My Favorite Mistake: A Tattoo Story

It was the summer of 2002. My obsession with Middle Earth had been kicked into high gear by the release of the movie version of The Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring.

And I was itching for a tattoo..

I decided I wanted to pay homage to my "gang" number-47. Just kidding, we weren't really a gang, just a bunch of friends that became Christians around the same time, between 1984 -1986, at Jimmy Swaggart Ministries. I was one of the few girls in this group of friends. Our number was and is still 47, See explanation HERE.

So while visiting my family in Okeechobee Florida, I decided to get a tattoo that read "47" only I thought it would be cool to get it in another language, a language Tolkien invented for Middle Earth, the Elvish language of Sindarin. In the Appendices of my Lord of the Rings book I found a list of letters, numbers and symbols of the Sindarin language. I picked the symbol that was beside the number 4 and the symbol that was beside the number 7 for my tattoo. My sister and I went to the Tattoo parlor and I branded myself forever with these beautiful symbols..of what I was sure was the number 47, in Elvish...

But several weeks later, while visiting, I made a shocking discovery. My interpretation of the list of numbers and symbols had been incorrect. As I started to realize that the symbols I had on my hip were not a Sindarin 4 or  7! I started to panic,  "What the heck have I branded myself with? What if it's 'I love Sauron' or 'Death to Frodo' or '666"?!! I had to find out.

So I began the search for an Elvish language expert. I quickly found one in the Hall of Fire Chat on I sent them a picture of my tattoo and they sent me a detailed graph explaining the TRUE meaning of my tattoo.

The symbols were not numbers at all, the first symbol means "Feather" and the second symbol means "Iron"
"Ok", I thought, "I can live with that. It's actually kinda cool."

I began to see all of this as divine providence. The words "Feather" and "Iron" really do describe a precise tension, the extremes of strength and frailty, gentleness and grit...

Feather-kind; character; nature:
something very light, small, or trivial.

Iron-something hard, strong, rigid, unyielding.
an instrument, utensil, weapon, etc., made of iron.
a sword.

So the tattoo I got by mistake means the extremes that are always pulling at me, but the best place to be is right in the middle of those extremes and also to at times embrace being trivial, small, light, kind and other times embrace being made of iron, an instrument, strong, unyielding.

Yea. That's pretty cool.

Sure, I know what your thinking, "This is all from symbols, that come from a made up language, spoken by fictional characters in the fictional world of Middle Earth, and she's making this tattoo mishap spiritual? She's nuts."

I know this is geekness personified. I'm OK with that. But no matter if it is, I still think God set it all up to happen just as it did...

That is why it's my favorite mistake.


Karen said…
I liked when Ken, Nathan, and Caleb put big 47's on their butts in your honor. Funny times.
Anonymous said…
For some weird and strange reason, tattoos were a big turn on for me and something I always wanted for as long as I could remember.

My mom told me that because of my bleeding disorder, tattoos were off limits. So through the years all I could do was admire them on someone else.

Back in 2003-04, I met a fellow native in the dance group my kids were in and we soon became good friends. Though she was living a gay lifestyle, she was looking to make a change and do something with this incredible talent that she had going to waste. She did a few tattoos here and there, but always knew she was good enough to open here own place, just didn't have the money or support she needed to get it done.

So I opened up my home to her and her children after a big fight between her and her lover and before you know it she was running a tattoo shop in my living room.

One day she asked me why I didn't have any tattoos if I liked them so much and so I told her about my bleeding disorder and though she initially agreed it wasn't a good idea to get tatted, she also agreed to do a test tat on me just to see how much of a bleeder I really was.

I was so thrilled when she told me she had non free-bleeders bleed out more than I did and agreed to do my first tat. For Free!!

I had always wanted an ankle bracelet with feathers going down onto the top of my foot, but because this would be my first tattoo, she didn't think I would be able to handle the pain in that area, so she talked me into getting a few feathers on my ankle instead.

I was very picky about the feathers I wanted and ended up going with a set I had found on this t-shirt I had bought through my tribe.

After the tattoo was healed I noticed that the tips of the feathers had this claw-like look to them and thought she had messed up my first tat. I asked her to check it and fix it but she insisted that was how they looked on the shirt.

Needless-to-say, I walked around with this tattoo that I thought was messed up. I had in mind to get it fixed one day, until about a year later while volunteering at a tribal camp, I met this amazingly weird, but incredibly talented artist, called Steve.

Steve is a tribal member and owns a screen-printing shop in New Orleans. One night as we were sitting around talking he noticed the tattoo on my ankle and said, "wow those feathers look really cool." So as I proceed to explain to him how the tattoo artist kinda messed up on the tips and so they sorta look like claws or pinchers. He got this weird look on his face and asked to take a closer look at my tattoo. He then asks me where the original picture of the feathers came from. So I told him how picky I had been in selecting the right feathers and ended up going with this set I had found on a t-shirt that the tribe sells.

To my surprise, he informs me that he was the artist who designed that shirt and that the feathers were made to look like crawfish claws because that is our tribes symbol. He assured me that my tattoo was perfect the way it was, a true representation of my tribe, our tribe.

As for my tattoo artist friend, I introduced her to some people who eventually helped her get the funding she needed to finally open her own Tattoo Shop. The shop was short-lived as she resumed her previous lifestyle, moved out of dodge and have only heard from her a time or two since then.

However, there is not a day that goes by that I do pray for her, her family, and of course her salvation.

In fact the Holy Spirit put it on my heart to register and invite her to HPC's 2009 Live The Dream Women's Conference.

Tough challenge, Extremely tough, but I know with His guidance, direction, and blessings, His Will be done!!
I have a red, Japenese style dragon. Legless with wings. I used to really love dragons. I was a huge fantasy/sci-fiction person. In most fantasy that I read dragons are not evils creatures, but old wise creatures that have courage along with other wonderful characteristics. I wanted a tattoo and for me a symbol of a dragon was what fit me. I chose the red, winged, serpentine-bodied dragon because I wanted to gain wisdom and courage. At the time of getting my tattoo I had a child who was almost two. I was trying to support both of us and go to school. Many nights I didn't think I could do it and so for me to have the courage to take each day, to be the best mom I could be, to be a better provider for my daughter, and to have the wisdom to make the right decisions were all that I was seeing. Later, I also found out by a woman from China, that the dragon I had for a tattoo also was a symbol of the warriors for the royal family, dynasty. She said that if you had the red dragon I had you were part of the royal family and you were the protector of the dynasty. As well as it symbolized the reasons I got my tat. Oh yes, and it is on my left arm, not the most typical feminine place to get a tattoo, but again, it is in a place of strength.

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