I have been wanting a tattoo for years. Years! And I’ve had the idea of what I wanted all along, but have been waiting for an artist whose work looked interesting, unique, and in keeping with my idea. This summer, Jason Schroder of Incognito Tattoo was brought to my attention by Drew, and once I saw his work, I knew I’d found the right person.
So here it is!
He made the sketch specifically for me, and I couldn’t be happier with it or the whole experience. It’s a statue of the Greek goddess, Athena (who, among other things, is the goddess of crafts! Knitters unite!) and a hummingbird. I really love all the colors on the hummingbird — it’s quite vibrant in person — and the coloring of Athena as a statue is beautifully done. I wasn’t expecting it, but I also like how much of my skin shows through in the statue part.
I don’t want to drone on and on about what the imagery here represents, but I’ll give you a few thoughts to ponder, and then we’ll say nothing more about it.
Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom, the art of war, and crafts. The “art of war” certainly doesn’t apply to me, but as a teacher, I like to think I am heavily invested in the ideals of wisdom, and as a knitter, I am a crafty lady myself. So the statue of Athena represents me as an individual, separate from the influence of others.
The hummingbird comes from when I was pregnant, and represents my new family, and family members who have passed on…even though I see the irony, that those family members would not have approved of a tattoo. But to each their own, right?!? I hope so. Hummingbirds have always reminded me of my grandmother, who was so like a hummingbird herself in later life, small and seemingly frail, but with great strength of heart. Lately, I find myself thinking more and more about her, remembering all of the good times I had with her, and realizing how much of her life was and is a mystery to me.
But there was a specific hummingbird that became very precious to me during my pregnancy. I called it my hummingbird friend, and during the last month, when I was huge and uncomfortable, it reminded me of my Grandma and helped me think of happier things, rather than just wallow in self-pity. Which is pretty easy to do when you’ve gained almost 50 pounds — blerg!
I actually started writing a bit about my hummingbird friend last year while my Creative Writing class was having journal time. It’s been unedited, but I’ll share some of it here:
All month of May, I waited with swollen feet. My poor feet. They looked as though little marshmallows had been toothpicked onto a Dubuque ham, a hedonistic Midwestern potluck delicacy. My belly stuck out with a vengeance. My skin was pulled and stretched over baby-man, marked with angry purple cougar scratches.
I sat everyday, sinking deeper and deeper into the couch, watching blase daytime television or playing Lego games on the X-box. The cats were beside themselves with glee that I was home all day. They showed their excitement mostly through sleeping, although they could also be convinced to stare at me, when the spirit moved them.
At some point everyday, when I knew I needed to move my massive self or risk permanence on the couch, I would waddle down the stairs to the computer. From the computer desk, I could look out at our teeny backyard. Outside walks were out of the question at this point — I could barely make it down to the car without panting and huffing. So these were my windows into life outside: the computer and my miniscule yard.
Admittedly, I spent the time dinking around on Facebook, trying to see the world through profile pictures and status updates. If anything, it made me feel more removed, as thought everyone else had actual events to comment about, real news to report. I was living in my little pregnancy cave, eating and doing awkward prenatal yoga poses, no more aware of the actual world than my baby in his dark, tight, encroaching home. We were both stuck waiting, looking at the shadows in Plato’s cave, not knowing when we’d get to see reality. One of my few pregnancy books said that by this point, you may believe yourself to be the only permanently pregnant woman ever. I was sure of this fact by now.
In my computer funk, I would space out, farther and farther removed. Then, a flick of movement outside. My eyes were coaxed away from the screen.
Another flick. There, by our olive tree, buzzed a hummingbird, left, right, then left again. Looking at me through the window.
That’s all I have so far. I’m sure I’ll come back to it someday when the ending presents itself. And now that I have this reminder for all time, I’ll remain aware of how much that little hummingbird meant to me, and how fantastic things really can come in incredibly small packages.
P.S. If you are looking for a tattoo artist, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Jason Schroder. He was gentle, just as advertised. He very patiently explained the whole process to me, including the maintenance. And, perhaps most importantly, he is very talented artistically. I am so, so pleased with his design, I can’t say it enough. However many stars there are to give on your ratings scale, I give them all to him!