On choosing our adornment

Susannah's tattoo | SusannahConway.com
In my teens I thought they were cool. I got a butterfly inked onto my shoulder blade and I still remember everything about that day.

In my 20s I decorated my skin with flowers, owning my skin with every line and flourish. I wore my ink with pride. My boyfriend wasn’t a fan, but that didn’t stop me.

In my 30s I fell in love with a man whose lifestyle was as far from tattoos as you could yet. I wished I didn’t have them. I wished to be someone else.

Here in my 40s I own and inhabit every cell in my body. I don’t want to be anybody else, only me, with all the choices and mistakes and epiphanies that brings. My tattoos are infused with meaning and magic, sacred spells written on my skin.

15 responses
  1. Alexis

    Enjoy those sacred spells. You will one day find someone to enjoy them with you.

  2. CJ

    I feel the same about mine, done when I was not-so-sweet sixteen. CJ xx

  3. Andrea Leda

    I love what you have to say about your 40’s..do you ever wish you’d been here sooner? Or does everything come in time just as it’s meant to? -Andrea

    your ink is lovely.

  4. Jo

    Yes : ) xxx

  5. susannah

    I think everything comes when it’s meant to. I don’t reget anything in my past, but being older is pretty sweet :) x

  6. Kristy Daum

    Lovely commentary both on choosing how to adore; but also on growing up and becoming more of who you are.

  7. Bev

    Your title drew me in and then I read your post. How empowering to be able to accept you as you are. Oh that we all could do that. Now at 62, I accept myself so much more than I did 20 years ago. Love your tatoo! Simply gorgeous!

  8. Lucy Chen

    I’ve always feel fascinated by snakes, from an early age. And I feel like to have one on my skin. But my family (parents and husband) is strongly opposed to getting tatoos of any kind. Sigh… Anyway, when I see a pattern I love, I’m getting it. You, Susannah, is an great role model, who shows that people with tatoos aren’t bad people (that’s the stereotype in my family’s mind).

  9. Lemon Freckles

    Lovely post, I adore how you speak about yourself in your 40s, just beautiful. x x

  10. sheila

    Breathtaking: the ink and the words.

    Wrestling with my own urge to mark my 44 year old body. Sitting with it and hoping the image arises.


  11. india

    i have ink. it’s a record of where i’ve been and who i was and am. i figure in years to come when they’ve nailed me to the porch swing in the Shady Glades Retirement Home for the bewiddled i shall either be looking at it and remembering good times…or desperately trying to scrub it off having forgotten how it got there :-)

  12. Candace

    “My tattoos are infused with meaning and magic, sacred spells written on my skin.” Agreed. 110%! I’ve always been certain that I didn’t want a tattoo ‘just to have one’. If I was going to have them (and I do), I wanted each and every one of them to mean something. Maybe because of that, I do regard them all as special, as ‘sacred spells’ as you put it :)

    And I trust that whomever I end up with will appreciate them as well. Honestly, I think I’d rather be a single 34 y.o. woman than deal with someone who wasn’t.

    Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  13. Gerri

    I feel my ink helps me express what I feel inside, adornment indeed. Being 42 now, I have a sense of freedom with the way I physically show up in the world. No apologies needed, no explanations given and to those who have a negative opinion? Um, keep it to yourself! xxO

  14. Cora

    Is that a new one Susannah? I’d love to know the meaning of it, if that’s not too personal a question :) I’ve often thought of getting inked; I’m waiting for something with deep meaning to take me into my 50s. Maybe I’ll do it for my 50th next April!

  15. Grace

    I got my first tattoo the day after my husband said to my suggestion, “Over my dead body are you getting one!”…
    …He’s still alive and now I have two! : )

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