What I Didn't Get for My Birthday
What I didn’t get for my birthday…was a tattoo. Not yet anyway. But only because I haven’t found the exact design I’m looking for.
No, no little butterflies on my ankles or roses in my cleavage. That’s definitely not me. No gi-normous totem animals or big honking pentacles slithering down the small of my back either. I used to like that spot for a tattoo but I hate the term “tramp stamp.”
No, for me, it’s not an ornament or a symbol of middle-age rebellion or even a post-divorce reclaiming of my body. It’s much more than that and I’ve given it a lot of thought. Hey, you know I have to be different, even among rebels, right? And I have enough sense not to tattoo myself with runes, especially not bind runes. I have enough respect for what that kind of merging with runes can do for you that I would never consider it without many more years of study devoted to their meaning.
I’ve been warned, too, of what imprinting my body with any tattoo–the delicately tasteful and well-hidden to the in-your-face-literally–will do for my prospects of ever having a respectable mate again (insert laugh here). A man who doesn’t bother to ask the meaning of my future tattoo has no business around me anyway.
But here’s my plan and why. I want a Celtic sun wheel tattoo, something similar to this picture I found at http://www.studioarts.co.uk/localartistdirectory/miketerret.htm. Similar but not exact. That’s the problem–I haven’t found the right design yet. But it’s definitely a sun wheel, about 2.5 inches across. It’s colorful, ornate, and Celtic, with very specific meaning for me related to my belief system and my attunement to Nature, Deity, and Eternity.
I also knew when I was thinking through this process that the tattoo would have to be a certain size and round. You see, in the summer of 1995–the worst year of my life up until that point–I suffered a back injury that I eventually recovered from fully though I had to be quite careful for several years while I rebuilt my back’s muscles and strength. After the injury, I was in physical agony for 27 months–the equivalent of back labor–and during that time, I discovered Wicca and a new belief system that fit much of what I’d always believed. I found it through flashes of insight I had during self-hypnosis for pain management. My very first act of intentional magick was to ask for healing, and after 27 months of unyielding pain, I found a medical practitioner who gave me back my mobility…3 days after I requested help from the Gods.
I felt the injury throughout my middle back but the start of it was in a small circle about 2.5 inches in diameter that went numb very suddenly when I picked up a too-heavy box. The pain came within the day, but initially, it was just an odd numb spot in my left middle back. Even after I finally found treatment for my injury and the neurologist and various other doctors had given up on me, I would occasionally run into metaphysical-minded people–strangers–who would ask me about the hole in my aura at my mid-back. Even skeptics could put a hand near the numb spot and feel waves of heat pouring off of it.
Eventually, as I made my recovery, the numbness subsided. I can now tell where the somewhat desensitized area is because I can feel pressure there, but not temperature. It’s the only physical evidence I can still feel of my injury, and only then if I go looking for it.
That’s where I want the tattoo drawn. Over that round wound to my aura, which was a wound on so many levels to me and yet was what took me off the office fast-track and out of my affection for the rat race that was stressing me to death and helped me find a new mindset and better balance in my life. I don’t have the sense of my energy leaking out through that gaping hole filled with pain too strong for me to be creative or positive about my future. Not in quite a few years. But somehow, I think of that sun wheel tattoo as the perfect “cork” for the hole in my aura and a fitting symbol to me personally of what I overcame, though few other people could see the source of my agony during those two long years when I felt too useless to live.
So yes, it’s my way of reclaiming my body, I suppose, from a time when I felt helpless and victimized as much by the medical system as by the injury itself. And as soon as I settle on the perfect sun wheel design, that’s exactly what I’ll be wearing on my back.
Besides, when I turn 106, my mid-back tattoo will probably be a tramp stamp by then so I can finally be like all the other girls.