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Fierce in Seattle: Tattooed and Crunchy


 A blogumn by Kelli Bielema

Relationships don’t last forever, but tattoos…

“It’s a mile to your first, and a minute to your second.”  This is the wisdom my tattoo artist shared with me upon completion of my first inking.  That was a good indication of what would be an intermittent thought of how to mark my second rendezvous with the needle.  What will the next body art I create be?

My lower back tattoo (yes, ahem, a tramp stamp) was not something I merely picked out of a catalog at a late night studio, but rather a Chinese symbol (yeah, how original) that meant laughter. I was certain to research it heavily to be confident that my new body bumper sticker would not translate to “monkey dildo” or “Satan’s wet nurse.”  Laughter was a saving grace at that period of my life as I had gone through a break-up that riddled me into anxiety and what my therapist referred to as a “depressive episode.” No kidding.  It goes without saying that laughter was a much needed tool in that dark time. I wanted my tat to be something meaningful to me, but not too dramatic.  In theatre school there was a graduate student with a tattoo of the comedy/tragedy masks on his left inner thigh.  I remember him saying “every time I look at that, I think of my art.”  I also remember thinking that every time he sees it is every day on the crapper.  Ew.

I have yet to make that second appointment in the 7 years or so since my inaugural bitch license plate. My last couple of years in LA, I never gave it much thought.  Living in Seattle, I am surrounded by badass mo-fos with full sleeves, or random smatterings all over their limbs and yikes, even their faces all did up!  I gotta say, it’s influencing me a bit to get back in that chair, or up on the slab, if you will. Oh, I have plans for that little bit of laughter above my ass. Living in Seattle clearly needs to be drilled into the flesh.  Fear not that I will adorn the Space Needle on my bicep or an evergreen on my calf.  But the calligraphy of my laughter may branch into cherry blossoms, a sign of things in bloom, and always growing…