Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Marked Woman

Growing up, my parents had several rules. Of course they did. They were the usual: go to church on Sunday mornings, brush your teeth before bed, don't lock your brother in his toybox. Luckily for us, they never made us eat all the food on our plate or make our beds. Because, really, I was the only person who ever saw my bed, so what did it matter.

One of my parents' favorite rule enforcers was the Saturday Sack. Here's how the Saturday Sack worked. We were responsible for keeping our things cleaned around the house. I have been plagued from birth with a nasty case of disorganization. Trust me, though they deny it, it's genetic. It also comes with a side of pack-ratism. Essentially these manifest by causing me to leave things around. When I was a kid, the left things consisted of shoes and toys and the like.

When Saturday morning rolled around, anything that had not been put away would be taken by the Saturday Sack. Once in the grasp of the Saturday Sack, you couldn't get it back until the next Saturday. Which, when you're 5, is an eternity. You would think that we would be smart enough to make sure everything was cleaned up before hand. We weren't. So Saturday morning, at the first glimpse of the Saturday Sack, we all started freaking out and running around the house like a bunch of yayhoos trying to grab as much as we could. Since we had small arms, it usually wasn't much. And there were always tears when a favorite toy or book was taken away.

I will give my parents kudos for their tenacity. The beauty of the Saturday Sack was that it didn't matter what got put in there, you didn't get it back. If you happened to leave one lone tennis shoe in the middle of the living room floor, the next week at school, you wore a different pair, even if they were dress shoes. I remember one time one of my siblings managed to get 2 separate shoes taken away and had to wear a mismatched pair for a few days. Luckily, we weren't in school yet and our social lives consisted of running around the backyard and going to the library so it wasn't too embarrassing.

Another one of my parents firm rules was no tattoos as long as you live under their roof. Which, of course, only made us want to get tattoos. My sister was the first to cave shortly after her marriage. She and the brother in law made a night of it and visited the local Christian tattoo parlor (yeah, that's right) and had themselves permanently altered.

I followed suit a few years later. I can remember to the day when I got my tattoo. It was September 8, 2001. 3 days before September 11th. I, like my sister, got a religious tattoo. It's the following symbol for the trinity:

There are conflicting reports online of the origin of the symbol. Some think it's paganistic. However, I believe symbols are what you make of them, so I'm sticking with my theory. I stole the design from a friend of mine, who is a missionary and preacher's kid. I knew for a couple of years that I wanted a tattoo, and I wanted it to mean something. When I saw hers, I couldn't resist. I asked her permission first, and she agreed since she had stolen it from the band P.O.D. I sorta regret having the same one now, but we live on different continents, so it's not like we see each other every day. But I have it in the same place on the inner side of my right ankle. When we are in the same place and people notice, I feel like a tool. But I've literally only seen her 3 times in the last 5 years. So I cope.

My favorite part of the tattoo process was the reveal to my parents. I had had it for a couple of weeks, but didn't mention it to them knowing how they felt. I went home to visit them for the weekend, and decided to get it out in the open. I was getting ready to take a shower, so I told my parents. I told them that I knew they were bound to see it and not like it, so I was telling them before I showered so that they could use the time I was in the shower to vent and have the "I can't believe another one of our children is tattooed" conversations. I knew they'd have that conversation, because I sat in on the first one.

Only when I got out of the shower, I was sitting on the couch and putting lotion on the tattoo to keep it from peeling. And my dad, ever the observant one, notices me and asks, "is that real? When did you do that?" Apparently he had missed the entire conversation where I revealed it and gave him a chance to let it sink in. Heh, not surprising if you know my dad.

To my knowledge, my brother is still tatless. Though, secretly, and he would never admit it, I still think my dad thinks my tattoo is pretty cool.