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Write your soul down, word for word

Take your head around the world
See what you get
From your mind
Write your soul down word for word
See who's your friend
Who is kind

From the age of 9 or so, I've fancied myself somewhat of a poet. Granted, I'm more of a hack and a wannabe than a Sylvia Plath, but I'm still a poet in my mind. Ever since I learned to read, I had been obsessed with writing - and as I got older, that obsession turned to song lyrics.

In high school, I was browsing a used CD store and came across Yourself or Someone Like You, Matchbox 20's first album. At the time, I had only heard "Push" but I liked the song, and hey, the album was only a couple of bucks. And so began my obsession with that band that is still going strong to this day.

When Mad Season came out, I bought it on the day it was released, and listened to it obsessively. One of the songs, "You Won't Be Mine" stuck in my head, though more for the lyrics than for the melody.

At that point in my life, I was writing poetry and lyrics constantly. "You Won't Be Mine" had a line that said "write your soul down word for word" which I prided myself on doing in my writings. I carried this line in my head for what seemed like forever, writing it everywhere - on notebooks, folders, papers taped to my bedroom door.

By the time I was 21, I still was devoted to that line (and Matchbox 20, now renamed matchbox twenty). So, I decided that I needed to have it tattooed on me, as writing it everywhere was simply not enough.

At this time, my best friend and I each had only one tattoo. So, we decided we would go check out Wingnut down in St. Cloud (about an hour from where we lived) and maybe set up an appointment for each of us to get another tattoo.

About a week later, we made the trip down to Wingnut, having only gotten lost once, which is somewhat of a record for us. We walked in and chatted with Jim and asked him who was best with lettering tattoos. He recommended Al, who was currently busy with someone else at that time. After about 15 minutes, Al finished and came over to see us. He said what we wanted would be simple (mine was obviously the lyric, Val wanted "bella" under her breast) and would be about $60 each. He did note that the font I wanted wouldn't work well, so he said that he would do it in his own handwriting, to ensure it stays unique. I agreed, and we set the date for about a month later.

Waiting an entire month was killing us.

Finally, a month later, we headed back down to Wingnut to see Al. I let Val for first, growing increasingly nervous. She was sounding rather pained, and my tattoo was only going to be a few inches lower than hers. Would mine hurt that bad?

Not 20 minutes later, it was my turn.

Earlier, he had written up my tattoo and asked if it was perfect. To me, it was almost perfect - but there appeared to be just ever-so-slightly a larger gap between a line than there was between another. Both Val and Al disagreed with me on this, which irritated me. Al dragged out a ruler - I was right. Somehow, though, they convinced me to just go with it. I wasn't too happy at the time, but after a few minutes I accepted it and was fine with it. Nothing in life is perfect, right?

After cleaning up, and then getting everything ready for me, I laid down on my side and closed my eyes, excited and terrified. It was on my ribs, and I had only heard horror stories of rib tattoos, no matter how small.

I needn't have worried.

My tattoo didn't take long at all, maybe 15 minutes or so, and I barely felt it (unlike my large rib tattoo I would get a couple years later). Al did have to stop for a minute or two, however, as Val kept trying to make conversation with me, and laughing while getting a rib tattoo is generally not something that is encouraged.

I listened to the buzz of the needles on my skin, and zoned out a little bit. I was getting the lyric I had loved for years on me! I was quite sure I would never regret this, as 1) it had meaning for me, as I do try and write my soul down, and 2) it's connected to matchbox twenty/Rob Thomas. Mmmm.

Afterward, I was bandaged up and told to use Tattoo Goo on it. I was to keep the bandage on at least until I got home, preferably for a little bit longer if I could stand it. I ended up keeping the bandage on for about two hours, which was not fun, as the bandage was horribly itchy.

I ended up having no problems with the healing whatsoever. And honestly, I tend to forget it's there sometimes. I'll catch a glimpse of my side in the mirror getting dressed or after a shower, and be confused for half a second. But every time I see it, I fall in love with it again, no matter how simple and plain it is.

Here's a photo of it, about two hours old:


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 31 July 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Al
Studio: Wingnut
Location: St.+Cloud%2C+MN

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