I know, I wasn’t supposed to have any expectations about the past 2 days,(not very mysterious of me) but I must admit, in the back of my mind, I did. Fortunately, I was able to let them go enough to be able to see what happened that I hadn’t expected, or even had any awareness of.
As Jon and I walked past Mountainside Tattoo in Bellows Falls VT, and Jon looked in the open doorway and announced that he was going to get a tattoo, my first reaction was to say “No!”. Then when he said he wanted my name tattooed on his wrist, so he could see it, ( he already has my name tattooed on his upper arm) Again, I said “No!”
Of course he didn’t listen to me and I followed him into the tattoo parlor knowing I couldn’t stop him and not really wanting to. Why was I saying “no” anyway. I have nothing against tattoos, I have one myself. (the phases of the moon around my left ankle) And what’s the difference between a tattoo and what I do with my work, expressing myself with words and images.
It wasn’t the idea of a tattoo that bothered me, it was the idea of my name being tattooed on Jon’s body (again!) that bothered me. The word COMMITMENT screamed at me. And two tattoos is DOUBLE COMMITMENT.
As I watched Jon go through the process of picking out the typeface and size, then seeing the letters inked on his wrist, (which all took about a half hour) I realized (duh) that we were already as committed as we were going to get, and a tattoo didn’t really make a difference one way or the other. It’s a really nice sentiment, and fun and affirming, but it doesn’t change the way we feel about each other.
That was when I decided to get Jon’s name tattooed on me. And this was the unexpected leap for me. Before yesterday, I would never have considered tattooing anyone’s name on my body, especially a man’s name. It seemed too much like branding. As if having a man’s name tattooed on my body made me belong to him. But without even thinking about it, without even trying, those old ideas vanished. I suddenly no longer believed them. And the panicky fear and doubt that made me say “No!” was gone. The idea that I was not committed to Jon was absurd. I know what love is and I love Jon and can’t imagine a time when I won’t love him. (And I understand it’s possible this may happen, but if it does, the tattoo will be the least of it)
That’s when I saw it, a red heart on my right ankle with Jon’s name in it. Hardly original, a cliche really, when I got my first tattoo, 20 years ago, I would have gagged at the idea of it, but now, it seemed just right.
So what really happened yesterday, when I was opening myself up to mystery? I let go of some old fears and beliefs that weren’t mine anymore. I trusted myself and Jon and our love more deeply than ever before. I opened one of those closed doors in my heart. I shouted, Yes, I will wear my love permanently on my body for all to see (when I’m not wearing socks and long pants anyway) and understand the sweet sentiment of it as I never could have before.