Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sequin mask dream and red tattoo idea

Several nights ago I had a rare good dream (non nightmare), or fragment of a dream. I don’t remember a whole story line but the dream was like mini scenes of an entertainer who wore a very interesting mask in public (out to dinner, meeting with the public and the press), a Mardi Gras type thing that had one side decorated with sequins and the other bare. (Yes, there was a definite Mardi Gras element, I think he was wearing a yellow silk suit in one scene.)

As a spectator in the dream I realized that the man had a facial birthmark like mine, on one side of his face, and rather than cover it with makeup as you would expect for someone in show business, he either showed his bare face, with the birthmark, or he wore a mask that had a birthmark shape made with pink sequins. Whether or not he wore the mask didn't have to do with how many people were around him, it seemed to correlate only with his mood.

I remember experiencing happy feelings in the dream – not only was the man not hiding how he looked (how we look) but he was actually emphasizing it. I had never had the idea of doing that, but wow, how empowering it was to see someone else do it.

I have a draft version of a blog post about living with my birthmark that I can’t seem to work on when I’m not drinking (drinking a lot) and so have put on the back burner. It was a nice nudge to have the mask dream, which prompted me to do at least a baby steps version of blogging about my birthmark today.

Think of living with a facial birthmark as being between two extremes. One extreme would be the Houston cosmetics sales lady who told me in 1977 (the year after my mother died, real nice timing), “Oh honey, you should always wear this makeup.” It was nasty thick odd-colored makeup and I felt she was condemning me to a life of nastiness - nastiness if I wore it, shame if I didn't. The other extreme would be friends telling me that they never notice my birthmark anymore. I live between these two extremes, and it’s not the easiest country of residence.

Another subject – tattoos… I toyed with getting a tattoo for my 40th birthday but couldn’t mute the in-my-head voice of my former gastroenterologist, who had a big sign in his office saying that tattoos give you hepatitis. (He warned against pedicures too.) The most memorable article I found through Googling said that researchers saw a link between drinking, tattoos and hepatitis, which they theorized might indicate that it is unsafe for people who drink a lot to get a tattoo. Or, the article was fair enough to say, the only connection might be that people who drink a lot get tattoos at parlors that might not use clean needles. I took from the article the idea that drinking and getting a tattoo would be like taking birth control pills and smoking, a heavy combo of risk factors. I didn’t want a tattoo enough to push through my fears.

But…maybe I do want a tattoo for 50. My 3 sets of ear piercings have not quieted my rebel urge. I would go to a clean and well recommended place – I already have several referrals.


Craig never believes that I could handle the pain. Yes, I have a low threshold of pain, but I can manage through it when the result is very important to me. Best example – the two arduous rounds of laser treatments I had for my birthmark, one in the 1980s and one in the 1990s. (The 1990s doctor corrected what the 1980s doctor had done - typical modern medicine.) Pre-laser anesthesia shots in your eyebrow hurt. Laser beams on your cheek and nose hurt. HURT.

Both laser doctors praised my endurance. I guess to me it was a form of how women routinely withstand discomfort for something like a bikini wax. Now, this sentence will sound extreme, but here goes (I don’t feel this way every minute of my life, but the thought/feeling has crossed my mind): If you think you are physically repulsive, you will withstand a lot of pain and hassle to change your looks.

OK, let’s please pull this writing back to tattoos, I didn’t mean to trick myself into doing the birthmark blog, my glass of wine doesn’t have enough in it.

I wouldn’t get a tattoo until October (which marks the date of 50 Years of Sarah!), so I have lots of time to turn over the idea in my mind. I am currently thinking…I'll get it on my forearm. That’s the only reliably skinny place on my body, where the tattoo will keep its shape and where I won’t be embarrassed to show it. I’m trying to avoid mental associations with the Nazis tattooing ID numbers on Jews in camps…that is a horrible image and I would like to get past it. I could get the tattoo on my upper arm so it would be easier to hide, I wear long sleeves most of the time. Or I could get it on the inside of my forearm…the spot the Nazis used…(Stop it!)

I can’t decide on just one image so I might get two, one on each arm. Debating between an Eye of Horus, a yin & yang symbol, a princess crown (Sarah means princess! in indelible ink!), a sun, a star, a moon.

I didn’t think I wanted a colored tattoo, I thought black would be simpler, show up more clearly and age better. But today I had the thought, what if I got a pinkish red tattoo, or at least red & black?

I have red on my face from the birthmark…that tattoo would give me red on my arms. Would that make me feel better matched, more integrated somehow? Maybe I have always felt off balance. It could be that a red tattoo would give me the satisfaction I feel when I buy a painting that looks great near a painting I already had. Patterns – I always see patterns. Even when I don’t see them, I think sometimes I feel them unconsciously.

I would not have had this tattoo color idea if not for the sequin mask dream.

I would like to know that man in the dream. Hey…maybe the dream is about knowing myself. Correction: wanting to know myself.

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