When I was seventeen, I got a tattoo in honor of my best friend Katie. I got a shooting star because she was my shooting star. It was a cheesy, simple design I came up with and drew out prolly in study hall or something. I put the letters spelling her name around the five points of the star. The person who tattooed me wasn't very good, my design was so simple it looked ghetto and no one could ever seem to figure out how to read the letters that went around the star. Sigh. So I love the tattoo for about a year or two and soon after that, I was like really, I should have done better for Katie. Also much as I love her, name tattoos just don't seem wise unless it's your kid. Katie is also a tattoo fiend and we've gone to get tattoos together on many an occasion, but we've been talking about getting matching tattoos for years. I told her that when we got one, I'd like to cover up the other tattoo for her and she was totally fine with it since it just looks crappy and I'd let it fade since I couldn't figure out how to fix it.
We'd been trying to figure out what best represented us as a friends, something that would make reference to the girls we were in high school, the tough times we had that sealed us for life. I believe it was Katie who came up with the idea of the boot print. That she thought of both of us in our combat boots. That's who we were, girls who tried to look tough as hell on the outside to hide our inner vulnerablities (sound familiar from my writing? Yeah, I definitely borrowed some of me and Katie's friendship/attitude for the friendship of Emily and Regan in IWBYJR).
So we had boot print, but we wanted more. We wanted words. Not names. Words. We started to think about songs that were significant to us. "Rebel Girl" by Bikini Kill was our theme song for each other back in school, but we felt it had been outgrown by both of us. The band that really bonded us back in high school, that we both adored most back in high school and still adore to this day was Rancid. Their album ...And Out Come The Wolves was our soundtrack for my junior/her sophomore year and the summers preceding and following it. The song we always related to the most was "Olympia, WA" because it had this sense of longing for some place better, for the getting the fuck out of where you currently were, a place you were both bored and hateful of. That whole album really had that feeling about it. So many songs about getting out: "I'm checking out, I'm never coming back again..." That sort of thing. And that's how we felt. That was the year we talked about running away almost daily. But we didn't. We stuck around. We helped each other survive.
Ultimately the song we both kept coming back to was "Journey to the End of the East Bay" which I know is about Tim Armstrong's experience in Operation Ivy, but to us it was about the way you watch your scene (or group of friends in high school) evolve and change and fall apart and get put back together again and there are certain people that stick it out and stick together through all the hard times. That was me and Katie. The lyric, "To the end, to the end, I'll journey to the end" embodied our friendship. And it was Rancid. It was us. It was big, black boots that walked a long hard way, that stumbled a lot. But we made the journey because we were always there to pick each other back up.
So here's the ink. I think if you click on the pictures they will enlarge, but um, if you do that, pls ignore my stubble. Can't really shave around or over the fresh ink ;)
The old tattoo
Old tat close up (super faded! It's 13 years old!)
New tat, full length and close-ups (you can barely see that it's a cover up unless you look close!)
So the lesson here, kids is choose your art and your artist wisely. I mull designs over for a really long time now (umm mostly, firefly was kinda a snap decision) and I've found an artist I love (Darryl at Meridian Line in Oak Park and the other guy at that shop Bob is awesome too. He does Katie's ink.)
Oh and Katie got hers on her forearm. She has flowers on one arm and boots on the other, which is just so Katie.
Umm and this was supposed to be wedding related blog week.... I will try to get to those posts later this week depending on finishing this book proposal... But this is sorta wedding related because I wanted this done before my wedding, so all my tats would look good in the pictures. And yes, the giant boots will be very visible in my knee-length wedding dress. That's me, deal with it :)