Somehow a conversation about ministers with tattoos has begun. I never
considered getting a tattoo ~ never! So, maybe it was some sort of mid-life whim, but I don't regret it.
My DRE and I went to the contemporary worship conference in San Diego. Besides enjoying warm weather in the mid-winter and getting some great ideas about music, ritual, and liturgy, we spent some time with her brother, and got talking about his tattoos.
I asked him where he'd suggest I go to get one, and he responded by calling his tattoo artist and making me an appointment.
That night, I thought about what image I would have & where (on me). UU chalices were out.. too predictable. Peace & yoga signs... too common. I started looking at Buddhist symbols on line and came across the Tibetan script for the chant I love so much, the well-known om mane padme hum. It was pretty, and I didn't think too many people would have it. In fact, the artist didn't know of it, and had to get the image from my laptop.
Figuring out where to get it wasn't hard. When you are 52, there are only a few places where your skin isn't likely to get saggy and mess up the tattoo. So, I did it. It didn't hurt, the guy did an outstanding job, and it healed very quickly.
What are the pros & cons? My 14 year old loves it and brags to her friends that her mom has a tattoo. It's fun to shock people who think I'm fairly conventional. It makes me feel closer to my nephew who passed away (remembering him was one reason I did it.)
On the down side, I didn't think about how often I wear sleeveless dresses in the hot summer, and there are times.. for example, leading worship.. when I am not totally comfortable flaunting it. When I went to Romania, I was informed that many people would associate tattoos with convicts, and by no means would it be acceptable on a woman mnister!And (I didn't even consider this) you can't give blood for one year after getting a tattoo. Gazing upon the image is supposed to bring profound peace, but I never see it unless I look in the mirror.
One of the funniest experiences I've had with my tattoo is that I ran by the church to meet with a couple for whom I'd be doing a wedding, and pulled on a cardigan over my sleeveless top. When I went out to meet the couple, the groom-to-be was covered with ink, and had several piercings as well! I didn't need to worry about offending him!
It's been about a year this week. Guess I'll celebrate by donating some blood!