Tuesday, July 11, 2006

...as the crescent moon.

In 1992 I was 25 years old. By then I had quit college and followed my dream to work in music. I had no support from my family and had done it anyway. I had also eloped with an Australian man ten years my senior. I had miscarried a baby. I had worked my way up the ladder into a position of some importance in the industry. I had a perfect, vintage Spanish apartment that was built in the 1930's.

And then, the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.

There is no good way to explain how this altered my life's path other than to equate it to a small yet very intense glimpse into the dark soul of what I imagined a war zone may be like. It was time to wake up, to go. To find my next dream and let go of this one that I had worked so hard for. After much deliberation we decided to move to Australia and give up the apartment, the music business, the life that we had known.

I thought about how I could mark the end of this in some substantial way. I decided to permanently mark myself with a tattoo. Not just any design would do. Nothing that had hung on a parlor wall before - something that was all my own...something that would never lose it's importance to me...never regret. And then it came to me in the sky, as it always had, the moon. The same moon I would sneak out of bed to sleep under when I was little. The moon that still makes me secretly thrilled when it gleams through my window and sets my rumpled white sheets aglow.

The search began for the perfect image but it eluded me - too cute, too masculine, too simple. I would have to create it myself. Many attempts were made but my artistic abilities have never included any kind of portraiture talent. And then, as I was sketching at my desk and getting increasingly frustrated I spied a picture with just the right angle to the profile, got out the tracing paper and came up with the design you see above. There are few people in my life who know that I used my own face to get this very permanent, final image. Probably because it always embarrassed me a little (narcissitic much?).

But as the years have passed I am more comfortable with the idea. It seems to honor a very different me. I look back and am very proud of that girl who had the courage to make all of those very brave and scary decisions. It has been getting me juiced up for what I hope will continue to be a courageous journey. One I can look back on in fourteen more years and make me swell with pride all over again.


Check out the self portrait challenge site for this month. The theme is one of my favorites so far. It is Self Portrait As A ... (join us and fill in the blank why don't you?)

16 Comments:

Blogger acumamakiki said...

What a story! I love hearing how people choose their tattoo's, it's almost always a good story.

6:52 PM  
Blogger Teri M. said...

Love the tattoo and the inspiring story behind it. (that totally sounds cornier that I meant it to!)

7:02 PM  
Blogger Bedazzzled1 said...

Your tale is fascinating. Reading about your life and the significance of your tattoo is, indeed, inspiring.

I love a crescent moon as your choice of tattoos.

Nikki Ü

10:32 PM  
Blogger Sarah e.Smith said...

Love your SP and the story behind it. This is my first visit to your blog...I found it through SPC....nice to meet you :)

10:43 PM  
Anonymous all-on-paper said...

Thanks for your comment. I love your tattoo. One of these days I'm getting one of the pisces symbol in just the same place.

10:47 PM  
Blogger Georgia said...

That is a great story! I dont think I have visited your blog before, so hello:)

Some day I plan to get a tattoo... but like you it must be the right one.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Deb R said...

I love this story and the tattoo is beautiful!

5:52 AM  
Anonymous Lunarmusings said...

I love your tattoo! I have a luna tattoo of my own! Will have to share it with you sometime...

I remember the riots. I was working in a hospital in the city of Cerritos. Even though I was at a safe enough distance I remember looking towards the west and seeing the fires in the sky... It was sobering and innocence robbing all at once.

Such a trip back in time.
e

6:18 AM  
Anonymous michelle/weaker vessel said...

Great pic, great tattoo, great story!

7:08 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

What a cute little tattoo!!

11:12 AM  
Anonymous steph said...

I'm fascinated with your journey! And your choice of a moon for the tattoo: a continuously evolving shape that is still, always, the moon. :)

2:32 PM  
Blogger lovegreendog said...

i loved reading this, the effects of history, the tattoo, all of it. i think i love most the relationship w/the moon, great writing LeS.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Turquoise CRO said...

I am a MOON worshiper too! I LOVE the MOON! Great SP Girly!

8:30 PM  
Blogger Sarcomical said...

oh wow, i love that story. how meaningful. and i'm so jealous, that's where i'd like to get a tattoo someday, too. ;)

great submission.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Nessie Noodle said...

Wow- that is really wonderful. I too have searched and search for a tatoo.. the moon was on my mind since my mom dubbed me Nessie New Moon when I was born- there was a cresent moon in the Tahoe sky that winer evening.
But I agree, never quite the right moon has come to me to mark my body with... I love that you were inspired by yourself- It shows that the answers are really within us, we just have to trust it when we hear it-
thanks for sharing.

7:33 AM  
Blogger Marjorie said...

Thank you for sharing your story!!

10:48 AM  

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