Think Ink

When I was a teenager I wasn’t sure of anything really, but I did have a slightly rebellious streak (that I cultivated to push against an76467164700c60e1c37c733e0cd53e93 imaginary enemy). My lovely mum was pretty cool with most things so I was fighting myself, mostly.

When I was around 14 (in my anecdote I am 14, but I suspect I was actually 16), I convinced my uncle to take me to get a tattoo. We chose a tiny little shop in an alleyway in Hastings Old Town one Saturday and I had absolutely no plans for a design.

I am from a family that you wouldn’t exactly call ‘tattoo friendly’ and before this had never had an older family member with a secret tattoo. If my own grandfather has a fuzzy blue mermaid anywhere about his person then I have never heard of it, much less seen it.

So it was brave of me I think to walk into the buzzing atmosphere of my first tattoo parlour that afternoon. In those days it was easy to fake a birth date on a flimsy piece of paper, no ID was requested and to be fair I don’t think anyone cared all that much.

I pointed to a tiny pink butterfly on the wall and before I knew it I was in the chair, a huge man with a ring through his nose looming towards me with a needle.

I took it well, marvelling at a feeling I had never had before. I know it now to be a flush of adrenaline but my childish heart was just delighted to be doing something so unauthorised. So free.

While he waited, my uncle fell in love with a dream catcher design (or was it a mushroom?) and went back a few weeks later for his own ink. And I’ve been in love with tattoos ever since.

If I didn’t know anything else, I knew right there that one day I would be covered in them if I only had my way.

Today I have quite a few. The artwork on my body varies from very very bad to really great and there are some oddballs in between. People talk about tattoos being a map of events in your life and that is true for me to a certain extent. There’s the 18th birthday present from my high school BFF (shooting stars, ankle), the ill-advised travel tattoos (tiger cub, hip/multiple lotus flowers), the great big Fuck You.

There’s the love token (letter ‘g’, back of neck), the BFF that is no more tattoo (tiny star, behind ear) – and then there are the ones that I just had to have because I like stuff (sugar donut/nail polish bottle/hula hoop). What I have is for me and nobody else, although I do run it past Mr Bee first. It’s not a request for permission per se, just checking in.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what other people say, how many times they ponder when I will stop or if it will affect my ability to get a job in the future. A big oaf in the Co-op asked me if they were real and then proceeded to tell me how much he hates tattoos. Great customer service, my friend!

It is my body and if I’ve thought it through and want to do it, I will. I’m not as heavily covered as some friends, but have quite a bit more than others. Some of my friends have nothing at all and always make me think of what Ozzy Osbourne once said:

If you want to be —-ing individual, don’t get a tattoo. Every —-er’s got one these days.”

This week, today actually, I am popping in to hang out with my friend and tattooist, Alex, who is going to draw me up an epic piece. I’m at the stage where slapping things on empty space isn’t an option anymore, they have to fit in with existing pieces so that the overall ‘sleeve’ knits together.

I like colour and I love the traditional style, and I’m also a massive girl so everything I have has to have a feminine edge, even my lumberjack is drinking from a fine bone china cup and saucer. I don’t really know what I’m doing but I do know what I like so that’s half the plan sorted, right?

As for my family, well my Mum at least, she came round eventually, electing to have a tattoo to celebrate her 65th birthday. Her son-in-law paid and every time I see it I get a glimpse of the bad ass within. She gets complimented by hipster waitresses and I admire her for doing it because she wanted to.

She’s still not sold on the idea of me being covered but that’s just because I’ll always be her baby girl. She loves them on other people.

So what are your views on tattoos? Do you have them/want them/abhor them?

The Only (Riot) Grrrl In The World

robyn2Ever notice how the best songs are the heartbreak anthems? Sometimes not even anthems, some are weepy little poems that still have the power to cut you like a switch blade (hey there Joni).

Even though I hung up my angst a long time ago (does one ever?) and am not currently nursing a sore heart, I still love the fist pumping, imagine myself standing on tables, shouting at all the pigs that ever let me down psalms the best.

As I shuffle reluctantly to work every morning, my iPod bruising my ear canal ever so slightly, I always have to make the final push with a great song in my head, that extra protection against the day ahead.

Now I write all this with the best of intentions but my musical catalog contains an awful lot of Janet Jackson so it’s usually something like What Have You Done For Me Lately? off Control that gets me fighting.

JJ notwithstanding, it’s funny how some lyrics just jump out and elbow you in the ribs, isn’t it? They have the ability to drag you back through time to the exact moment you found yourself standing hesitantly outside a coffee shop after a blazing row with a boy you’d only been seeing for a few Summer months.

You remember your carefully chosen words, and how carelessly he batted them away like fruit flies. You remember how black his eyes became in rage, the chocolate-brown evaporating from them completely, making him look demonic. How you had known right there that this was it, that no matter how lovely his skin felt or how pumped you were that he chose to spent these hazy twilight hours walking around the city with you, it was done.

You recall the tears that you thought would never end, your best friend’s hand on your back and the thought, even in that moment, that you were crying not for this, but for everything bad that had ever happened to every person in the world.

Most of all you remember that it was over because you decided it was; that you weren’t going to take shit any more.

That’s what a heart-break tune will do and it doesn’t matter if you’ve moved on, if you’re happy now. It doesn’t matter if you rarely think of them; those fuckers built you up to be the fabulous person you are today and tribute must be paid, even if it’s angry.

Especially if it’s angry.

So what’s my go to angry anthem? You’ll not be surprised to learn there’s some utter toot in here: Since You’ve Been Gone, Blow Me (One Last Kiss), Dancing On My Own, Raspberry Swirl. Sinead O’Connor’s You Cause As Much Sorrow. Mr Brightside. Harpoon.

Army of Me.

All my loves.

Special mention to Joni’s Case of You which saw me through a wonderful break up (I loved it). Less punch facey sure but just as powerful. (I’m listened to Joni as I tie up the ribbon on this post with a flourish, because she’s the one).

It is true that every girl has a fighter inside, a riot grrrl or a punk, whoever she wants it to be. She may be a soft touch like me, most of the time, but given the right theme tune, that fighter will awaken to stomp the shit out of her memories, free to fight another day.

So what’s your angsty/angry/fighter theme?

The Trouble With Netflix

Photograph does not belong to me

Photograph does not belong to me

Anybody else got a Netflix addiction? Seriously, it’s like a potent drug and I’m expecting an intervention any time soon.

It all started with the Adventures of an Upper East Side Gossip Monger (or Gossip Girl) and has spiralled from there. I wonder sometimes if my relationship can take the strain of yet another weekend main-lining trash TV in my pajamas.

I’ve just finished Nurse Jackie but have done: Gossip Girl, Hemlock Grove, Orange is the New Black, all 7 series of Skins, now the first season of Bates Motel. I don’t know what the deal is with the way it just takes over your brain and holds you there for two days straight, rendering you unable to do anything else, like keep a rational thought in your head, Hoover or leave the flat. I’ve been known to not speak to my own family for several hours while they are in the same room.

Perhaps my only hope is to stop the subscription and step away from the PS3. Go cold turkey and take back control of my life.

Ooooh:

Are you still watching “Nurse Jackie”?

Just one more episode, then I’ll read a book. Promise!

So This Is Thirty

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Chewing over turning 30

Hello!

My post has been published on the very cool blog, My Thirty Spot this morning. If you fancy having a little look, I talk about my experience of turning 30 over here.

Believe me, it was kind of a big deal.

Also, thanks to Hannah as I totally pilfered the idea from her and her post, A Letter to My 20 Year Old Self.

Imitation is still the highest form of flattery, yes?

Road Tripping

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‘Tis the season for road trips — if time and money were out of the equation, what car-based adventure would you go on? (If you don’t or can’t drive, any land-based journey counts.)

Via The Daily Post (27th July 2014)

Like all predictably cliched girls, one of the items on my bucket list is indeed ‘Go on a Road Trip’. I like the idea of getting in a van or a car and going anywhere the wind takes me. I have been lucky enough in my past to have been part of more than one.

In Australia, my brand new Irish friend and I bought into a battered old station wagon with two Canadian boys and we travelled together for a few months, boogie boards in the back, love beads hanging from the rear view mirror. See? Cliche.

tumblr_n9c6ctxECJ1tu3m8ao1_500I don’t even remember what happened to the car in the end or the boys, although I do remember on the night of my 21st birthday that I threw myself at one of them, the first and last time I ever took the initiative with a guy (sad but true). Later my preferred mode of transport was the trusty Greyhound. Every time I scored a window seat I would imagine I was Julia Roberts in Sleeping With the Enemy, off to start a new life.

Now, I have someone I want to see the World with and ironically we’ve not been on holiday abroad for years. This is both for economical reasons and more besides. I’m not worried though, for my love makes me feel as free and as invincible as the breeze in my hair and the sun on my face.

But if I could choose my ideal trip it would, unsurprisingly, be the whole USA/Route 66 experience. Those wide open roads, the skies; nature. I want to live it, breathe it all in.

I want the cabin in the woods, the tent by a stream, “You kids ain’t from around here, are you?” treatment, without the killings, obvs.

I want to turn off my phone, pull out my Polaroid camera, listen to Skynyrd in t-shirt and jeans, no make-up, tangled hair. I want laughter and adventure. Burgers and pancakes. Freckles on my arms.

I want it all.

Yes, I have thought about this a lot and maybe one day I shall have my wish. One day we will take a month off and just drive. Until then, there are mini-trips and bus rides and the countryside.

Adventure is in the heart.

 

Obit

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Write your obituary (via Writing Exercises)

God, this will be a challenge. I was going to say it’s a bit macabre to think of now but actually, should we be looking at death in such a negative way? There’s a beautiful simplicity to the fact that we’ll all face it one day and, of course, I don’t want to dwell on it for too long but I don’t think we should be afraid. So I’m going to attempt this with some relish.

When I go, to be fair, it won’t matter what anybody says; I won’t know.

One person could turn up to say goodbye and that might just be the person leading the ceremony. There might not be a ceremony at all. I might be fed to the neighbourhood strays in bite size chunks. If the World ends before I’m ready to go, we’ll all be in it together. Here goes:

Sad news comes in today of the passing of Christa Bass. Mrs Bass, of Austrian descent, was a well loved daughter, sister and wife, best known for her clumsiness and ability to make a mountain out of a molehill.

A mediocre writer, Bass spent an awful lot of time talking about writing when she should just have written but did enjoy minor celebrity when she had published a slim tome of tongue-in-cheek life advice.

Bass was quite nice, sometimes funny and without question one of the best tea makers of her generation. She was also good with little paintings in nail enamel and quite eloquent in small groups.

She is survived by her handsome husband who has full permission to remarry as long as the new wife reads, her step son, three cats and a dog named The Hound. Yes, she finally got the be the pet owner she was born to be.

She will be missed. Quite a bit, actually.

Here’s hoping, eh?*

*That I get to have pets.

Is this a depressing topic or do you think we should all be better at talking about these things? What will people say about you do you think?

On Bees and Efs

A decade ago this would have been a picture of Carrie & co

A decade ago this would have been a picture of Carrie & co

Prompt via The Daily Post (25th July 2014)

Do you — or did you ever — have a Best Friend? Do you believe in the idea of one person whose friendship matters the most? Tell us a story about your BFF (or lack thereof).

This is almost a little too close to home as a topic but fuck it, I say. Why not tackle it anyway?

It’s actually a question I think about a lot and the answer is, I just don’t know. I think not. I mean, do I favour one of my friends over another? Not really. I get different things from different people and they are so different, you can’t really choose. It’s like having to make a choice between poppadums or chocolate and that’s just impossible and cray.

I do have special people who make me feel whole, of course I do but being someone’s one and only Best Friend has felt cloying and insincere in the past. Moreover, I’ve felt like a possession.

I had a Best Friend once. For many years it was all about one girl.

I’m not talking about my high school Best Friend (whom I loved and am still in touch with). I’m talking live together, rites of passage; would have walked on broken glass for Best Friend. She was The One and we went through everything arm in arm.

Leaving our small hometown for the bright lights of the city, broken hearts (hers and mine), jobs, boys, girls, mouldy bathrooms, gay clubs, that time I got hit round the head by a drag queen – we did it all. I moved away, came back, left the country, one of her girlfriends snogged Amy Winehouse – we had our adventures apart, sure but always found our way back together.

Things changed.

I’m not going to use this post to get all vitriolic. Frankly, I did all that long ago. I mourned the end of our friendship more than I have mourned any relationship break up. I loved her, I really did. But people aren’t always the people you think they are, or you change and they don’t.

Oh go on then!

Oh go on then!

Sometimes they’re the ones who change. I can only accept that our time had run out and it was no longer healthy. My Best Friend let me down so spectacularly when I needed her most that I knew for sure that all the love for me she had ever spoken of was a lie. Maybe not a lie but in the end, what does it even matter?

For me the whole experience of being somebody’s Best Friend was to be wheeled out to suit the occasion and encouraged to perform comedy routines. To be possessed like an object. To be told who not to speak to according to how she perceived she’d been wronged. It gets hard to watch someone you love hurt other people you love; harder when the cycle just keeps repeating itself.

But I’m sure her breaking up with me story pushes all the blame my way.

There are too many fantastic stories about her, I don’t know if I could choose. I miss her still, sometimes, when certain things happen. She’s happy now though and god, so am I, so there you go.

I will never go back.

As for how I feel about BFFs now, I’m lucky enough to consider the handful of people I know are there for me come what way, all my Best Friends.

My Person, David. Beautiful Panda. Mix, who inspires me creatively whenever I see her. Ms. Lightle. Lovely hilariously blunt Lauren. Blogging Bestie Ems. My work husband, DBo.

Baby Dee. B.

I’m very lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life and I love every one of them.

As for ultimate favourite friend of all time, maybe it is sad that I have loved and lost in this respect but I think all it tells me is that I need to be my own Bestie.

I’m my OBF.