I have considered getting a tattoo for over 20 years, but never found the courage—or the symbol—to forever mark my lily white skin. Forever is a very long time.
Two weeks ago, the planets aligned, and I finally went under the needle. Here are a few reasons why:
1.) In planning the debut of a new experience for men over 38 called re:Quest (A Rite of Passage for the Second Half of Life), I learned that a true rite of passage requires a symbol. Historically, these symbols have been circumcision, burning the flesh, and other rather extreme acts of self-mutilation. Since none of those seemed particularly appealing, the idea of a tattoo seemed to be the reasonable option.
2.) I finally had a symbolic reason for a tattoo. As I focused in on the goals of re:Quest, the idea and art seemed to magically come together.
—The hilt: getting a grip on my ego
—The double edged sword: represents the congruency of the two parts and the two halves of my life
—The fire: the crucible of life
—The length of the sword versus the hilt: the measure of meaning of the first half of life (the hilt) and the hope for a larger second half of life (the blade)
—The re: my brand and my initials
—Quest: the act of searching for meaning
—The sword: represents chivalry and courage
3.) I found the right tattoo artist. A true legend recently located her shop to Austin. Shanghai Kate is arguably the most famous female tattoo artist in the world. Mentored by the legend of legends, Sailor Jerry, close friends with Ed Hardy, personal tattooist for Howard Stern, the only lady featured in the new movie “Tattoo Nation,” and a consummate artist—she was the quintessential artist to create this eternal symbol of my crossroads to the second half of life.
My first email from her sealed the deal. I inquired about how her hourly charge and she replied, “I don’t have an hourly charge. Time does not exist in tattooing. It is art. Time does not exist in art. I am an artist.” She not only became my tattoo artist, She is now a new friend and a kindred spirit.
Question: How about you? Do you have a tattoo…or plans for one?