Sunday, November 27, 2011

Marked in midlife

I have a subscription for More magazine ... and I'm three issues behind in my reading so am getting caught up this afternoon.

There is an interesting article in the October issue called "Marked in midlife" by Anne Bokma. It's about the growing number of women are celebrating being comfortable in their own skin by getting a tattoo. Here are the first two paragraphs:

I used to have a bias against women with tattoos. I’d think of them as a cry for attention whenever I spotted the markings of a “tramp stamp” peeking out of the backside of a woman’s jeans. I considered those ubiquitous rose ankle tattoos as misguided youthful indiscretions — the result, no doubt, of one too many margaritas on a week-long Cancún binge. But a couple of summers ago, while swimming with a fortysomething friend who still looks great in a bikini, I eyed the crescent moon on the curve of her hip and immediately thought, I have to have one. Suddenly, the idea of a tattoo wasn’t trashy after all. In fact, it seemed the perfect way to mark my passage into midlife, a time when I’ve never been more comfortable in my own skin. It carried just the right whiff of rebellion to indicate a defiance of social conventions. Yes, getting a tattoo at 48 would declare to me — and to the world — that I could still be unpredictable, even a little edgy. It was a sure sign I was a woman with stories to tell.

I'm not alone in my desire to mark the geography of my skin for the first time in middle age. Women over 40 are the fastest growing demographic opting for tattoos, according to Michael Atkinson, an associate professor at the University of Toronto who spent five years researching the Canadian tattoo industry for his book, Tattooed: The Sociogenesis of a Body Art. At least nine per cent of Canadian women sport a tattoo, but “given the range of estimates and anecdotes I have seen, I’d say the figure is more like 20 per cent,” observes Atkinson. “A lot of older women say they wanted to get one when they were younger, but it wasn’t culturally acceptable then, so they’re getting it now.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

I have two tattoos.

I got the first one impulsively when I was 30 (1992). My then husband wanted a tattoo for his birthday so I took him to get one. I left with one too on my left shoulder.

Our first initials were in each heart. When he and I split, I had the initials lasered out (very painful and three times more expensive than the tattoo itself!) and, once it healed, recoloured. The alternative was to have the hearts coloured black to hide the initials.

I got my second one in October 2006 with Gord. It's a "tramp stamp" (so on my lower back).

I've always been attracted to sunflowers ... it seems like such a happy flower! A sunflower's meaning differs from culture to culture. To some, the sunflower promises power, warmth and nourishment. To others, the sunflower's turning as it follows the sun symbolizes deep loyalty and constancy.

I like this quote by Chris (Helen Mirren) in Calendar Girls:

I don't think there's anything on this planet that more trumpets life that the sunflower. For me, that's because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that's such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.

What do you think of tattoos? Do you have any?


Dee said...

I don't have any, but I've considered it. Unfortunately, I change my mind so much, I'm not sure I would be happy with something so permanent.

IF I did get one, it would be a teeny tiny shamrock on my wrist.

Your sunflower is beautiful!

Suburban Princess said...

I have always thought a tattoo on a woman should only be seen if it's meant to be seen. I really dislike seeing them on forearms, necks and other visible places.

I saw something on The Mom Show a couple of years ago that most women get them after they have their children to 'commemorate' them. I guess I fit into that as if I ever got a tattoo (not very likely) it would be a little bee for my son.

Dawn said...

yup, I have 4: A sun; a moon; a palm tree and a stick figure running with the words 21.1k (for when I ran my 1st half marathon). I personally think: to each their own. It shouldn't matter what others think of tattoo's. It's your body afterall.

Angie in TO said...

I don't have any, but have thought of getting one for a couple years now, I'm now 42. I know what I want, the moon cycle, but I just don't know where I would get it. It still may happen.
BTW, I too have a subscription to More and am also behind in my reading!

Swordsman said...

There was a sunflower farm just outside of Aurora. I always enjyed driving by it and seeing thousands of sunflowers all facing the sun. It was a great site.

I almost have my next tatoo worked out. Just some smaller details to solve

Gran said...

no tat's for me; I'm too squeamish. but I love sunflowers!

Tatiana said...

I don't have a tattoo, but mainly because I have not found an image that resonates with me enough. I do love nice ones though, and your sunflower is super cute.

Masshole Mommy said...

"Tramp stamp" cracks me up. I love yours, though :)