An Ugly Secret

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Two thousand, eight hundred posts on my Instagram and I have managed to keep “it” hidden… (for the most part!) It’s been a long 20 years trying to come up with clever ways to cover this embarrassing secret of mine and then… Social Media happened. Now, I have to watch out for cameras everywhere. This relic of my past has been haunting me from day one.

Here’s some sage advice, always think before you turn a temporary idea into a lifetime decision. Somehow I f*cked that up! From dressing for job interviews to my own wedding day, this has been a thorn in my side. On hot summer days, I’d sit on the sidelines of soccer fields in a turtleneck. Shopping for swimwear was never much fun for me to begin with, this just added to that shit-show! Honestly, I have nothing positive to say about “it”.

If you don’t know by now… I am talking about a tattoo.

Not just any tattoo either. I am talking the tattoo, one I would regret from the moment it was painfully etched into my flesh. It reeked of a rebellious teenager, smoking the devil’s lettuce, with a couple of bucks to burn.

There should be a set of guidelines before you get a tattoo, not just “You must be 18”, I mean REAL life standards. Example, a great rule would be “no tattoo’s if you are getting over a break up”. I was 19 years old and my heart hurt, a recipe for disaster.

SIDENOTE: You should know that I have 17 tattoos and I only regret 3 (maybe 3 ½ of them.) I am 14-3 in the tattoo department, 82% of them I LOVE, not a terrible statistic.

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I have found ways to work with it, since I had no other choice. I cover it with clothes, I strategically place my hand over it when I talk. I wear a scarf when weather permits. However, I hit a real low point about 2 years ago when I bought a pack of flesh-tone temporary “skin” tattoos on Amazon. It was no different than a tattoo from a crackerjack box, only it was a rectangle of flesh. Spoiler alert, I used it on my best friend’s wedding day and needless to say, somewhere between “I do” and the Black Eyed Peas getting it started in there, the damn thing began peeling off in flesh-toned plaques of skin.

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Regardless of how hard I try, on rare occasions, I have a tat-slip (the nip-slip of tattoos).

If you follow me on social media, you most definitely picked up on my signature move… Carefully posting pictures and videos from bizarre angles and cropping them just below my neck.

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Here is some of my recent work.

We will get to the tattoo, I promise, I just think we need to be honest with one another. The truth is, once I show you this tattoo it will be seared into your brain and I will forever be “The Girl with the __________ Tattoo”.

So just, bear with me a little bit longer.

Do you know, I refused to breastfeed my little baby girl out of sheer embarrassment from this tattoo. I often wonder what my already perfect child could have accomplished had she been fed my liquid gold. (sigh)

Flashback… I remember being a young kid, laying on the grass with my mom and looking up at the clouds. I’d point to the sky and say “Look, mommy, there’s a Giraffe” and she would make believe she saw it formed in the clouds above.

NOW… I am that cloud.

My tattoo, something that nobody can truly distinguish. A blob of sorts. As I get older, gravity makes it worse. It just lives there. Serves no purpose. I would see people whispering among one another when it would peek out through my clothes. Just today, I was caught off guard by one of my daughter’s friends who showed up at the house – she saw it and said: “are you hiding a JUUL in there?” This, my friends, is my life.

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At the pool a few weeks ago I heard a kid whisper to her mother, “I think it’s a MERMAID” while her mom smacked her hand for pointing. An annoying coworker once spread a filthy rumor that “it’s a BARCODE”.. A BARCODE? A few others guesses I have heard…

  • an anaconda
  • a map of the world
  • a flying spaghetti monster
  • ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics
  • stick people
  • graffiti

Disclaimer: I CANNOT BELIEVE I AM ABOUT TO DO THIS! Are you sure you REALLY want to see it? I am warning you, this is your last chance to turn back… You cannot UNSEE this kids…

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Come on, take a close look and tell me what you see… It could literally be anything (or nothing) #amiright

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Now one might ask, how did this even come to be? There really is a simple, logical explanation to all of this. My mother went to China. When she got home from her trip, she pulled out this beautiful “Chop” (a stamp) made of Jade. I was told it had my name, (Dee-Dee) in Chinese carved into the stone.

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I decided that I wanted to get that Chinese Name tattooed on my body somewhere. A simple little copy of the stamp, in black, about the size of a quarter. In my mind, it would be a delicate, cute tattoo that meant something to me.

Between me walking into that tattoo shop and me walking out something was lost in translation. The “tattooist” named Ink Killer (or Killer Ink?) talked me into letting him “create art” freehand on my body. He was excited and said he had a GREAT idea. Without as much as a request to see his lookbook, maybe a drawing of his “idea”, I just complied. I rested back on the weight bench and unbuttoned my shirt. I literally had no idea what he was going to do, I just went along with it. SO STUPID!

Killer had the tattoo gun in his hand, pressing the needle into my sternum. I could feel his long ZZ Top Beard tickling my stomach the entire time. It skeeved me. His arms were completely covered in what looked like really bad faded prison tats. I decided to just stare at the ceiling while he made magic.

Killer was complimenting himself the whole time. The buzzing of the “gun” went silent and he said to close my eyes. I guess I should have known then. As he began cleaning me off and getting me ready for the BIG REVEAL, I had nothing but excitement inside.

He pulled me up, eyes still shut and turned me towards the mirror and said: “wow, look at that”!!!

I was sick, immediately – SICK!

I sat there questioning, is this where my life starts spiraling downhill? I literally had no idea what I was looking at when he began to describe what he interpreted as “ART”.

He said – and I quote – “It’s the Chinese symbol you showed me. Then I added an ancient scroll of rice paper. I curled it up on the ends to give it that realistic 3-Dimensional.”

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Go ahead and look again…

How did I go from this:

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(I am talented all around)

To this???

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To add insult to injury, I paid double than I was quoted, you know, because it was “original art”. Nevertheless, I walked out with my head held high… until I got in my car and let out a screeching “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” and sobbed for an hour.

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After this tattoo I went years without getting another. I moved on with life and eventually found a man who loved me — despite my self-inflicted flaws.

For the most part, it was a part of me I tried to forget and then one day I was talking to a woman I met at yoga. She had the courage to approach me to ask me the question “What is that a tattoo of?” she laughed, confessing that she peeped it when I was in downward dog… So, I figure, what the hell. I pull the collar of my shirt down and show her:

Suzi proclaims, “OH! That’s Chinese! I am Chinese!”

I reply, “YES!” (Finally, someone could actually make it out!)

She stares for a few seconds, then she fills the silence, “Maybe I am reading it wrong” she whispers.

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Reading it wrong? Whatever could she mean? So I ask her, what does she THINK it says?

.

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Well, her tone changed from excited to confused, “I believe it reads the word DAY…” then adds “Like, MonDAY… TuesDAY…. Or DAY…..Day???”

WHATTTTTTTTTTTT – I cut her off, questioning for good measure “Are you sure it isn’t DEE, like Dee….DEE???”

This CANNOT be actual life, right?

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She went on, “well, the language doesn’t have an alphabet, hence NO “D” – so, there is No D-D for sure!” she giggles. It felt like she was laughing AT me, not with me.

She continued, “it’s DAY” she says in a very assuring tone as she grabbed her stuff and walked off.

Fan-fucking-tastic!

It would be another 8 years that I kept this additional secret hidden. Finally, a few years back I was out to dinner with some of my closest friends since childhood. Somehow it came up and I began my story. I knew for sure if anyone was going to sympathize, it was them. My friends since grammar school! Plus, this was a story of trust gone wrong, betrayal and defeat. There was no happy ending. I was a marked woman for life. For SURE they’d understand.

I whisper, “I found out it says DAY-DAY, not Dee-Dee, can you believe this!?!?”

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It was in that moment I realized that my story was only sad for one person… ME.

My friends, trying to keep a straight face as I am telling them how hard it has been to live with for all these years are now falling off chairs. Literally, bodies buckled over.

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Tears streaming down their faces, convulsing from hard inaudible laughter. Hysteria. Yelling “DAY-DAY” over and over… I still have nightmares of this moment.

I was not laughing then.

I am STILL not laughing now.

I will forever be known as DAY-DAY among my closest friends.

And now… probably all of you as well, Day-Day aka The Spice of Suburbia


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