Friday, July 16, 2010

Who's That Girl?

I wrote over on Venus and Mars yesterday about the person I was and who I have become.  It ended up being a pretty good topic for discussion.  Head on over there to see what people are saying about...

Once upon a time, in a land far away, just outside Detroit, I was a girl with a dream. I was a single mother with a 1 year old in tow. I knew I needed to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life and get started on it. 

I had always been immersed in the world of art, starting at a very young age. I was always drawing, and sometimes painting. I took many classes to fend off my feelings of insecurity, about the craft. But deep down I knew, no one can really make a career out of drawing. 

That was until I realized, I was in MI, and tattooing was legal there. I took the bull by the horns, walked into a studio and made fast friends with one of the old dogs of the tattoo world. I got an apprenticeship immediately. I never felt as “at home” as I did in the studio. It was a one man show, and the owner, Doc, ended up being the closest thing I had to a father... EVER! 

I wanted it so badly, that I worked 10 hours a day, six days a week there. The apprenticeship did not pay, so in order to support my daughter, I worked the graveyard shift at a gas station. I went on this way for months, exhausting myself. I ended up in the hospital at one point, but it did not slow me down. I was on my way to being a rock star of the tattoo world, and nothing ever tasted so sweet. 

The Inner Demon

And then one day, I had to come back to the East Coast on short notice. Not long after that I met my, would be, husband. In the time that we dated, I purchase my own tattoo equipment, almost $4000 worth. I was determined to continue on my journey, and worked on myself and my friends. I occasionally made the trip back to see Doc, where we would spend the day in the studio working on my skills. I was getting good, and I was building a client list. People who only wanted to be tattooed by me. During that time, tattooing became legal here. But by the time I was ready to go back into that world, I was pregnant and engaged.  

Irish and American Indian Heritage

We'll just skip right to the end of this story. Shortly after we were married, my husband informed me that he didn't want me to get any more tattoos, because he didn't want to be married to a 'biker bitch'. Oh and it wouldn't be good for our relationship, if I went to work in a studio. What he expressed was we were a young family, and I would be spending to much time away in the evenings. 

So I put my dream away. I put on my happy face, and calmed my inner wild child. I eventually took my tongue ring out, and tried harder to conform, to not rock the boat, to keep the peace. A fat lot of good it's done me. It's been 10 years since I walked into that studio. And everyone one around me is miserable, most of all me. 

I still dream, at night, about working in the studio. About getting the tattoos I worked out in my head all those years ago. Thinking about it now makes my heart feel like someone is squeezing it. 

About a month ago, after another screaming session with my husband, I sat and thought about my life. I spent a week seething with anger, waiting for him to say he was sorry, again. When I realized that this time, it was not coming, I started to think about what I want out of life. For the first time in a long time, I put everyone else on the back burner. I decided it was time to be a little selfish. 

With a little patience, I managed to work the barbell back into my tongue. It's my armor, it makes me feel like the tough girl I used to be. Before I settled for someone elses idea of what my life should be. 

It took him 2 days to notice, but when he finally did, I decided it was time to tell him. I am going to try to get back into the tattoo world . It's been 10 years, so I will need to re-apprentice. But I don't care. I need this so badly, I can manage to put everything aside, and focus on what I need to do to make this happen. 

He is not happy. I tried to explain it as nicely as I could, but the point was, he doesn't have a choice, or any say in the matter. I used to be a bad ass. I used to have the temper of a raging bull if you pushed me too far. I used to walk around, all my ink show, proud. I used to have a mouth worse than any drunkin' sailor. I used to be outgoing, and make fast friends. I was strong and confident and beautiful in my determination. I was on my way to being a rock star in the tattoo world. I am none of those things anymore. 

Somethings that have changed are for the best. My children don't need to hear my former foul mouth. And the chances of me ending up in jail, because I hit my husband with a vacuum while he screamed horrible names at me... slim to none! But I miss the person I used to be. I want to be that happy go lucky person. I want to look forward to getting up every morning. I want to hear peoples life stories, while they sit in my chair. I miss helping people heal part of their pain through a tattoo. I want back the excitement of planning a piece of meaningful art. To see it realized in their skin. To be humbled that they would wear my art, for the world to see.

Dealing With The Lose of a Newborn

I am not sure how this life would have turned out if giving up my dream had made a difference.  If my husband was not always angry and hateful.  It might have been worth our happiness then.  But that's not the way it turned out.  So... I am choosing my happiness over him.  When the girls go back to school in the Fall, I will begin the journey again.  And I will find happiness in the person I used to be, whether he stands beside me or not. 

OK, so what do you think?  Head over to Venus/Mars to add to the discussion.