Okay, so the title isn’t entirely a statement of fact, and it is definitely a play on words, but it helps accomplish two goals for today.
The Fat Mum Slim Photo-a-Day prompt for today is “Happens Everyday”. As I tried to think of something to photograph that fits this description I realized that, while I could think of dozens of things that happen everyday, brushing teeth, taking a shower, using the toilet, preparing and eating meals, getting out of bed, getting into bed, playing on Facebook, reading, writing, ‘rithmetic– Oh… not that one, not if I can help it… I realized, that there wasn’t anything particularly exciting, and more importantly, not maybe just a little inappropriate to share on this forum, to photograph and share with the world. Then it hit me. There is something that I do everyday, something that I could share with the world, but more importantly something that leads into a story I’m supposed to tell and have not yet done. Every day I put lotion on my tattoos, particularly the newest one, to moisturize the skin where they have been implanted and to bring out the color that is otherwise masked by the paleness of dried out skin. While in the strictest of terms, I’m not sharing any photographs that were taken today, what I am sharing is all original photography, either taken by me, or taken of me, and with my camera. That will make sense in a minute, but suffice it to say that it would’ve been really difficult for me to have taken all of the pictures that will be shared here. With that said, here is the not so long-awaited story, as promised, of my fourth tattoo; the one with the sentimentality to surpass all others (on my body at least).
In October of 2012, I went one Sunday afternoon to pick up Lil’B from his house for our regular outing. Lil’B and I had been matched for a little over three years at that point. We had grown close. The days of yesteryear, with the long silences and the uncertainty of our connection were past and I was confident, indeed certain of our closeness. On this particular Sunday afternoon in early October, Lil’B presented me with a drawing that he had done for me. Lil’B has always been a good artist and it’s something he enjoys. In fact, our very first get together, I came over and we hung out in his bedroom as he showed me his toys and games and got to know what hanging out with me would be like in the relative comfort and safety of his own home, with his mother in the next room. After showing me his toys and games and playing with them for a little while, he pulled out his art supplies and we began to draw pictures. His pictures were much better than mine. As I said, he’s always been a good artist. Me? Not so much. I still have the drawings he did for me that day hanging on my refrigerator. Unfortunately, in the present state of financial lack the state of California has been experiencing, arts classes of all kinds have been the first to go in the curriculum, in the interest of saving money. It’s a tragedy in my mind that the powers that be, don’t see the value in exercising that part of a child’s mind and in fact the detriment that such deprivation inflicts on a child’s education. Nonetheless, art classes are a thing of the past in Lil’B’s schools and the fact that he drew this picture for me was particularly special and moving for me, because he was not prompted by anyone to do it. It was entirely of his own volition and on his own time that he drew this picture that so clearly, at least to me, depicts the meaning our relationship holds for him, but just as importantly illustrates that he is paying attention when we interact and he knows me and what I like (at least as much as is reasonable for a then 10-year-old to know.)
Lil’B drew this picture for me, purely because he was thinking of me, and he wanted to do it.
For the sake of his privacy I have covered up our names on the drawing, but you can see in the top right corner, he drew himself and me. He also drew a picture of Superman and a Superman logo. Then, though his spelling is wrong, he drew a “Supermisha logo” and a picture of Supermischa, a grey cat in Superman costume. I thought it was adorable, as I’m sure you’ll agree.
Purely by chance, Lil’B gave me this drawing approximately two weeks before my little buddy, Mischa fell too seriously ill to go on and I had to make the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life. Mischa wandered into my life when he was just about ten weeks old and with the exception of a few months here and there when I lived in places he couldn’t, he was with me for his entire life, which in the end, was a few months longer than 20 years. He had a long and good life, being well protected and taken care of and when his time came, he went peacefully, in my arms, and knowing that he was loved to the very end. It was, without a doubt, the worst day of my life. I still miss him terribly.
Anyway, with Mischa gone, Lil’B’s picture became that much more special to me. As these things go, I began to formulate an idea. As with tattoo number 5, the idea morphed and grew and began to take shape. In June of 2013, after several months of contemplation and communication with my tattoo artist, I finally had a plan and an appointment.
While the idea for the tattoo was, in no small part directly inspired by Lil’B’s drawing, it was still a ten-year-old’s art work. As special as Lil’B is, and as important as he is to me, I did not want the artwork of a ten-year-old permanently affixed to my body. I made it clear to Lil’B that he had inspired the design and that it was special to me for that reason. I don’t think he really got it until he saw the finished product, but he seemed to really like it once he saw it and he understood the significance of the components.
There are three components that make up the significance of this tattoo, the obvious component is the part that memorializes Mischa’s life and his place in my heart. This component is inspired by Lil’B’s drawing, though it is significantly cleaned up and made into something I would be happy to have as a permanent part of my body.
The next component Is actually the Superman logo as used in the 1993 television series, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. While I had seen and enjoyed the Christopher Reeve Superman movies when I was a kid, it really wasn’t until Lois and Clark came along that I became a big fan of Superman. It may or may not have had something to do with my attraction to Asian men and the fact that Dean Cain is half Japanese. Regardless, I became a fan of the character and what he stands for while enjoying that series.
The third component of the tattoo is the logo from the 2006 movie Superman Returns. Lil’B was born in 2001 but the last movie before Superman Returns came out in 1987. The image here is distorted due to location and the angle of the original, unedited photograph.
Admittedly, this is a tiny bit of a stretch in terms of matching up dates, but the idea is that component number one represents Mischa, component number two represents me, component number three represents Lil’B. When put together to form the completed tattoo, it both memorializes Mischa and commemorates my relationship with Lil’B, both by representing him with the newer logo and by incorporating the artwork he inspired into the piece. He thinks it’s pretty cool.
It’s a subtle detail, but the components are arranged in the finished tattoo, in birth order with my logo at the top, Mischa in the middle, and Lil’B’s logo at the bottom.
Here we see a selection of “in progress” photos taken by my good friend and tattoo guru, K (with my camera), to show the progress of the tattoo from beginning to end.
By the way, you might have noticed the “6/13” at the bottom of Lil’B’s logo. This was my fourth tattoo. On countless occasions, I have had people ask, of the first three, “How long have you had that?” and I never knew the answer. As I was preparing to have this tattoo done, I looked back through various records (*cough* paper journals *cough*) and found out the month and year that I had each of the previous three tattoos done and as part of the process for tattoo number four, I had dates added to each of my tattoos so that when people asked me how long I’ve had them, I could refer to the date on the artwork and answer the question. If you refer back to the pictures of tattoo number five, you’ll see that there is a date added to that tattoo as well. This will be something I will keep up with going forward as I continue to get more tattoos… And I will be getting more tattoos.
So there you have it. Two birds, one stone. It happens everyday that I put lotion on my tattoos including tattoo number four, the previously untold tattoo… heh!
By the way, tomorrow’s photo-a-day prompt is “upside down”. I’m not the least bit sure how I’m going to manage a picture for that, that is not just using editing tools to turn a right side up picture, upside down. The recommendation on Fat Mum Slim’s list is, if nothing else, “turn your phone upside down” to take a picture. Apparently Chantelle doesn’t have an iPhone, or she’d know that turning the phone upside down does no good. The accelerometer in the phone just turns the picture right side up for you… I suppose that’s not any less cheating than using editing tools to turn something upside down. We’ll have to see what I can come up with.