By Bex Peterson, Editor-in-Chief
Next Tuesday I’m scheduled to get a pretty big tattoo inked onto my right bicep.
I’m really excited about it, but as with most life changes, a bit nervous too. Actually, I think I’m more nervous that I might become nervous and chicken out last second—extremely unlikely, but man, wouldn’t that be embarrassing?
I already have a tattoo, but I’m not exactly impulsive about these things. I sit on ideas for years and years, dithering over my bank account (especially if there isn’t much in there) and scrolling through portfolio after portfolio to find the perfect tattoo artist (usually falling in love with the art style of an artist whose books are firmly closed for the foreseeable future). After all, it’s on your skin forever—right?
Well, not exactly. Tattoos fade over time, especially if you don’t take care of them. You can have tattoos lasered off or covered up if you decide that “live laugh love” impulse tat’ you got on vacation with your high school friends in Cuba just isn’t doing it for you anymore.
The permanence of tattoos isn’t what makes me pause. It’s the limited real estate; specifically, the limited amount of skin I have available for inking.
Let me be clear: So far, I only have one tattoo. A relatively small wrist tattoo. I have plenty of space left. But it’s finite; if I keep getting tattoo after tattoo, I’m going to run out of space one day, and what if that’s the day I realize there’s a design I just have to have on my body with no place to put it?
Given that my current tattooing rate is approximately one tattoo every four years or so (and I’ve had to save up for over half a year to feel financially comfortable enough to blow money on this one), this is incredibly unlikely to happen. I’m also 5’9, which gives me a bit more skin space to work with than some people. But still. What if?
I think this is the impulse that makes people afraid to do things, this idea that we have to wait for an idea to be perfect before we can act on it. Why write that book you’ve been plotting forever, when you still don’t have that one minor character arc planned out? Why take that career-launching position with a small company if there’s a better opportunity waiting just around the corner? Why settle, why commit, if it could cause you to miss out on some hypothetical perfection?
Or maybe that’s just me. I’ve certainly abandoned personal projects and been afraid of opportunities because either the projects weren’t perfect enough or I didn’t think I was perfect enough to take on the opportunities presented to me.
But at the end of the day, not to get too dramatic about it, but the real finite resource we’re dealing with is time. If I’m afraid of anything more than I’m afraid of not attaining “perfection” of some kind, it’s that I’ll run out of time before I finish that book, or build a career, or get a big-ass tattoo.
So, I’m getting a tattoo next Tuesday. Maybe one day I will run out of room.
And maybe that’s okay.
Until next issue,