A few weeks ago, as a gift for my 37th birthday, I asked my wife to give me a tattoo, which she agreed to without hesitation and at first it was a long-awaited gift. Suddenly, however, it became a very distressing idea, and all because I had very consciously decided to tattoo my dog Falkor on my left forearm, a completely visible place that put me at the mercy of public scrutiny, not like the other two tattoos I already had which are not visible day to day.
It is necessary that you know the following to give form and meaning to this personal experience that I now am sharing with you: I think that different dogs (or any pet) that accompany us (symbolically speaking) exist in our lives through unique and unrepeatable stages - the birth of the children, the graduation, that new job we dream of and even a divorce. This is, in my opinion, what makes them unique and emblematic. That's why we're crazy about dogs. In short, we love them, and yet there are beings that filter through us like light through the slits of a peephole and illuminate everything. They become all the light, the peace, the consolation and that "something that saves us". They do not have to do much and in my case, Falkor (my dog) did not have to do anything. He came into my life at the perfect time for both of us; he is my best friend and amulet (pet). I understand that in this life with him, "the pleasure is always mine." He is and always was my teacher, but it will be in another blog post that my love for him overflows the pages and not in the present chapter of the blog.
Continuing with the history of the tattoo, I want you to know that I went through different stages of anxiety and of course I even considered not doing it. It was not an option to change the location of the tattoo - it was literally where my heart wanted it or nothing at all. I considered the possibility of being disapproved of professionally by clients, not having a job (for who would go to Dr. Tattoo's veterinary clinic), losing my position in the hospital where I train on Thursdays, or becoming the subject of criticism and even mistreatment.
You see, I grew up in a fairly closed-minded society regarding this and many other ideas. My mother was from a town called Zitácuaro in the state of Michoacán and my father was born and raised in Mexico City by the hand of "los locos del ritmo" and Diego Verdaguer. You will understand, then, that they were parents of a certain era and for that reason for them only the idea of a tattoo could become reason for shame and penalization of all kinds. I grew up in a Mexico that ruthlessly punished and judged anyone with a tattoo before ever getting to know them.
From an early age I was taught that if you had a tattoo it was because you were a thief, drug addict, gang member or a person without a job or any merit. You also ran the risk of losing your job or not being able to aspire to a good job (not to mention going to heaven, if you are religious). In the past, tattoos were not seen as art by most of the people that made up the society in which I was raised and this, I think, was due to ignorance and perhaps to some bad personal experiences.
All these ideas swarmed around in my mind and gave me headaches due to so much thinking, and yet it turns out that, no, I was not thinking anything. I was only afraid and being prejudicial with and of myself. I was losing faith in who I was and how far I could go, all because of a tattoo. It was during those dark days that my younger brother who lives with me since my parents passed (and now with me and my wife), came of age, and to celebrate his birthday, we went out to eat. Now ready for such a long-awaited celebration, the celebrant released a bomb saying: "I want to get a tattoo" and, why not, on his arm. You will understand now that I had a mini heart attack. My pupils dilated and color immediately rose to my face. I looked at my wife fixedly, sure that she knew exactly what I was thinking and feeling; you see, it was with her that I had debated the whole idea of whether or not to get the tattoo in question, and that was when, once again, this human being named brother and my wife Lessie Ann gave me a life lesson.
Everything happened very fast and, almost without realizing it, I resolved all my concerns while talking to both of them. I told Daniel that unfortunately even in these days in 2019 there was the possibility of being frowned upon by the rest of the people who did not know him yet, he could lose the opportunity of a good job, and a thousand more tragedies.
It was then that my wife, in her infinite wisdom, quoted a friend who once answered this same idea the following way: "You know, Dany, another way to see it is that, if you can't get a job because of a tattoo, you can ask yourself if you are interested in working in a place where people are judged for something so vain and label them so quickly". And it was so, that through weaving ideas together, I knew that the correct answer was: "Go Daniel, get your tattoo and I will get mine." I'm sure the most important thing for me is that he knows that having a tattoo does not make you any more or less of a person. Having a tattoo does not define who he is for me. Having a tattoo is not bad. Having a tattoo does not make you a pickpocket. Having a tattoo will not change how or how much I love him. It's amazing how I was talking to him but in essence I was talking to myself.
So it was that on February 19, 2019, I went to the studio of Jazz (the artist behind the tattoo on my forearm), happy and full of peace, to get the Falkor tattoo I had longed for and planned as a tribute to my teacher and best friend, who irremediably with or without a tattoo is already part of me and my story.
Today, I love the reaction of my clients to the tattoo. The first one is of absolute surprise - yes, it is Falkor without a doubt (it cannot be another Great Dane). Then some ask me for the artist's information since they want to get a tattoo of their best friend as well, and others show me their tattoos and share their experience (since they were also afraid), and many more proudly say: "I'm going to Pet point with Dr. Carolina, (Yes, the one with the most beautiful tattoo of her dog on her arm, his name is Falkor).
About the artist
I leave you with two other readings on the subject that I found interesting, if you wish to continue reading.