Tattoo Origins: CRSN

Claire. Rachel. Sarah. Neil. What can I say? They’re my siblings. They feel more like limbs. From the day my memories stretch back they were always there. To imagine a life without them would be inconceivable. I would be a shell, empty. A shadow of my former self. They’ve made my life infinitely better and I’ll always be grateful. I’m so excited to experience the rest of my life with them. Maybe this sounds dramatic or weird to people who see their siblings as just familial responsibility. But that’s not who we are. We’re best friends. We’ve really cashed in on the ‘built-in best friend’ concept over the years. But why did I get the tattoo? I don’t know if I’ve ever really thought of it logically. Because they’re my favourite people in the world. I want them always to be near me even when we’re geographically apart. Because if you’re going to ink something on to your body forever it should probably be something pretty important. Why the initials? CRSN is how my mum would always sign joint presents. CRSN is just who we are. Us, the four. We’re almost one entity. We’re simultaneously the same and widely different. But that’s why it works with us. But why do you have your own name too and not just CRN? Simple, they said I could only have it if I put my name in too. It looked incomplete without. Of course I asked for their permission. It is their names I’ve inked onto myself for eternity, makes sense that they should get a say.

— — —

It was my first tattoo. I sat in a small store with my sister next to me, my disagreeing but ever-supportive dad sat in the car outside. Claire, she loves tattoos just as much as me. Except where I like scripture she prefers symbols. Something you should know about Claire is that she’s terrified of cats. Totally irrational but hey, who are we to judge other people’s fears? At least a cat is bigger than a fucking spider. Regardless, she came with me because she’d already had a few tattoos and she wanted to make sure I was okay. Well anyway, we sit down in the artist’s room, he’s very nice, he cleans my arm, puts the print on and checks I’m happy with it in the mirror. Mere seconds after he has began inking I notice something behind Claire. She’s facing me, talking animatedly about who knows what, when a ginger cat just casually strolls behind her. She knew it. She could read it in my face, I couldn’t hide it. She turned and tensed. She spoke to me through her facial expressions. ‘Don’t say anything’. She didn’t want to make a scene. I think she probably wanted to scream and run outside but didn’t want me to have a black wobbly line down my arm for the rest of my life. Turns out it’s the shop’s cat. He had more right to be there than us. She held her breath and luckily my tattoo is reasonably small. We got out of the shop unscathed. She was fine but it makes me smile to recall it. Means I’ll never forget the adventure of my first tattoo experience. When we got in the car I think she needed more comfort from my dad than I did. I just sat in the back with a grin on my face staring at the ink I’d been imagining for years. It didn’t give me much pain and the guy even knocked off a tenner. I think because I was a fresh-faced eighteen year old. I think he wanted to get me hooked on tattoos. Whether this was the plan or not, boy, did it work.

Inaudible Melodies – Jack Johnson


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