My New Tattoo Is a Dream Come True

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by Brianna Albers |

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travel problems | SMA News Today | banner image for column titled "The Wolf Finally Frees Itself," by Brianna Albers

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as checking an item off your bucket list.

Earlier this year, I put on my big girl pants and rescheduled a long-awaited tattoo appointment. It was a whole ordeal — one you’ll remember if you’ve been reading my column for a while. In late January, at the height of the omicron wave, I wrote about urgency, deferred dreams, and a mother’s wisdom. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I knew that rescheduling was the right thing to do.

At the time, April 16 was a ways off. But time passed, as it always does, and before I knew it, my calendar was reminding me of an upcoming appointment.

The appointment.

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The week leading up to the big day was a flurry of activity. By the time Saturday rolled around, I wasn’t just exhausted; I was dreading the appointment, from driving downtown to dressing up. But there was no way I was rescheduling a second time.

My first tattoo, while beautiful, had no sentimental value. I got it because I liked it. But my second tattoo — the tattoo I’d be getting in mid-April — had a story behind it.

A couple of years ago, I finished the first draft of my first novel, “Waning Crescent.” It was a milestone for me, as I’d been working on it on and off for a decade. I spent the next two years revising the manuscript and querying literary agents. My dream was to publish “Waning Crescent” as the first installment of a trilogy.

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I shelved “Waning Crescent” late last year. It was an extraordinarily difficult decision. I loved that book more than anything and was devastated by its lack of success. “Waning Crescent” had been part of me for so long. It felt wrong to abandon it with so little fanfare.

Switching projects was absolutely the right decision. I don’t regret it and am thrilled by the progress I’ve made in the time since. But “Waning Crescent” still means a lot to me. It always will. Which is why I wanted to celebrate the accomplishment in a way that recognized the story’s impact on my life.

So when I found — and subsequently fell in love with — the tattoo design, I knew it was meant to be. The waning crescent moon. The three stars that, in my mind, represented the novel’s protagonists. It was the perfect immortalization of my very first book.

tattoo | SMA News Today | A crescent moon tattoo surrounded by three stars.

My newest acquisition, featuring a starry sky of freckles. (Photo by Brianna Albers)

It turned out that I didn’t need to dread the appointment at all. It was a breeze — driving downtown, parking in the city, even getting inside the building. The artist was incredible and accommodated my disability with ease. My dad watched a nature documentary while I focused on the buzz of getting inked.

In the end, the appointment I’d waited so long for passed without incident. But the significance of the tattoo — my celebration of everything I’d accomplished — remained.

“Waning Crescent” wasn’t just my first book. It was my first attempt to write myself into the narrative. It was my wholehearted declaration that, no matter what, I deserved to see myself in the stories I loved. It was radical. It still is.

I’ve moved on to other projects, but I will always carry “Waning Crescent” with me, in my heart and on my body.

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Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.

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