Over this past summer it was hard not to notice how many folks seem to not only have tattoos, but they are starting to take up more and more skin these days.
I want to start off by saying that I don’t have a thing in the world against tattoos — really I don’t. But for some reason, I just seem to have missed the urge to get one. A lot of my friends have tattoos. One is even turning her body into a work of art and plans to be a tattoo model. I think her tattoos are beautiful, even moving, but it’s just not my thing.
Maybe my aversion to getting my own tattoo started at the tender age of 13 when I had a major operation on my back. I have a tiny little scar that runs the length of my back. Even though the doctors worked extra hard to make sure it’s barely visible, I always know it’s there. At times, I have been so conscious of it that I will avoid wearing dresses or shirts that would show off my back.
Also during that surgery, I received a scar on my hip that isn’t nearly as pretty. The doctors had to take bone from my hip to use it to fuse my spine together. They said since it was below my bikini line, they didn’t work as hard to make that one pretty. That one is still a little numb to this day.
While still in high school I wound up breaking my left ring finger so badly that I needed surgery to repair it, and that created yet another scar. That one is barely noticeable as well. But I’m aware of it and always will be.
Three summers ago I had to have part of my colon removed and doctors didn’t know how it would go until they started the surgery, but before it began I asked them nicely to, “Keep it pretty docs. I’m 40 and single.” Luckily, they did, but that two-and-a-half-inch scar runs right into my belly button. Needless to say, I’m always aware of that one.
Another reason that I haven’t wanted a tattoo is that there just isn’t one image that I feel passionate enough about to have it permanently etched onto my body. I’m just too moody for all that. I don’t mean moody in a bad way, what I mean to say is that, let’s say for five years, I may have a thing for butterflies, then I may take a spell where I prefer hearts or dragonflies. I feel like if I love an image enough, I’ll hang it on my wall. Then, when I get tired of it, I can get a new image.
One of my tattoo-loving friends suggested once that I should have an image tattooed on my back of a bionic back that opens up to my spine with a zipper. Now, I thought that was a great idea… if I could wash it off later. See, I’m hopeless.
Maybe all of us aren’t cut out for tattoos and that’s OK. Just in the way folks who get tattoos feel unique and different for having their favorite artwork on their bodies, I will feel unique because I have all of my surgical battle scars.
Maybe one of these days when I’m older I’ll get take a wild streak and get a tattoo, but until then, I think I’ll keep the skin I’m in just the way it came, tattoo free.
Mondee Tilley is a staff reporter with The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1930.