5.10.2011

a tattoo story - a feature with kate of blatheration

today i have a lovely tattoo story to share from the beautiful kate of blatheration. 

thank you so much for taking the time to share this amazing story kate!

When I was little, probably about four or five, my younger sister
Ansley, who must have been about three, used to play a game entitled
"Public and Baggy". Ansley concocted the entire thing and was
thoroughly in charge of how the whole thing was to be played. Ansley
was Public (the pink bubble) and I was Baggy (the bag) and when she
decided that it was time to play she would charge into whatever room I
was and drag me away from whatever it was I was doing announcing -

"C'mon Baggy! We've got a job to do!"

And with that proclamation she would proceed to drag me around the
house with all of her might. Naturally, I would protest and drag my
feet, but this only inspired her to repeat her announcement with more
vigor and volume. She would yell about the job we had to do, and I
would yell that I had no idea what she was talking about and didn't
want to play. There much yelling and giggling and tugging on clothes
and kicking each other.

That was the whole game. And we thought it was hilarious.

When we were a little bit older, I asked Ansley about the origins of
this game and she explained that the line "C'mon Baggy, we've got a
job to do" actually came from the classic Disney movie "The Jungle
Book". She heard Baloo the bear say it to Bagheera the panther and
somehow it got stuck in her little pre-school sized brain. (That
obviously explained why I was Baggy the Bag, but the logic behind
Public the Pink Bubble may forever elude us.)

Many years later, when I was in 7th grade and Ansley was in 4th we
were watching the opening ceremonies of the summer Olympics when she
discovered a huge lump on the side of her right food. She showed my
mom and less than a week later she was diagnosed with a rare form of
cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma. This began a seven year battle of
chemo, radiation, remission, relapses, and operation after operation.
We remained unwaveringly optimistic, but as time went on she developed
more tumors in her abdomen that became more and more resistant to
treatment. In August of 2007 we were told that she wouldn't live to
see another summer.

I had never in my life wanted a tattoo, but as her approaching death
began to weigh heavy on mind, I realized that I wanted to get
something to commemorate her spirit, and I wanted to get it in time
for her to see it. I thought about it for all of two seconds before I
knew exactly what I wanted to get. I made an appointment the very next
day to get the words "C'mon Baggy we've got a job to do" inscribed on
the instep of my right foot, in the shape of the scar she had where
her very first tumor was removed. The tattoo was completed in December
of 2007. Ansley passed away in March, three months later.

While the reason for the tattoo is heartbreaking, the meaning behind
it fills me with happiness and glee every time I look at it. Ansley
wasn't able to live, but I am. Ansley wasn't able to share her talents
with the world, but I am. Ansley didn't live long enough to express
all the love she had to give, or achieve life-long passions, or fall
in love, or have babies, or write the Great American Novel. But I am.
I'm inspired everyday to live with enough energy and creativity and
enthusiasm to count for both of us. I'm not just living for me, but
for all the beautiful potential of what could have been.

C'mon Baggy. We've got a job to do.

13 comments :

  1. Wow, I teared up at this story! What a lovely meaning for a tattoo and so adorable to boot!

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  2. oh man, this made me cry. What a great memory of your sister, and a wonderful way to remember her!

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  3. What an amazing story, thanks for sharing!

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  4. Oh god, that made me cry! You even have a pink bubble too! That is THE best tattoo I've seen because of the meaning. And an amazing way to honor your sister. Good for you, girl!

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  5. This was such a beautiful story- thank you so much for sharing!

    H.

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  6. WOw, I'm sobbing here! I love this story, what a great tatoo to think of your sister everyday!

    Megan

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  7. Oh my Lord, I started crying reading this. Linds, thank you so much for offering such features as these. Kate, my thoughts are with you and my prayers are for you tonight :) xoxo

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  8. Wow, awesome. Public, if they have blogger 'upstairs', you are one cool chica.

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  9. Love that story! Kate, I admire your positive outlook & motivation to live life to the fullest. So inspirational!

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  10. what a beautiful and amazing story!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

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