As of this weekend, I think I can officially say that I’m a badass, tattooed biker chick. Yes, ME … prim, proper and petite Amy.
Oh, stop yer laughing. Let me ‘splain.
See, when my son was born in 1995, I was a mere babe myself, at 22 years old. His birth — quite expectedly and understandably — cut short what might have been my carefree 20s. My life became about diapers and developmental milestones, not The Dead summer tour. Or any other adventures, for that matter.
I had to become a responsible adult but quick. When other girls my age were blowing their paychecks on cute shoes, I was trying to finish college, work full time AND make sure my infant son had all his needs met.
I have no regrets about any of that… at all. I wouldn’t trade a second of that time in my life for nuthin’.
In fact, my catchphrase when anyone asked me if I thought I missed out on my youth by being such a young mom was, “When he’s 18, I will be 40… still young enough to do all the wild and crazy stuff I couldn’t do in my 20s, and old enough to do them with finesse, and the financial means to back them up.”
Um, so my son turned 18 in May. And well, I’m a fit and fabulous 40.
OK, not really. I mean hell, I don’t drink anymore, so I won’t be dancing on bars wearing a lampshade on my head anytime soon.
But there are some raucous things I want to do and experience before I get so damn old that they just make me look desperate.
So this weekend I did two of them: I visited a tattoo parlor and rode in a motorcycle rally. Dude. I felt like such a badass…. IT WAS AWESOME.
Let me say that neither the tattoo nor the ride were my first. I’ve had two, simple and small tattoos for 18 and 12 years, respectively. I’ve always loved the idea of body art but was too conservative to go crazy with it. And having ridden a bit before my son was born, I was again on the back of a bike two weeks ago for a charity ride.
But y'know, there was just something about the combination of the two activities in such a short time span that made me feel truly vibrant ... like I was really LIVING for a change, if that makes sense. I felt sexy, strong and liberated. What woman doesn’t want to feel like that once in a while, hmm?
The tattoo (pictured above) is a replica of an illustration I had seen in a book of Native American fables 20 years ago that I’ve wanted inked on my body for all the years since. The book got misplaced in an apartment-to-house move in the late ’90s, and I was only able to locate another copy about six months ago.
I took the illustration to Zanna at Ink & Dagger Tattoo Co. in April and asked her to modify it to work as a tattoo. Then I had to wait more than a month for an appointment, because she’s that good. It gave me time to gear up for the pain, for one thing, and to make sure I really wanted to go through with it.
I do. I did.
So on Friday at 4 p.m., I spent three hours getting skewered by a needle on a large section of my left torso. At one point, I would have sworn Zanna was digging a knife UNDER my rib cage, but I managed to stay immobile (though tensed up like a kettle drum) and relatively quiet the entire time. I even kept the swearing at a minimum, which for me was a massive accomplishment. (Unless I am in a professional setting, profanity is my punctuation.)
When Zanna was finally and mercifully finished, I literally felt like I was high. I’m sure it was the adrenaline, but man oh man, was it an amazing rush! And the result is equally amazing. The other two tattoos I have are cute little decorations, but this new one is truly artwork. And I am totally enamored of it.
That whole side of my body is still a little sore three days later, but I can’t stop looking at my stunning dancing Native American princess in the mirror. I love her, and I’m so excited we are stuck with each other forever.
So then on Sunday, I was invited (OK, I invited myself), to go with a friend on a motorcycle ride he was leading to benefit local veterans. He had broken me in again after a 20-year break two weekends before on a 259-mile ride for the Crusade for Children.
Since he had succeeded in getting me addicted to the pastime, I asked if I could ride along this time, too. (During the Crusade ride, I was referred to as “motorcycle jewelry,” so I was pretty dang sure he would say yes. Plus now that I have this kickass tattoo, I’m more legit. Or something. Right?)
Anyhoo, the weather Sunday was perfect, and the route was incredibly scenic. I was in 50-mph heaven all afternoon. There is just something about your perspective during that kind of travel that you can’t get any other way.
Farmland, forests, rolling hills, majestic homes, historic buildings, tiny town squares, bucolic country porches, dilapidated barns, tractors, trailers, broken-down buses, no fewer than 30 riding mowers, three roadside taxidermy shops and too many other sights to mention rounded out the ride. I can now cross riding the Devil’s Backbone and visiting Buddha, Ind., off my bucket list.
Of course, my friend being a motorcyle-riding man with a capital “M,” he was happy for me to show off my tattoo at different points during the day. (Yes, I am aware that the placement of it is sexy. HELLO? That was part of the point.)
I have no problem showing it off and hope to do so soon at the pool this summer, once it fully heals. But I also like that I can cover it with my shirt, and no one has to know it’s there but me. I bet the next few times I have client meetings, I’ll sit there smiling to myself about my “secret.” Heehee.
But I digress. Back to what got me started on this post… the perfect storm of getting a tattoo and riding in a motorcycle rally this weekend really punctuated the turning point I have reached in my life.
I am no longer just Ethan’s mom… I am a professional, reasonably attractive, successful woman who is finally in a position to enjoy life to the fullest. I want to try new things and really show the world who I am, without fear or apologies.
Here’s the best way I can think of to sum up where I’m at these days. It’s a quote from a favorite old movie, Auntie Mame:
“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.”
I am here to tell you that THIS biker chick (OK, biker chick lite) will NEVER go hungry again.
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After nine years, she's still just saying.