Back in July of 2015, I had a brief argument with a London Taxi whilst trying to cross the road. I’d been having a stressful day (and stewing over it), and in my rush to get across town I’d not paid enough attention to crossing the street and ended up hip-checking a taxi.
In the immediate aftermath, I’d got onto my feet, looked over to the taxi driver and apologised, then tried to continue on with my journey, only being stopped by passers-by who insisted I had to sit down and wait for an ambulance. After a trip in an ambulance, and a few X-Rays, I got the news that I’d suffered a tibial plateau fracture and would require some surgery to fix it (metal plate, pins, the works). With that done, I headed to North Wales to recover.
The surgery had happened at a weirdly transitional point in my life. Only a few days earlier I’d performed improv on stage for the first time (see “Yes And” and “Memory Lane“), I’d changed jobs and was contemplating another move. The scar from the surgery seemed to be part of that too, and I had an idle thought to have a tattoo done on the scar as a permanent reminder to myself not to let work swallow my life up again.
Smash cut to 2019, and at something of a low ebb, I decided to compile a list of things I’d been thinking about and avoiding over the past year or two. One of those was the tattoo on the scar. One of my improv teachers (the amazing Katy Shutte had told me about the place she’d had hers done (The Family Business), and I got in touch with them.
Coming back from the US after a brief trip to New York, I went over to see them and ended up getting something scheduled that day. I’m actually glad it happened that way, since it meant I didn’t have an opportunity to spend ages thinking about it again and back out.
We sat down, Chris (the artist doing the deed) warned me that it was either going to hurt a lot, or not at all. He ran a razor over the length of it, and he seemed more optimistic after I told him I hadn’t felt him doing that at all. Twenty or so minutes later, I walked out with this:
There was something incredibly satisfying about seeing this done after such a long time. A reminder to me to embrace what I’ve learned about myself over the past four years, and to reanalyse and reassess old assumptions about what I do or don’t like, or what I can or can’t do.
There’s a few more things on the list, but for now I’m enjoying the fact that this happened.