Our Commemorative Stone
Yesterday, I posted a status that simply stated that Angie and I had scheduled tattoo appointments. Not surprisingly, I immediately received feedback from the guys gagging about the post. I’m cool with that; I feel no need to conform to our society’s definitions of masculinity. That post actually represented what I enjoy most about Facebook – people just throwing their honest thoughts out there. But there is depth to this story; it’s not just another pain-based date that I enjoy planning.
On February 14, Angie and I will recognize the 10 year anniversary of us getting engaged. Normally an occasion like that is something I realize about a week after it has passed. This year, however, things are a little different.
On February 14 in 2001, Angie and I celebrated our engagement by getting our first tattoos. And to show how deep and committed our love for each other was, Angie got an angel and I got a rhino – oh yes, that’s right. To celebrate our moment of commitment to two people becoming one, we both got images that represented our own names! I tell you the truth, we couldn’t have chosen better tattoos to represent how the next nine years would go. But the beauty of this symbolism didn’t end there. Angie’s angel was reaching out to touch a butterfly…which has no value to her whatsoever. It’s also just above her right glute, out of her sight. Which really is symbolic of who she used to be: a woman with an identity that she couldn’t see and when she did see it, it was a lie based on her chasing something that wasn’t important to her but she felt it should be. As for mine, it’s only the outline of a rhino – completely empty inside. I always wanted to get it filled but could never decide on what to put inside the rhino that was permanent. Funny enough, like Jacob’s permanent reminder, it’s on my hip as a reminder of my wrestling match between myself and God. February 14, 2001, we put permanent ink on our body to memorialize a nearly perfect representation of who we were in that moment. Of course, we also put those tattoos where they were completely hidden…a representation of how confident we really were with those identities.
A few weeks ago, our tattoos came up. Angie hasn’t been tattoo’ed since; I’ve added a lot of ink to an arm with much left to add. But the completion of that arm is still some time away, while we struck by the opportunity to do things differently than we did 10 years ago. So, this February we’re making a different statement. We’ll be getting the same basic tattoo, although there will be some differences in size and color interpretation and location. Mine will modify that old rhino while Angie’s will be significantly larger and in a new location.
Our new tattoos will say a lot about who we have grown into over the last 10 years. These tattoos are our way of placing a stone on sacred ground and giving it a name. If that means I’m less “manly” for getting a tattoo with my wife that commemorates the best things in our lives, I’m cool with that.