I’m super excited—I have a consult for more tattoos on Feb. 16! I’ve only got the two so far (and one doesn’t count, it’s so small) and I’m looking forward to getting two more to signify each kid. These are also two of the items on my 40 Before 40 list, so go me.

I’ve always wanted a tattoo, ever since I was in high school. It just took me until I was 36 to get my first one because I never knew what I wanted, and I wanted them to have some kind of meaning. I don’t judge people who get spur-of-the-moment tattoos, because I think that even if you don’t plan for it to have meaning, it takes on a meaning because you have the memory of when and where you got it as well as if anyone was with you. I just wanted mine planned out.

Despite the desire for meaning, the first one I got was a test to see if I could even handle the pain… it was super easy and didn’t hurt at all. That said, it is just a line of Latin text on my right wrist: dum spiro spero, which is the state motto of South Carolina (my home state) and translates to “while I breathe, I hope.”

My second tattoo, the next year, was in memory of my dad, who passed away suddenly in 2018. It’s a philosophy book and the prairie rose, which is the state flower of Iowa where he was from. It hurt a lot, but I was still kind of impressed with myself for being able to withstand 2.5 hours of needles piercing my skin! Also, props to the artist, Liana Joy at Jinx Proof in Georgetown. I had a super weird issue where my leg kept shaking involuntarily the entire time, and she completed a Herculean feat giving me a good tattoo despite the difficulty!

These next two, for my kids Alex and Katie, are going to represent their zodiac signs. Katie’s will be a male lion (she’s a—you guessed it—Leo) with a rose (her middle name is rose). Alex’s will be a foot archer pinup (he’s a Sagittarius). I want them both to be in the American traditional style, which I absolutely adore. I searched for an artist for a long time, and I finally found one whose work on Instagram I am obsessed with. He works pretty far away from where I live, but you don’t want to skimp on tattoo talent (or price). If the consultation works out, I’ll definitely come back here and recommend him once they are done.

Truthfully, I love all styles of tattoos. The artistry of a good tattoo is just amazing when you think about it. A living canvas that moves and jerks and reacts is wildly different than a sheet of fabric or paper. Add to that the pressure of the work usually being custom and personal. Then, add to that the pressure of getting it JUST RIGHT since it’s permanent. I definitely don’t have the stress tolerance to be a tattoo artist!

Do you have any tattoos? I’d love to see pics!

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