Okay, so, re-creating my tattoo in Paint is a downright sacrilege, because it is so much more beautiful than this. But I don't have a clear photograph of the actual tattoo yet (being developed as we speak) and I wanted to post this entry, and you needed to have some idea what it looked like for any of this to make sense, so there it is. Imperfect, but it'll do.

I will give the play-by-play of the tattoo experience in the full JournalCon entry, which will be up tomorrow. This entry is for the tattoo itself.


So. People who have been reading me for a long time have known that I have been thinking about getting a tattoo for, well, a long time. And back in March, when the girls and I were in Savannah, Kate turned to me and said, "Okay. If you go to JournalCon, and I go to JournalCon, I will get a tattoo with you."

And that was it. As JournalCon approached, I started looking around for designs. My artistic ability hovering between slim to none, I knew I couldn't design one of my own, and I also knew that in the world of tattoos, detail equals money. So I looked for something simple, but interesting, and more importantly, it had to mean something to me.

I only discovered it about a week ahead of time, but it was perfect. And I knew it was perfect when I was waiting for Esther to make the stencil, because I looked around at the thousands of designs they had on the walls and in the books and there wasn't a single design that I liked more than mine.


It is based on the Celtic Cross, which was my original inclination for a tattoo way back when I first started thinking about it. A Celtic Cross, as you probably know, is a cross enclosed or backed by a circle. While its history and specific origin is uncertain, it does pre-date Christianity. In the pagan religions, it is usually an equal-armed cross, which is seen as breaking up the circle into the four seasons, or the four elements, of Earth.

One popular theory proposes that St. Patrick carved a Latin cross into a circular pagan monument and then blessed it, joining the symbols of both religions in an effort to convert the Druids. In the modern Christian church, the circle is often interpreted as a symbol of everlasting life, or the eternal nature of God's love. The imposition of the cross can also be seen to represent Christ's time on Earth.

To be honest, I don't know what I believe. All the interpretations I've ever read are meaningful to me; the fact that this one figure is symbolic to so many comforts me in some way. The circle encloses, contains, has no beginning or end. The cross reaches out endlessly in all directions, yet also has a focus, a center. I appreciate the respect and reverence the pagans have for Earth, for her cycles and seasons and powerful, endless gifts. And while I have lost the earnest faith I once had, I cannot imagine my life without God's presence, especially in this changed world we're living in.

And that, I think, is why this design appealed to me. In my tattoo, the components of a true Celtic Cross are merely implied, instead of being clearly delineated. There is the indication of a circle, but the mind's eye must fill in the missing arcs. The four pieces of knotwork suggest a cross, but the connecting lines aren't there.

So it's incomplete on some levels, but the foundation is there. And there's nothing wrong with being a work in progress.


The center of the tattoo contains two infinity loops hooked together. When I was a child, I always used to ask my mother how much she loved me, and she always gave me the same answer: "One more than you can ever count."

So much of what has changed about my life recently has to do with the fact that I'll be turning 30 at the end of the year, but now it also has to do with what's going on in the world. Life has been so uncertain lately -- so vulnerable, so transient, that it's almost impossible to avoid searching out the things that anchor us, the things that will not change, the unmovable objects in the face of chaotic, seemingly irresistible forces.

Infinity seemed like a good fit. As a mathematical progression, it has to be transient, but its concept is as permanent as permanent gets. It will move on, no matter what, and even though that can be frightening, there is something comforting about it as well.

Just like the tattoo itself. It's permanent, now, a part of what makes me who I am. And even though my life might change tomorrow, or next week, or next year, I'll always be able to glance backward in a mirror and see it, and I'll know that some things will not change, no matter what.


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