Oh yes. A few. Or six.
I got my first tattoo at the rebellious age of 18 because it was legal. And because I was 18, I got a butterfly on my ankle. Cliché? Yes, but not completely meaningless. I was a freshman in college and feeling very free. Very adult and aware of myself. One of my favorite sayings at the time was, “Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over, she became a butterfly.” It resonated with me then and still does today, so it’s not a tattoo regret by any means. (More on that below.)
Aside from the butterfly, the rest of my tattoos are either exact hand drawings of my own or modified from photographs I took.
On my left thigh, about the size of a half-dollar, are two hearts and two J’s for the boys. From afar, it resembles a butterfly. This photo is a bit prickly because the artist had just finished it:
In 2008, I ran a marathon. It was ink-worthy, so I drew a small banner to put on the inside left ankle, just above the curve of my running shoe:
Then came the writing quill on my right forearm:
The same day I got the quill I had the artist add extra wings to the butterfly on my ankle. Even though tattoos are snapshots of a particular time and place in my life and I was fine with having the cliché tattoo of an 18-year-old girl, it bothered me that the butterfly wasn’t my own sketch. So the artist and I free-handed bigger wings to signify a girl who’d grown into a woman, someone who was more specific and unique than a plain drawing. The faded gray wings were the additions.
Then came the magnolia bloom for Leona on my backside (wish I had a better photo of it!):
Finally, I sketched a hot air balloon in flight and had it permanently drawn on my left forearm in July. Everything forward:
There is a plan for a seventh tattoo and I’m going to try really hard to stop after that.
As for piercings, I’m a traditional girl. Only the ears.