Thanksgiving and My First Tattoo

I got my first and my favorite tattoo right after 9/11.

On September 12th I literally couldn’t sit up or get out of bed, lying there paralyzed by grief, anguish and anger. In the days that followed I joined my fellow New Yorkers as we shambled about like dazed sleepwalkers stunned by grief and disbelief. The next week I fly to San Francisco for work. I don’t know what was eerier – the empty plane or the unsmiling somnambulism of the usually chirpy stewardesses. At one point on the trip I burst into tears on the first floor of Nordstroms; some clerks launched into consoling me with a makeover and some free product samples.

I’d be thinking of getting a tattoo for many months, but couldn’t decide on what kind.  I’d narrowed it down to getting a word scripted on the small of my back. Located as it would be on the tramp stamp site, I had to be careful not to pick a sentiment that might be misconstrued by future beaux or that would be pathetically ironic as I aged. I’d been leaning toward something sort of inspiring, maybe a Sailor Jerry-ish “No guts, no glory”.  But in the post-September 11th landscape of heartbreak and rage I suddenly knew exactly to get.

In life, what message to myself would best empower me, inspire me, heal me? I plunked down my 80 bucks, lay face down, and had the pervasively pierced man permanently mark me with a single word: grateful.

There are so many things that bring women to their knees (violence, subjucation, rock stars), there is also much for which we should get down on our knees in gratitude. Despite the fact there’s a lot to gripe about (A LOT), it’s important we remember to focus on all the wonderful things and people that makes our lives immeasurably better.

The most important thing is...
The most important thing is…

No matter what, there is always, always, something for which to be thankful.

Some people make vision boards, others make entries in “Gratitude Journals” every day. Too lazy for all that, I still circle back to gratitude whenever I need to put things in perspective, to remind myself to live in awareness of how much in the world is just fucking GREAT.

This Thanksgiving, let’s remember all the wonders that can make our lives easier, better and beautiful-er.  Here’s a partial and fairly random list of some of things for which I am truly grateful:

 Black Spanx leggings

My dogs

My parrots

Meeting my husband

Marrying my husband

My husband putting up with me

Good friends

Good books

Rock and Roll

The sound of rain

Everything about Christmas

Swing dancing

My apartment

Finding my birthmother

Discovering my new wonderful new brother, sister, nieces, uncle and aunt

Big kindnesses

Small kindnesses


Emmylou Harris

Pre-code movies

Turner Classic Movies

BUST magazine


Cab Calloway’s St. James Infirmary

Pride & Prejudice

Animal rescuers


Flea markets

My pink octopus chandelier

Savings in the bank

My new ring

My other new ring

The Mulligatawny soup at Hale & Hearty

The fact that someone thought to make this

And this

And this

My job

My family

My health

Barbara Stanwyck

Will & Grace reruns

Law & Order reruns

The Veronica Mars movie coming out

Perry Mason

And corny as it might sound, being alive

I could go on (and on and on), but what I’d really like to do is ask – and share — what YOU are grateful for?

Dixie Laite - Dame Town Writer

Author: Dixie Laite

Hi, I'm Sarah "Dixie" Laite, and I live in New York City with 5 parrots, 1 dog (Dr. Waffles) and 1 husband (Jeff). I love classic movies, animals, and haunting flea markets, ebay and TheRealReal. All my life I've been obsessed with figuring out how to navigate life as a woman. There are endless books, TV shows, gurus, guys, movies and magazines out there to guide you. But now that I'm closing in on 60, I noticed that the old rules don't apply, and most of the role models aren't old enough. I'm older now, I know more and weigh more. I'm eager to be inspired and to inspire others in return. Let's get a handle on this shit and figure it out together.

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  • most of the above
    air and breathing
    second chances
    more animals
    the Universe
    the fact of being
    my pets past present and future
    my shoes
    having spent money on good clothes when I could afford it (that don’t go out of fashion)
    me not going out of fashion with myself
    aging gracefully
    my piano
    knowing when to stop

    • Thanks Daniela! Your list really expresses what a beautiful person you are, inside and out!

      I really appreciate you visiting and commenting on the blog. THANK YOU bella!