I’m in Mexico! In Mérida, capital of the state of Yucatan, thawing out. This morning has been spent enjoying the breeze and teaching myself a little about the Maya civilization, which was local to here — we’re going to see the ruins of Uxmal later this week, and I’m so excited. But today is also a big day for another reason: Buddy is 3 today.
A while back I did a series of rituals with someone who specializes in such matters, working through some stuff. In our very first session, I was told to visualize walking down some stairs into the earth, where among other things I’d find an animal waiting to meet me. And there he was: a winged garter snake who flapped over and coiled itself around my right arm. In that very moment a little background process running in my head knew I’d found my tattoo. I’d circled the idea for years, never finding an image I wanted to risk living with forever — but this was it.
After months of casting about on the internet, I found the amazing Johno, who at the time owned Black Iris Tattoo in Greenpoint. One look at his instagram feed told me this was the guy. There was an email conversation, and we made an appointment. It was HAPPENING.
I spent much of the night before the big day staring at the ceiling, miserable. What if I got it and hated it a day later? For the rest of my life every time I looked in the mirror it would be a source of shame and regret. Should I cancel? But if I canceled, wouldn’t I regret THAT every time I looked in the mirror? Either way, I was on a familiar road to self-torture.
Then I remembered: One of that snake’s messages was to treat myself as I would others — with love. And living in fear of my being mean to myself was not loving. I decided to roll the dice, get the ink, and love myself anyway, no matter what. That was the kind of man I wanted to be.
So I went to Brooklyn. The sketch Johno had made from what I sent him was… thrilling. Magnificent. And he spent a few hours putting it where it belonged, and today I am a man who loves his ink and what it reminds him of. Thanks, Johno.
And happy birthday, Buddy.