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The Postscript: “Tattoos”

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I’m about the only person I know without a tattoo.
Well, this is not true. My parents don’t have tattoos, and I don’t think most of their friends do—although I’ve not done a close inspection. That would be hard to do, and probably not very polite.
But among people my age and younger, I’ve become something of an oddity, yet I can honestly say I’ve never considered getting one. This isn’t because I have anything against tattoos. I’ve seen some that were beautiful. But I’ve also seen some that read “Forever Young” or “No Regrets,” and I wonder if this will always be the case.
And that’s the problem.
I don’t think I’ve ever been sure enough of anything to ink it on myself permanently. I remember having a conversation with a man who had a lot of tattoos, and I expressed this concern.
“How do you know you’ll always think that way and want that on your arm?” I asked.
“Oh, I probably won’t!” he answered cheerfully. “But that’s not the point. The tattoo is a reminder of where I’ve been, not necessarily where I’m going.”
This made sense to me but didn’t solve the problem. I’ve gone through a lot of changes in my life, and I have a lot to say. I’m afraid I’d run out of available space in a hurry.
What if there was no writing space left and I still had years to go? I’d have to write very small, to make sure I had room for major life events. Since I have no idea how big each event will be—or how many of them I will have—this seems challenging.
And I honestly don’t mind not having a tattoo. I figure they are like every other kind of fashion and will come and go. If I manage to live long enough, not having tattoos will probably be cool, allowing me to be a very cool nonagenarian. I have that to look forward to.
Instead, when I am in Mexico, I go to a fellow who makes bracelets. He weaves them by hand and ties them onto my wrist. He will write anything I want (provided it is not too long) in the colors I choose. I imagine I would have had a tattoo reminding me of these same things—if I were not so cowardly.
I had one bracelet made that said, “Act as if.”
I was trying to remember to behave as if I was already the person I wished to be, not always waiting around for “someday.” When the bracelet did not seem to be doing the trick, I had another one made in a different color, and one more after that. Eventually I was wearing three bracelets. I have to say, I have been doing a much better job of living in the moment of late—although I’m not sure I can give the bracelets all the credit.
But bracelets are not tattoos and, when they eventually got shabby, I cut them off. Now I am back to a wrist without slogans, and that might be for the best.
Because once a reminder is with me long enough, it stops reminding me, and I suspect it would be the same with a tattoo. If I can’t rely on a bracelet for instructions, I don’t think a tattoo would help, either.
Instead, I take a long walk every day, and at some point, I am reminded that I am a very lucky person. And I start acting as if I am. With or without tattoos.

Till next time,

Carrie Classon

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