Let’s face it. It’s the rare individual who finds him/herself at the middle of his/her life and doesn’t experience some panic. Rarely does someone have the perfect situation in every aspect of his life – because life is a give and take. You make personal sacrifices for your career... You make career sacrifices for your family… You lose yourself a little (or a lot) along the way. It happens. It’s life. It’s far from perfect.
And you are just going along minding your own business and then, for some reason, it hits you. A certain birthday is a wake-up call – or a doctor’s visit – or a glance in the mirror – or someone else’s mid-life crisis slams into you. Whatever. And you realize that even though you are technically only in the middle of your life, some of that time you have left might not be all that pleasant. You feel like your best, prettiest, most energetic years are probably behind you and what stretches out in front will most likely include more doctor visits and more of that weird hip pain you have now and more chins. Many more chins. Where do all the chins come from? And time feels limited. And fixing what’s not right feels urgent. And you start to make big changes.
Vacation homes you can’t afford. Sports cars. Plastic surgery. Affairs with younger women.
I get why it happens but that crap is so tired.
My mid-life crisis is way prettier.
My mid-life crisis has manifested itself in tattoos.
I actually do refer to them as my mid-life crises – in a really proud, accepting type way. I love them. I adore them. They're gorgeous. And I understand exactly what they are. Because, listen, if you’re gonna have a mid-life crisis (as many of us…MOST of us…either will or already have to some degree) you should recognize it for what it is and have the wherewithal, while indulging yourself, to choose one that doesn’t destroy your life or hurt someone else.
I have always loved tattoos on other people. When I was in my 20’s, I had some really incredible evenings with a drummer in Miami who had a gorgeous half-sleeve of dragons and water and goldfish. Sigh…. But I was chicken to get one myself. And I was an actress so you wanna be careful to be as employable as possible. And I was chicken. Did I already mention that? And if you are going to put something permanent on your body, you better be sure you are gonna still want it there in 20 or 30 years. That’s a lot of pressure. Avril Lavigne has the word “fuck” tattooed on her ribcage. I can’t even….why would you….that’s so…..
She says it’s her favorite word.
As much as I love tattoos, I am glad I waited until my 40’s. People in their 20’s are kinda dumb. There’s no telling what I might’ve tattooed on myself. You know what word I like? “Superannuated.” I don’t know why. It was an extra-credit spelling word in 5th grade and I got it right and used it correctly in a sentence and now I love it. I’m probably not gonna tattoo it across my ass or anything, though. Although that would be really funny…
No – that’s some dumb shit and she’ll regret it someday. But I’ve already had a really full lifetime as a porcelain-skinned young person. Now I’m gonna have my second lifetime (and that really is what this feels like now) as someone who is all tatted up. And it feels really good.
When they’re covered, they make me feel like I have a secret. Because I don’t look like the tattooed type. No one would expect it. I like that. And because I am the only one in the world who gets to choose when and how and why and to whom they are revealed, it feels a little sexy. It feels a little naughty. At 43, one should never turn down the opportunity to regularly feel a little sexy and a little naughty – nor should anyone else sneer at or question the methods by which you achieve those feelings. Life is too short.
When they are revealed, they make me feel like a badass. And my mid-life crisis came at a time when I seriously needed to feel like a badass. There were some weak moments in there and catching a glimpse of my tat in the mirror was a nice little boost. It might have saved my life – or, at least, some of my sanity. I’m not exaggerating. That first one has been THAT important to me.
Recently, Bunny informed me that as time wears on, my tattoos will fade and the ink will run together and they’ll become ugly blobs. Hmmmmmm…..who fed her that, I wonder? <shrug>
Her proclamation made me very happy.
Because I never pass up a chance for a metaphor.
So, look, here’s the thing, Bunny.
Anything worth having requires maintenance. Anything worth doing requires work. Nothing stays in its original, fresh, unblemished state as time goes on. Nothing. I thought for a while that maybe Twizzlers did – cause those things aren’t made of food. But I came across some in the back of a cupboard and they were hard as rocks. I nearly broke my teeth as I ate them all anyway.
But back to my point – my little tattoo metaphor for life – whether it’s a car or a house or a tattoo or a marriage, you gotta go into it knowing that it will require maintenance at some point. If you decide to stay away from something because it might require upkeep along the way, you’re gonna wanna live in a plastic bubble like a teenage John Travolta. Except I bet there’s a half-life on those bubble habitats. Also, how long can you live in a bubble before it starts to really smell? No – living in a bubble won’t help one bit. I don’t know why I even brought it up except for the opportunity to mention that movie because it makes me laugh.
Sure, it would be nice if the years and the sun and the dry winters had no effect on my tattoos. It would be great if time and snow and salt and potholes had no effect on my car. It would be absolutely stellar if Pip had no effect on my once-pristine hardwood floors. I wish I had my effortlessly thin 23-year-old body back with its 23-year-old metabolism. Young, fresh bodies are so pretty. But time and damage happens - that's whyfor the crisis after all. All you can do is accept it and fix what you can.
So, yeah, Bunny - there will come a time when I will need to go back and sit with the LOVELY and EXTREMELY TALENTED Dawn Grace (www.dawngrace.com) and get these babies touched up. Though, I have to say, she's an amazing artist and her inks are the best quality and all that jazz. Regardless, since I love spending a couple hours in her shop, it’ll be GREAT. And we might add something new while I’m there cause I am full-on addicted at this point.
It’ll certainly be easier and cheaper and more fun than pulling my extra face skin behind my ears…or, you know, any of those other alternatives...