Saturday I violated Leviticus 19:28...
So I got a tattoo...
This past weekend it finally hit me...I wanted a tree. Why a tree?
Being a Jehovah's Witness was a very isolating experience for me. Everybody outside our tiny group of faithful was "off-limits." No friendships, no relationships, no meaningful connection was allowed with "worldly" people. Now, having a non-JW friend wasn't something you'd get excommunicated for, but it was definitely a black mark on your reputation in the congregation.
I had very few real friends as a kid. At school, I had people I sat with during lunch. Every year, the cast rotated. Summer would come, we'd lose touch because I no longer had the excuse of being in a mandated educational institution to justify playing kickball with them, and we'd just drift apart. There were kids my age in the congregation, but almost all of them wanted to hunt and fish and play outside all the time, which was not appealing to me at all. So, yeah, loneliness and disconnection were the norm for me.
I remember the day I had decided/realized that I was not going to continue in the path set before me by my parents and peers at that time, and I felt--along with an overwhelming sense of relief that the world was not about to be destroyed by God's fiery meteors--connected to everyone else in the world for the first time. I was no longer barred from their lives. I no longer had to keep them at arms' length and make excuses to why I couldn't come over for their annual barbecue. For the first time in my life, standing in my one bedroom apartment at 26 years old, I felt like I belonged. I felt like I belonged to the rest of the world, along with everyone else. I was finally a branch on the great tree of humanity.
The tree was perfect. It symbolizes that major milestone of my life. So, I began to look at pictures of trees. I had a few picked out, and after some feedback from the artist, I chose the Tree of Gondor from Lord of the Rings. The large branches with decent separation ensured minimal blurring, and I am a fan of fantasy/sci-fi so it was perfect. The above picture is about 2 hours after completion.