised to see those letters resting just beneath my first layer of skin; they have become a part of me.
I am going somewhere with this, stay with me.
Tonight in the gym, (yes, most of my blogging inspiration hits at the gym. No idea why.) I started talking to a guy who also had a brand new shoulder piece and we chatted about it. His was significantly larger than mine, and most of his arms were equally covered in rich colors. I wondered if he had a similar feeling of empowerment in the moments he caught quick glances in the mirror of his new family crest portrayed on his arm.
Heck, if I got pumped seeing a tiny little “D” on my shoulder, he must feel really good about that giant piece on his shoulder. And he should! It’s a beautiful and unique art form.
But my mind continued wandering.
I wondered about someone I met recently who had a prominent tattoo on his forehead above his right eye. I wondered if he still saw his forehead tattoo, or if it had become a part of his flesh the same way you have a little freckle on that one spot on your forearm.
I imagine it was a big deal for him for a while, but eventually it just became a part of his body like his elbow; I imagined his friends barely saw it anymore when they looked at him.
I bet his friends, like any of our friends, look at his eyes when he talk instead of distractedly staring at the ink above his brow.
And I think that’s what any of us want: Someone who can see past the ink and look at our eyes.
Someone who sees through the things we employ to make ourselves more cool or intimidating and sees us as a friend.
Someone who doesn’t necessarily see us the way we want to portray ourselves, but sees us the way we are.
Isn’t it comforting when you can let down your armor of ‘hipness’ or ‘toughness’ and just be seen authentically? Aren’t those the best kinds of relationships, where you can feel like a vulnerable little kid in front of this person, yet feel completely loved as you are?