Thursday, June 9, 2011

Trashy Tattoos and Beautiful Sisters

I've posted lots about tattoos (here and here and here) and lots about those closest to me (here and here and here and here), but the two go hand in hand when I talk about my little sister. We fought all through our childhood, but when I returned from 2 years living in Australia in 2005 we had both sorted ourselves enough to get on, and even become really close friends. When she broke up with her first serious boyfriend, I turned up at their house, helped her pack her stuff, and shifted her into my spare room. The rest is history, and 4 years after that, we got matching tattoos to commemorate our efforts.

The tattoos we have are replicas of the Tui beer logo. Trashy? Depends how you look at it. The tattoos include no text, just the image of a Tui bird, mine on the inside of my arm and hers on her hip. Our flatmate at the time got one as well, although we have since lost touch with him. Ours remain as tributes to our bond, which began in earnest the day she moved in.

The Tui tattoos do represent the beer brand, but not in the way you may think. They represent the 4 years we spent in that house - me the entire time, my sister on and off, but always somewhere nearby. Those 4 years saw me go from 20 to 24 and my sister from 17 to 21 - particularly important years as far as years go.

Throughout them, we fell in love with boys, mended broken hearts, met new friends, learnt to cook, mastered the art of partying, learned to pour shots, both started Uni, both gave up (temporarily) on Uni, dealt with grief and loss, revelled in music and joy, appreciated guitar, joined in on sing a longs, cleaned up after Scrumpy Sundays, scared ourselves watching the Crime and Investigation channel, passed out after gigs, both worked at the place I am about to leave, gained addictions to The Hills, braved the cold to drink on the porch, braved the sun to BBQ on the deck, panicked at the sight of blood, ate from the vege garden, laughed and loved and cried and laughed again.

Throughout all of these years, there was one constant factor - there was always Tui in the fridge. I completely understand why our tattoos may be seen as trashy, regrettable or lacking class. You are welcome to your own opinion. My tattoo is not a tribute to beer however, it's a tribute to the relationship I have with my sister. Beyond the years our parents had control, we continued to raise each other. We are complete opposites - I didn't know what a GHD was until the first time she straightened my hair, and she didn't know real music until I took her to her first metal gig. Despite our differences, we have very similar senses of humour and a private language only 22 years of life in each others pockets can create. Soul Buddy and Squish are the best friends I could ask for, best friends that have become family. But my sister is family that doubles as a best friend, and you don't get that handed to you on a plate.

Are you close to your family, or do you find them in your friends?