book of mercy:star of david

almost thirteen years ago i designed a tattoo for someone and in return she paid for me to get a tattoo of my own. even though it took some time to draw the design, when the day came for her to get the tattoo i wasn't prepared with an idea or design for myself. at the time, leonard cohen was one of my very favorite musicians and authors and i may have been in the middle of reading book of mercy.

i remember carrying around this tiny little blue book from the local library and happened to have it in my bag that day. it was an easy design and simple enough for most people to see and comprehend. although i have gotten the common question of "what is it?" most everyone is surprised when they find out i have blue permanent ink on my body, or i forget and someone sees me in a bathing suit and are curious. i don't think i got the tattoo out of rebellion or anger even though i was very much both at eighteen.

i know my mom wasn't exactly pleased and felt i was crossing an 'off the shoulder' wedding gown off my list when the time might present itself. but i've been in four weddings and it never once was a concern of the bride's aesthetic plans. as far as i can tell it isn't in a place that that will get really, terribly wrinkled as i get older, i only have to lay on the sunscreen to protect from the dreaded melanoma. agh! didn't think of that when i was eighteen. i suppose in the long run it doesn't even really set me apart that much. it's just a little something that goes along with me. it does remind me of my youth, it reminds me of love and the links we have with others, it reminds me of faith and the star of david is just an added-secondary symbol of the jewish faith. i'm reminded that in the confusion and hysteria of youth there is passion and profundity too and that time heals the scabs of weird or off putting events in everyone's lives. i really don't know what happened to the women with my design on her back. with that tree and eye design, my original work is out there. for her. for others to see if she is so inclined.

the tattoo may be important because it marks a time that's past, it is a connection i have to my old self, to my old dreams and flimsy faith that thrusts me into the future. it has nothing to do with the impending holidays, just another reflection of where i've been and where i am going. going. going. gone.


Carol Collier (Mom) said...

Dearest Cathy,
Ahhh.....the tatoo. I will always remember the night you came home and showed us your new tatoo. I often wonder why the off the shoulder wedding dress was the first thought that came to my mind (and out of my mouth) It's funny now (as most things in life become). I love you and am looking forward to our holidays together. Mom

linda said...

Hey Cat,
It was nice to see you a couple of weekends ago at Jen's. Good to talk with you though the times are few and far between. I always enjoy the thoughts and pics you share. Have a very merry Christmas!