So I Got a Tattoo...

Me with a tattoo? No, you must have the wrong girl. I am so indecisive that I could never choose a tattoo that would be permanently on me forever. I always felt like in a week I would change my mind or decide that it looked funny. Well on October 1 I was that girl. After classes that Monday I took my mom to a tattoo shop in Moorpark California. I sat in my moms truck outside of the tattoo parlor nervously tapping my fingernails against the dashboard. “You ready” my mom said. “nope” I huffed, letting one large breath of air out that had been sitting on my chest as I opened the car door and started heading inside. I was getting a tattoo to commemorate the Route 91 Las Vegas shooting that I had been a victim to exactly one year before.

My mother and I have been best friends from the day I could talk and found out my sarcastic tone was gifted to me from her. From the age of seven my mom had been bringing me to country concerts. I had always been use to the smell of beer that splashed on the ground from the people's cups that had been dancing to hard, the cowgirl boot flannel outfits I saw every girl wearing, to the loud bass blaring from the speakers. So a year ago when the sound of two gun shots went off it brought me back to memories of Jason Aldeans last summer concert when he used fireworks to light up the sky. However that night it was not fireworks that lit up the sky.

Growing up in california I am use to the crowds. The crowds that fill the Santa Monica pier, the crowds of cars on the 405 trying to race to their destination in bumper to bumper traffic to the lines that fill Costco on a Saturday. So on October 1, 2017 the crowds of 20,000 people dancing to Country music did not faze me. At least until people started falling to the ground and that crowd was now running for their lives. Running till my mouth tasted like iron, that crowd was now helping me over fences and taking my hand telling me to keep going.

I am the girl you pass on the freeway with the music blasting and dancing like i'm starring in the music video. My spotify lists go on for ages varying from a classic Michael Jackson to Kenny Chesney to Kanye West. I am the girl who appreciates a stop light every now and again because then I can truly divulge myself during Kesha's song Praying, letting both my hands lift from the steering wheel to form fists in the air. On my five hour drive back from Las Vegas after the shooting my car was silent. I had made the mistake of listening to the radio but only reports of what happened the night before was on. Just the sound of my boyfriends snores from the passenger's seat and my sniffles filled the car. My car was silent for months, I drove and instead of my erratic hand motions to the songs, I drove with silent tears down my cheeks.

I got a tattoo and for me personally it took a lot of strength to mark my body permanently. I know to some people getting a tattoo is just another thing you do after payday. I have always admired the creativity of a tattoo but never saw the importance until I needed to find a way to heal from what happened. I never thought I would get a tattoo, but I also never thought that I would experience a shooting. 

Now when I look at my tattoo It reminds me of the strength I had to attend my first concert since the shooting. The strength it took me to picture my future self taking my children to country concerts creating those memories like my mother had done with me. The strength it took me to enter back into the crowds that fill Southern California. The strength it took me to finally turn on the radio in my car again. This tattoo it is as permanent as the effects that night had on me.

I wanted to show my strength to move past what had happened. I wanted not to be a victim anymore but a survivor…. So I got a tattoo.