Sunday, August 28, 2011

My First Tattoo & What it Represents

Saturday, August 27, 2011 (5:49pm)
Well after 16 years of pondering and consideration, I finally did it! I got my first tattoo yesterday. Can you believe it!??? I have to confess, I’ve almost always wanted a tattoo. In fact, I began thinking about getting a tattoo shortly after moving to LouisvilleKentucky back in 1995. The idea of a tattoo was birthed during that season in life when I was 27 years young. Oh to be 27, what a lovely age. And I’m not quite sure why I never got a tattoo earlier. I think it’s because I got caught up with life as a busy working mom, coupled with the fact that I was indecisive about what I wanted my tattoo to represent. What I knew for sure was that I wanted my tattoo to be something significant. I wanted it to have great meaning and I wanted it to be extraordinary. I’m an experience kind of girl, always have been. I love new experiences and I want every new experience to be extraordinary. I know it's not always possible but it doesn’t keep this girl from desiring them. I began giving the thought of a tattoo more consideration in the past two years shortly after my breast cancer diagnosis. It was right after surviving cancer that I began thinking about tattoo ideas again. At that time, I thought my tattoo should be a sunflower or a pink ribbon to create cancer awareness. I have to share with you ... I absolutely love the symbolism of a sunflower because in order for a sunflower to grow, it must face the sun. And in order for God’s children to grow, we too must face the Son. Then I thought long and hard and then quite seriously about a pink ribbon and then I chucked the idea about both the sunflower and the ribbon and finally settled on the idea of a cross tattoo because for me, the cross encompasses everything I want to communicate. And then a few months ago, I fell in love with a cross design I found on the internet and that’s when I knew for sure I was getting a cross, the location: my right ankle.   

I realize that not every one is crazy about tattoos. And that's okay. I totally get that and respect that. Many people frown upon it and I know they have their reasons or maybe it’s because they think God frowns upon it but I believe that God is more concerned about the conditions of our hearts than the tattoos on our bodies. A tattoo doesn’t change my love for God and it certainly doesn’t change His love for me. I believe tattoos are a form of art and creativity and expression and for me, my cross tattoo represents the artistic side of me and it represents what I believe. I believe in a holy God, and I also believe that Jesus is the Son of God, my Savior who died on a cross for my sins and that it is only through faith and grace that I am saved. My tattoo cross is a beautiful symbol of my faith and trust in God. It reminds me that God loves me. And it will always remind me that I’m a survivor in every sense of that word because of God. Friends, God has saved me countless of times. I never want to forget that. He has saved me over and over and over and more importantly, He sent us Jesus and because I believe in Him, I have eternity. Those who believe have eternity and for me, eternity is much more than quantity of life, it’s about quality of life. It’s about love, and joy and peace and forgiveness. Quality of life is about security and a sweet assurance. It's the abundant life that God promises us in the Bible. I’m thankful for that. For me, the cross represents what Jesus did for me. He's my King. He’s my rock. He’s my everything. I wouldn’t be who I am today without Him. Perfect I am not. Believe me when I tell you that I'm perfectly imperfect and that I have my faults. I can't deny that I’ve made some poor choices in life but through God's grace, I'm forgiven, and learn and become wiser, and do better and live better and love better when I confess my transgressions and choose God's ways over my selfish ways.  

Many of my friends and family members were absolutely shocked and surprised when I shared with them that I was getting a tattoo or when they discovered that I finally did it. I think they were shocked because although tattoos seem to be more socially acceptable these days, they didn’t expect it from me, not from Ruthie. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been more of a girlie, girl. But even girlie, girls love to express themselves even if it means getting a tattoo. As I get older, I’m learning that there are parts of me that I’m still discovering and this intrigues me immensely. I’m lovin' the confidence and the courage I’m gaining with age. It's fantastically empowering. I'm no longer afraid to color outside the lines. And I love that I can express who I am and what I believe in without being concerned about what others think. I've learned to live my life for an audience of One. I have one shot at this life, and I’m determined to live it to the fullest, creating memories and loving lavishly.

This tat was my birthday gift to myself this year. I’ll be 44 next month and this fall I celebrate two cancer-free years, no small thing. Life is meant to be celebrated and this year I commemorate the celebration of my life with a cross tattoo. My tat will always remind me that I have a Savior, that I’m a survivor, that I'm deeply loved and will forever be God’s girl.

For those of you, who are curious, about where I went to get my tattoo, please drop me a note at and I'll be happy to share those details with you. My tattoo artist, Kyle was highly recommended to me by three different people. I also had an opportunity to visit Kyle's website and connect with him and see his work before I prayerfully made my decision. My youngest sister Nidia drove 2 hours and 100 miles north to meet me there and to be "my person." Gosh … I love that she did that for me. Sisters are so awesome! She has two tats of her own and was the perfect person to be there with me because of her experience with tats and because of our incredible bond. We’re different in so many ways but what we have in common is that we love each other immensely and unconditionally and we love life and are passionate learners. My other sister Alicia would have been there too but she lives 1200 miles south of me in Florida.

When I arrived at the parlor yesterday, I was both nervous and excited … and totally grateful that my sister Nidia arrived on time! Thanks Nidia! (She’s been known to be fashionably late.)  I think the anticipation is what makes the experience feel nerve-racking. I can't deny that I felt a bit nervous right before Kyle started working on my tattoo but once he started, I felt this strange peace come over me. I know I was meant to be there yesterday and feel certain that Kyle was suppose to be my tattoo artist and without question, I was meant to get a cross tattoo. I also believe that I was meant to get this tattoo during this season in my life and not at age 27 or 37 but at the age of 43 which was "post" difficult seasons in life and post cancer. Nidia is such a gem. She offered to hold my hand during the process and that meant so-o much to me! Do you see why I love her??? Before Kyle started to work on me, she shared with me what to expect and reminded me to breathe through the experience, especially when it began to feel like it was too much. But much to my surprise; I didn’t require any hand holding and it wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. Whew! Was I ever thankful for that! In fact, I talked with my sis through most of it. It was more uncomfortable than painful and surprisingly it was over in less than 30 minutes. And when it was all over, it was perfect and exactly what I wanted. I was so happy in that moment and so pleased with the results. I can't describe exactly what I felt in that moment because I think I felt alot of different emotions: happy, proud, empowered, exhilarated and thankful that I followed through with my desire to get a tattoo. I felt really brave too.

Thanks sis for being you: extraordinary, precious and lovely and for being my "person." Thank you for driving 200 miles back and forth to be there with me! Your love and your support means so much to me. I will never forget yesterday for as long as I shall live! Yay! I finally did it! I finally got my tat! It was a perfect summer day. The sky that day was the perfect shade of blue and the sunshine was both brilliant and amazing, a perfect day for sister time and to create a new memory. I love that we have a fun and brand new memory for the memory bank and pics to help us remember. :o)

Dear Reader: Thanks for stopping by and thanks for reading. Wishing you a joy-filled life filled with moments worth celebrating.


The more you celebrate and praise your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. 
~Oprah Winfrey

Nidia & me @ the tattoo parlor_8-27-11

The day after_8-28-11.

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