One of my best friends recently got a new addition… no, not a baby – a tattoo.
For the sake of keeping the nosey cyber public at bay, I’ll refer to my close friend as Wilberta. After all, she lives in a big city and I’d hate to get an angry phone call that some freaky blog stalker asked her to pull her shirt up to stare at her new tattoo. Although, by then it probably wouldn’t be new, it’d actually be kind of old. But that doesn’t matter. No friend of mine will be forced to pull up their shirt because of my blog! I mean, I’ve got to draw the line somewhere.
To my surprise Wilberta didn’t initially tell me that she was getting a tattoo. It wasn’t until after she’d made her first appointment and undergone some of the initial major stages, that I received a little text message of my friend’s side with body art all over it. To my credit and her relief, I wasn’t shocked in a bad way. More than anything, I was just stunned that she hadn’t told me about it beforehand.
Oh well, I got over it. That’s what friends do.
So, what ensued were a million questions, followed by a billion more, and a back and forth conversation about symbolism and the meaning of the universe. Well, not that philosophical, but you know what I mean. When someone decides to slap some art on their body, it’s not a last minute type of decision… er, um… well, let me rephrase that. When one of my friends decides to get a tattoo, it’s not a spur of the moment kind of thing.
Anyways, come to find out, Wilberta had personally designed the tattoo, using some clips of some graphics/pictures/films for inspiration. I wasn’t staggered by this revelation because I’ve always known she was a good artist. In fact, I’d personally asked her to illustrate a children’s novel I wrote. As a side note, if you’re wondering, she threw the manuscript on the ground and stomped on it, telling me in a few choice words that her answer was an emphatic N-O!
No, not really. She was actually rather nice when she broke my heart by declining my offer. Sniff.
But back to the story!
I love Wilberta. She’s one of my go-to people when I’m bursting with great news or when I just need to vent and have a shoulder to dramatically blubber all over. She’s the sister I never had and the best friend I’d always wanted. We’ve done embarrassing, Ya-Ya Sisterhood type of activities that we’ve sworn each other to secrecy over. I have no qualms, that unless I gave her permission or she gave me permission, we’d be taking those humiliating stories to our graves. She’s just great. Really. I love her bunches of bunches.
But damn was I jealous!
I’m talking a little green bug crawled all up in my grill and bit the hell out of me. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy for her like any best friend would be. I genuinely liked her tattoo and it never crossed my mind not to support her in this newest endeavor. Never, not even for a moment, did I think of letting my disappointment in myself cross over to disappointment in her. If it makes any sense, I guess you could say I was rational in being envious (or at least, that’s what I’m trying to convince myself of).
Somehow I had convinced myself that creating this design was a walk in the park for Wilberta (okay, where’s the rational in that?). I imagined her sipping champagne as she sketched one van Gogh-esque piece after another. It was ridiculous really, I mean first off, I know she can’t afford to buy champagne for random enjoyment and it goes without saying that she’d never be the type of person who’d resort to cutting off her own ear in the name of art. I was being delusional.
I had to remind myself that painting, sculpting, and even just sketching doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process. I forced myself to remember the long hours I spent sitting outside her dorm room, bugging her to stop drawing an art project and go do something mundane with me instead. I swear she spent WEEKS drawing a picture of a hand. Just a hand. Every single time I’d visit her, she was sketching and re-sketching this same flippin’ hand! It was enough to drive an attention needy friend like me nuts.
But she continued drawing it all the time anyways, until it was just right.
And that’s what I had conveniently ignored. That art isn’t something that is easier in any specific outlet. Whether it’s scrap booking, painting, writing, or weaving – art is always going to be difficult. One may get instant gratification in doodling, just like I could write a single sentence down and see immediate results, but that doesn’t mean those results were any good. Perfecting a drawing is no different than perfecting a story. It takes time, skill, and most importantly – dedication.
It was easier for me to think Wilberta didn’t have to work as hard to complete something artistic than it was to face my own reality – that I needed to focus on my art as she had focused on hers. She had told me herself that she had spent many months making this decision and finalizing the design, and I whole heartedly believe her. And I’m so, so, so proud of her because now that the pea green bug has left my system, I can recognize the hard work she poured over this tattoo. This is her version of a novel and I’m so happy that it turned out exactly like she wanted it to.
Now I need to start working on my version of a tattoo.