The buzz didn’t last long, though. I met up with a friend the next day, and rather than telling me how jealous they were, they immediately asked, ‘Why’d you get the worst album?’ I defended it, explaining how Danger Days was the MCR record for our generation, and how it had more positivity than The Black Parade. But then they focussed in on how the spider actually looked. The lines were too wobbly, the ink was too thick, the legs weren’t even.
They made me regret getting it done at a sub-par tattoo parlour, but not the tattoo itself. That feeling came later. People would jump away from my arm in faux fear thinking they were funny, or they simply asked, ‘Why?’ Everyone who saw it seemed to find a way to mock it, and I felt like an idiot, a stupid kid who’d rushed getting her first tattoo. I started to have this innate fear I’d become just like one of those old men with a faded, mushy Lynyrd Skynyrd tattoo that no-one could read.
I wore long sleeves, and if anyone did happen to see it, I’d shrug and say, ‘It’s just a spider.’ Worse still, I became so embarrassed that I stopped listening to My Chemical Romance altogether. I laughed along with my friends when they ridiculed me for liking the band once upon a time, and, when I was 20, I even tried to cover it up.
My Danger Days spider is not discreet. It takes up a big chunk of my arm and has thick black lines that no colour can cover, so all I could really do was make it more of a spider. I went to a new artist, who added highlights and a web to the creature. When they suggested covering the lightning bolt on the body, effectively erasing any hint of My Chem, something clicked in my brain: I refused and nearly snatched my arm away from the gun. Even in all of my faux-emo-hating pretentiousness, deep down I knew that I still wanted it to be the Danger Days spider. Not long after, I returned the creature to its natural habitat by adding some fellow insects and flowers to my arm. When anyone asked about my sleeve, I would shrug and say, ‘Just some cool bugs.’