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Tattoo Stories: Whole Again, Sparrows & Mended Hearts

I wasn't going to post any of the tattoo stories project from our shoot on Saturday.  But I read over Tanya's email today and felt, I just had to share:




Lets just say, my life hasn't been what you'd call easy. I'm not complaining, I'm not looking for sympathy, I'm simply stating fact. I do everything backwards, and i ONLY learn lessons the hard way. Its really just who I am.

So, after a tumultuous childhood and a string of shitty relationships with boys that needed a mother and not a girlfriend, i found myself pregnant by a guy I'd been "casually dating" for 4 months. I had just gotten a new job at a prison, (yup, I said prison) and I thought that my only option was to make it work, so for the duration of my pregnancy, and the first year of my sons life, that's what I did. I tried, and tried, and tried... while he  stole from me, lied to me, bounced from job to job, and made it his daily goal to make me feel unattractive, worthless and sad.

And then, I broke. I couldn't pretend anymore, his lies made me a liar. I needed to do better, to BE better for my baby!! I decided that it was over.

The first time that I met my husband I was 7 months pregnant. I asked my Lt who the hot new Sgt was, and she told me to keep my crazy pregnant hormones in check. I worked for another month, and then went out on a 6 month maternity leave. I had so much drama in my life, that i just kind of forgot about that really cool tattooed Sgt with the buddy holly glasses.

The first time that I really "saw" my husband, was after I'd returned from maternity leave. I was dropping off paperwork to our headquarters when Brad came to retrieve a schedule. We exchanged some small talk and then I noticed that his eyes were two different colors. The sunlight hit his face in such a fashion that my breath stuck in my throat. i looked down to compose myself, and noticed the swallows tattooed on the backs of his hands. I grabbed one, and started very excitedly asking him about them. I told him that I'd always wanted swallows,  but never really knew how i wanted to incorporate them into a tattoo... then I realized that I was standing in the middle of the hallway, at my place of work, holding and literally stroking this guys hand that I didn't even know! I have this extreme talent of making awkward situations even more awkward, so of course that's what I did, and abruptly left the situation.

For whatever reason, he was cool with this. A few days later he called me in my office, offered me his phone number, and we made arrangements to go out that week. we kissed at the end of our first date. I fell in love at that very moment, in the third parking spot, at the TGI Fridays in Mount Laurel, NJ. We moved in together after our third date.

Bradley Smith is the inspiration behind my tattoo. Those red swallows swooped into my life so completely unexpectedly, and very literally took my broken heart and sewed it back together. I am more whole now then I have ever been, and I have my husband, our two children, a pair of swallows, and that awkward moment in the middle of a prison to thank for that.


2 comments:

Hillary- A Photographer Friend said...

What a great article and wonderful way to share the meaning behind these great tattoos on people. Really gives so much depth and understanding to those of us who do not have tattoos to see deeper into the 'why' of them. Great portrait of this young lady, as well.. love this project Mike!

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