“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” – Albus Dumbledore
This was not some rebellious teenage decision. This was not an impulsive move. This was not for all the wrong reasons, but for all the right ones. This was totally out of character. This is the story of the day I got my tattoo.
In reality, this story started about five years, but let’s just jump to last January when I actually resolved to get a tattoo. It was at that point when I finally came up with an idea and placement that held a deep meaning for me. Over spring break, Hilary tried to convince me to do it then, but I started having second thoughts. After a few more months of flip-flopping on ideas, I made the commitment to go through with it this past weekend.
I had already been talking with Michelle about making a trip to Jacksonville, because she’s about to move back to Minnesota and she’d never been to Jacksonville. We decided to make it a beach day–tattoo adventure. The decision to get the tattoo in Jacksonville also meant that it would be somewhat convenient for Hilary to drive up from Gainesville to come watch.
On Saturday morning, Michelle and I woke up and hit the road for Jacksonville. First stop — the Riverside Arts Market.
The market is basically a farmers and artist market that is held weekly under one of Jacksonville’s main bridges. There were TONS of vendors of all kinds and live entertainment. When we arrived, we were amazed at how big the market was! The location was also perfect. The bridge provided shade and the market butted up against the water.
When we made it to the other end of the market we stumbled upon the start of a live concert. I actually sorta knew the band, so we stayed and watched for a while. Live music by the water on a cool Saturday morning is a great way to start our adventure.
After enjoying the concert my tummy started to rumble, so our next stop was Angie’s. It’s been two years since I’ve had a delicious Angie’s sub with peruvian sauce and it was just as good as I remembered.
Post-Angie’s, we hit up the beach. The beach was super crowded, but the weather was great. The breeze kept the temperature at the beach cool and I didn’t even get sunburned. I call that a win!
Hilary met up with us in preparation for tattoo part of our adventure. It was so good to see her. Even though I saw her at the start of April, I really missed her, so I’m glad she could drive up and be part of this experience with me.
Once we were done with beach time, we headed to the tattoo shop.
Funny story: I still had not quite decided how I wanted the tattoo to look or where I wanted to place it by the time we reached the parking lot.
As silly as it seems, the indecisiveness was part of my incentive for getting the tattoo. When it comes to making decisions, whether big or small, I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about it, weighing my options, and debating various outcomes before I ever act on anything. So by getting the word “live” tattoo on my ankle, it’s a reminder than I need to spend more time living in the present. Some people need to learn how to think before they act, I need to learn how to act before I over-think.
After settling on a font and design, it was time to make this a reality.
I had quite the motley crew of supporters there to watch this momentous occasion. Michelle came to witness and support me. Hilary was there for the same reasons, as well as to document the whole process. Matt and Tommy also came to watch. Although, I’m pretty sure the guys didn’t think I’d go through with it or that I’d cry, so they only came to see how I’d react.
The tattoo shop came as a recommendation from Matt, who’s been to one of their other locations before and said they have a good reputation. While I can’t say I’ve ever been in another tattoo shop before, I was very impressed by the cleanliness of the shop.
I told the guy what I wanted and he drew up a sketch accordingly. Then I gave my seal of approval and he told me to go over to the table.
He cleaned the area and put a carbon copy-like version onto my ankle.
Looks good! Now let’s get this over with!
I’d say the actual tattoo process felt like a sharp, slightly painful tickling. It wasn’t necessarily enjoyable, but it really wasn’t all that bad.
About 10 or so minutes later, the tattoo was finished!
I really liked Angelo, the tattoo artist. He was really friendly and very patient when it came to dealing with our ridiculous group. Hilary even asked him to pose for a picture with me.
A group shot post-tattoo, minus Michelle, who was taking the picture.
So, what does the tattoo mean to me?
As I mentioned above, it’s a reminder to myself to live in the moment. There were lots of phrases and quotes that I really liked, but I couldn’t commit to just or or I didn’t want the whole thing written on my body, so I decided just to go with the simple word “live.”
Then, as I was deciding the design I realized that just the one word looked unfinished. I ended up adding the three stars at the end as a subtle homage to Harry Potter.
Side Note: In the American Harry Potter books, chapter titles are surrounded by three stars on either side and I loved the way they looked.
Finally, I wanted the tattoo to be somewhere that I could see it and since my feet allow me to run and go on adventures, the foot/ankle seemed like the right place to put “live.”
So there you have it — the story of my tattoo.
I am here to live out loud.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.
Live in the moment.
Live for today.
Live with passion.