I got my first tattoo when I was barely 18. Yep – what a rebel, right? I waited until I was 18 years old to do whatever I wanted with my body. Wait… I guess I have that wrong. I had a baby when I was 17… but I digress.
Yep. 18. The big ole’ One-Eight. And my tattoo of choice? The Van Halen logo. Hell fucking yeah! And over the years I have been asked several times (or seventy times… but who’s counting), “Aren’t you going to regret that when you are old?”
The short answer? No. A slightly longer answer? Hell no!
Why? Well, for several reasons. One, I really love that band. No… I don’t think you understand. I *LOVE* that band. Secondly, it’s my damn body. I’ll put a tattoo of a hot dog on it, if I want, and never look back. ‘Cause that’s just how I roll. But lastly, and most importantly, I would never ink my body for reasons that were any less than the most important: I chose the VH logo because I was moved by them.
Let me explain. I was young and going through a particularly difficult time in my life. At that same time, I started listening to VH. I had heard them before. And I liked them. But now… now their music just spoke to me. The blazing riffs of Eddie, the screaming vocals of Diamond Dave (and the crooning of Sammy), the banging of Alex on drums and the pumping sound of Mikey’s bass – so deep that it almost had its own pulse… oh yeah. I was hooked. I’ve seen them as many times as they’ve come since then (which was 1996 – just for the record).
But it wasn’t really their music that got me through. It was my own strength that got me through. But Van Halen became the analogy of that choice to persevere. They were symbolic of the drive to continue; the desire to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
15 years later (almost), I don’t ever look down at that fading ink under my skin and wonder if I made the right choice. Sometimes, in the dark and dead of the night, I find myself gently tracing my fingers over my discolored skin. I remember, when I am left to lie awake alone, that I have been through worse. I remind myself that the sun will rise again. It won’t always be this dark. It is then that I look down with wonder – why wouldn’t someone want a tattoo as awesome as mine?
I mean – right now. Hey! It’s your tomorrow! See the video here. Welcome to the rest of your life. How are YOU capturing the moment? And what won’t you regret in 15 years? As for me and my tattoo? I won’t regret a damn thing.