My Tattoos in Order of Importance

My friend Stephanie just asked me if I have any tattoos. I said, “I have five.” She said, “do they have meaning?” I said, “yes.” And just waited. 😛 When she asked the inevitable, I told her I thought it would make a good blog entry and to please hold (your call is very important to us).

5. Tribal Dragonfly

The first shall be last and the last shall be first. This tattoo was not my first one, but it had the most significance until, well, if you’re even a casual reader, you’ve probably picked up on why… or you will when I tell you that it’s been Diane’s totem animal for the longest. I’d just left Portland behind, didn’t even want her to know about it. Just wanted to mark that time as significant in my life, because my life is literally defined by “before” and “after” in terms of the moment we walked into each other’s lives.  It’s on my back, somewhere. I can’t look at my back easily, so it’s been what seems like years since I’ve seen it. And then I moved back to Portland and never went swimming.

Eventually, this one will be covered up. I’ve already met with the artist (that was done over a year ago) and I know what it will be… a dragon breathing fire, encircling the dragonfly and singing it with greys and blacks. Because sometimes you can’t put out fire with water. You have to bring in a bigger fire. If that can’t be done because the lines on the dragonfly aren’t clear enough to be recreated, I’m still planning something for that area. Just not ready to let go of what it might be.

4. Celtic Knot

You’re never supposed to get matching tattoos in a relationship because what if it ends? So Dana and I got matching tattoos significant to our own families so that if we did break each other’s hearts, it wasn’t like she had a Leslie tattoo and vice versa. My last name is Lanagan, and she took my name when we married. Her grandmother’s last name was Mahoney, or as she says with a thick brogue, “we think it was O’MAhoney at some point.” The first time I talked to Dana after I’d gotten settled here was that they were our honing beacons. 😛 It’s also on my back, closer to the base of my spine.

3. Ichthus

My ichthus was my first tattoo. I designed it myself in Photoshop- the fish is a little rounder than usual, but that’s to accommodate YHWH in Hebrew in the middle. You would think that this would be at the top of the list, since my faith has so much say in who I am. But not more than these next two.

2. A Quill Dripping Blood

Based on an old saying that’s been attributed to many, many people: “Writing is easy. You just sit down at the typewriter and slice open a vein.” It’s on my left forearm.

1. $1.83

When I was working at Biddy McGraw’s in Portland, Oregon, we had a customer there we affectionately called “Bourbon Bill.” I’d just started my blog and was having some amount of success with it, but Bill was not buyin’ it. He said, “HOW MUSH HAB YOU MADE AS A WRITER?!” I said, “nothing.” He took all the money he had in his pants pockets and dumped it into my hands, saying, “THERE! NOW YOU’RE A PROFESSHIONAL WRITER!” The total was, in fact, $1.83. You cannot even imagine his face because he just did not know what to do when I started crying so hard I couldn’t even stand up. It was a MOMENT. I knew I wanted to remember it forever, and I’m so glad that I made the steps to ensure I always will. Plus, I will never forget FALLING OUT with laughter when Dana’s ex, Carol, saw my quill tattoo for the first time. She said, “aren’t you right-handed?” I’ve been laughing about that one for, oh, 11 years now? So this one’s on my right wrist.

What are yours?

5 thoughts on “My Tattoos in Order of Importance

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