tatori’s Story

Site created on February 15, 2019

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Jordan Nomen

I met Carlos during a trip to Barcelona. I had the habit of tattooing in each country I visited and he had a small tattoo shop on the same street as the studio I had rented through Airbnb.
His place, an austere cabin with a counter, an armchair and dozens of photographs on the wall, was in Sants, far from the usual tourist circuits of the city. Maybe that's why Carlos looked at me surprised when I walked through the door. It seemed like the typical neighborhood establishment not used to new faces.
When we say good morning we notice our perspective accents. He told me that he was from Buenos Aires, and that he had been in Spain for seven years.
I told him about the tattoo I had in mind: the salamander of Park Güell on the back of my right shoulder. While I was giving him the details about the colors, I noticed that Carlos was uncomfortable. I thought maybe it was because he had realized that I was Chilean.
Then he looked me in the eyes.
"I'm sorry, but I can not get the tattoo," he said.
I stayed frozen for a few seconds, mentally reviewing the reasons why I might have felt offended.
-As you say? I said with a small mouth.
-Look, to have a memory of Barcelona you do not need a tattoo. You better go and buy yourself a postcard, "he insisted.
I got mad. Who was that guy to decide how I should or should not remember my trips? I was used to people who judge you for wearing tattoos, but I would never have expected to be judged by someone who did them.
I wanted to know more.
-But, what exactly is the problem? Do not you make tattoos of tourist attractions in the city? Do not you do tattoos related to travel? How is it exactly? -I asked for.
-No, is not that. But I only make tattoos that really mean something to the person. To get a tattoo on you first you have to make me cry, "he said.
At that time I did not know if I was hesitating or if I was directly a jerk.
As if he had read my thoughts, he began to explain himself without my asking.
He told me that he was against the materialistic idea of ​​tattooing. That there were already too many "tattoo collectors", people who behaved as if they were art dealers, accumulating tattoos without really meaning anything to them.
- I have done hundreds of tattoos throughout my life. And I've realized that if I do not get emotionally involved I'm not able to give one hundred percent. And when that happens I feel like cheating the client. It's like a teenager singing blues, you know? Something's not right.
I left the store without really knowing what to think. I did not know if it was someone genuinely romantic or if all that was just a tantrum to not admit that tattoos were no longer a sign of rebellion, but a fashion complement more. Someone baffled by the fact that having the skin covered in ink no longer meant to be different, but to be normal.
I was used to being judged for wearing tattoos, but I did not expect to be judged by someone who made them.
I was pissed. That guy he just met had made me feel guilty, like I did not deserve to wear tattoos.
I spent all my time looking at the tattoos, almost all of them the result of thoughtless outbursts and aesthetic whims. And every time I saw them, the stories that Carlos had told me resounded in my head.
... that of the mother who had tattooed the hands of the son she had lost because of cancer ...
... that of the son who had tattooed the last sentence of the letter that his father had sent him when he was in camps days before he died ...
... that of the couple who had their baby's electrocardiogram tattooed after spending a month in the incubator ...
And I looked at the badly drawn ship that I had on my right forearm, or the New York skyline that I had made on my left foot, or the date of my birth in Roman numerals on my little finger, or the name of Taylor Swift in prison typography that I had done on my thigh after losing a bet ... and I felt like the most frivolous person in the world.
I was getting the urge to get a tattoo in Barcelona.
That night, before showering, I looked at myself naked in the bathroom mirror. Contemplating my tattoos I began to recall the period of my life in which each of them had made me. He remembered exactly where he was, what the place smelled, and who was the first person he had taught it to. And I realized that even though those tattoos might not respond to high motivations or have deep meanings, they served to remind me of all the different people I had been throughout my life. Maybe my tattoos did not have a lot of history behind, but they explained mine.
Patients and caregivers love hearing from you; add a comment to show your support.

Comments Hide comments

Help tatori Stay Connected to Family and Friends

A $30 donation to CaringBridge powers tatori's site for one month. Will you make a gift to help ensure that this site stays online for them and for you?

Show Your Support

See the Ways to Help page to get even more involved.