Now, at the age of nearly 42, I have finally gotten to a milestone.
My mother, who has always been against tattoos and has never had anything good or positive to say about my tattoos, has finally gotten to a point where she understands and accepts my way of expressing certain things.
3 years ago, I got my son's name tattooed to my right wrist while I was in New York to see Kiefer perform in "That Championship Season". Right from the start (I sent her a picture of the tattoo while I was still away), she disliked it. Not the tattoo itself, and definitely not the fact I had my son's name inked to my skin, but the "extra" curl on the M. She felt it made the letter look a lot more like an N instead. It bugged her and she didn't miss a chance to tell me so.
Here's the picture for reference.
Since my son is just about everything to my mom, I didn't want her to have bad or negative feelings about that tattoo, so I went looking for something to add, which would camouflage the curl. I ended up finding a dragon image I liked and sent it off to a tattoo artist I recently discovered (who lives 5 houses down fom my mom's actually, which is super convenient) and I asked him if he could fit it "to" the other one.
The result is this:
My son was born in the year of the Dragon and he has always liked dragons (toys, movies, books, you name it, he wanted it!!!) and I found an image of a dragon to go along with his name perfectly fitting.
My mom loved it!!
At a later time, we were talking about it and she actually told me she likes that tattoo very much. She still doesn't approve of the fact I have so many and she's not a big fan of the idea I still want more, but she came to the conclusion (finally!!!!) it was my body, my life and my decision. In the end, I'm the one who has to live with them.
This conversation meant the world to me. When all you've ever gotten was negative or reprimanding, this felt like a "get out of jail free" card. As a result of that conversation and the fact my mom has now gotten to *that* point, I could add another one, as meaningful as every other one I have.
This is it:
In case you can't read it well, it says "Those who mind don't matter, those who matter don't mind".
The day after I got it done, my son asked me what the text means and I translated it for him, then explained what it truly means. My mom matters to me, and now she doesn't mind anymore, so I could get that one done. I think my mom finally understood the deeper, true meaning of all that ink (I have 16 in all now, ranging from tiny ones inside my left hand, to the one you can partially see in this shot on the inside of my right forearm).
She finally understands the fact these actually mean something to me and it's not me being a rebel or a pain in the butt. All of my tattoos mean something, maybe it's something silly, but it's always part of who I am, where I've been and what I've been through.
My life hasn't always been fun and games, I've been through rough patches, but I've never let that stop me. My tattoos are a testimony to that.
Kiefer once said it about his tattoos and I really couldn't agree with him more: My tattoos are a road map, at my funeral, nobody will have to speak, just take a look at my tattoos and you'll know where I've been.
When your 'ink' is inspired by your heart and pulled from your soul, that is exactly what they are: a road map of your life.
Now my mom gets that.