jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
So, that was a fairly exhausting half-day. Good, but exhausting.

Because my boss is pretty much awesome, I could take Friday afternoon off for various "appointments." I left work shortly before noon and stopped in at B&N to see if they had Jo Walton's latest. They did, so I put half my gift card to good use.

I then met [personal profile] uilos for lunch (conveyor-belt sushi FTW) and we tried to buy silk long underwear (stupid Bean) and succeeded at buying jewelry from my favorite store in Tysons. We then popped up to Rockville to complete the paper portion of Not-So-Secret Project Paper, which was a lot less hassle than I'd been afraid it would be. Afterwards we drove home and I napped for half an hour or so, and then we headed out to Dupont Circle so I could get myself my NaNoWriMo prize.

We had some amazing cupcakes at Hello Cupcake, and then stopped in at Kramer Books fully intending to just look around. I think we ended up spending around $50 each. At least I now have a copy of A.J. Ayer's Language, Truth, and Logic, which more or less demolishes pie-in-the-sky metaphysical arguments, and a history of the Bach cello suites, among other things. Dinner was at the attached cafe, and made my mouth very happy indeed.

I then paid an awful lot of money and spent an hour or so in agony, and then we went home and collapsed.
Light is the left hand of darkness
and darkness the right hand of light.
Two are one, life and death, lying
together like lovers in kemmer,
like hands joined together,
like the end and the way.

--Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
I no longer remember when or why I started thinking about getting a tattoo. It must have been a few years ago now. I know I was considering it during WisCon, though not seriously: a ground symbol on my achilles tendon, or STET in block print across the top of one foot, or something similar.

I had a kind of rotten summer. (Understatement.) At one point I was talking to my counselor about it, looking for ways to deal with needing help and not being able to ask for it. "Are you religious at all?" she asked me. "Buddhist, maybe?"

"Taoist, more or less."

She got this gleam in her eye. "Perfect. Yin and yang. Weakness, needing help, isn't a bad thing. It just is. It's the yin in the pattern."

At that, something clicked inside me. An image popped into my head, completely unbidden, of a yang half on the inside of one wrist and a yin on the other. It wasn't until I got home and looked up Left Hand that I figured out where the image might have come from.

Over the next weeks and months I kept coming back to it, and it kept seeming shockingly viable. Visible, but still concealable under long sleeves at, say, a job interview. Not (quite) generic, and not incomprehensible to the casual viewer, and meaningful to me. It's like a good geek t-shirt.

After things went to hell in October, I started thinking about NaNo as a distraction and a balm. One of the things that became pretty clear early on was that I'd be better off with some kind of reward or prize, beyond just "finishing" and "doing something i said i'd do." Actually getting the tattoo I'd been trying to talk myself into for months seemed like a good choice.

(I wrote the novel using Scrivener. Its icon is just one of those little quirks of the universe. If I believed in signs, that would have been one.)

I finished the novel, and started thinking seriously about this. [personal profile] tam_nonlinear mentioned that Fatty's Custom Tattooz [sic] in Dupont Circle seemed to do good work, which was as good a starting point as any. Poking around online gave me the impression that they're good, pricey, and sometimes won't admit when they screw up. "Good" was the most important of those for me, so come the new year I started working myself up to going through with this.

The receptionist and the artist (Gilda) were both perfectly calm and professional about the whole thing. Most of the time, the process hurt less than a bad dentist appointment. It wasn't pleasant by any means but it was an acceptable level of ow. Going over the main tendon was the worst of it; that pinched and burned and hurt in several other ways I don't think I can describe. When it was all over Gilda wrapped both forearms in plastic wrap and sent me home with a list of instructions that boil down to "keep clean and moisturized."

Today has been odd. I keep catching them out of the corner of my eye and thinking "oh right, i actually did that." They hurt, and are warm to the touch, and have a thin oily coating from the A+D ointment I keep applying. They're there in ways that my arms usually aren't unless I've done something very stupid, like keep doing pushups after I've already collapsed once.

And now I have my own personal physical symbols of Taoism, Ursula Le Guin, feminism, literature, writing, and most importantly the idea that it's okay to ask for help. I think I like them. Ask me again in a week, or a year.

Date: 2011-01-16 01:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] salzara-tirwen.livejournal.com
having my suspicions about what secret project paper is, and hoping there isn't a secret project scissors. :p

Date: 2011-01-16 01:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darkfyre-muse.livejournal.com
Yea for ink! Enjoy that burning reminder of them, you'll miss it when its gone. I hope you love them as much as I love mine. Though be warned you may now find yourself fantasizing about another. (yes I am plotting another, still in the 'someday' category) I'm glad you got something with that much meaning. I think it shows a real commitment to the whole asking thing, which I admire and wish to emulate.

Want to have lunch next week?
Edited Date: 2011-01-16 01:37 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-01-16 06:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pictsy.livejournal.com
Congrats on your tattoos. :)

There are some days when I think mine looks ridiculous and cartoony, but in a way it's good because it reminds me not to take myself seriously.
Edited Date: 2011-01-16 06:26 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-01-16 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] isolde-deely.livejournal.com
darn, cannot see. and I really don't use my dreamwidth acct...

Date: 2011-01-17 04:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] isolde-deely.livejournal.com
ah ha...thats what I was seeking :)


jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
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"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

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