When I was younger, having a tattoo was the least on my mind. I would automatically associate them with being a bad boy such as the leather jacket wearing Harley bikers and prisoners, or punk rock bands and drug addicts. I swear I was so biased. I lumped them all into one category. It was like a mark of death for me. I cannot be associated with anybody who has a tattoo at least that I can remember. And to think I wasn’t even Miss Goody Two Shoes!
But back then, tattoos were black and mostly of skulls, crosses and other ghastly dark images. And the ones that I saw were never nicely done, no artistic personal touch to it and it seemed like they were all rush jobs, just to make that person appear tough or quickly scribbling in a name or a word or two. Of course, you have to understand that my exposure to tattooed persons was limited at that time.
Fast forward ten years later and here I am. Time has changed. I have changed. I no longer am the tattoo discriminating person I once was.
Travel has changed me.
I have learned to accept the person for who they truly are, faults, tattoos and all. It may be hard and we all have our moments of weakness but personal growth is a wonderful thing. Variety makes life more meaningful and interesting.
I saw my cousins with beautiful girlie tattoos on their ankles and lower back. I have friends who have arm and belly markings, co-workers with edgy arm sleeves and intricate back designs. Tattooing has gone almost main stream. If there is any indication that the original bad boy tattooed people are upset about this trend, I certainly have not noticed it. Yogis, artists, the service industry, even those in the medical field are sporting interesting and unique tattoos. All forms of self expression. The most intimate kind of art.
So about a year ago on my hubby’s birthday, we started talking about getting inked while at a bar in Tampa. We researched for designs and tattoo artists and then a couple of months later, forgot about it. Then came my birthday this year, I told my hubby I wanted one this time. It was ripe for me to have one, with all the personal upheavals I have gone through, I feel I deserve to have some sort of visual reminder of the beauty and pain of life at the same time.
We asked around for local artists, found one from a co-worker who had a small tat done and made an appointment. It didn’t turn out so great because I really didn’t like him from the get go. He was late, first off. Then I had a horrible and heavy feeling about him as he was talking to us in a rush, arrogantly at that, as it appears that there was also someone else waiting for him at the same time and he seemed like he was not open to ideas or suggestions. Meh! We high tailed it out the door and never came back!
Why would I want you to be putting something on my skin that would last forever when I just don’t feel you???
No birthday tattoo for me. I guess it wasn’t meant to happen that day. And I ain’t rushing it. It was then that I realized that getting a tattoo is a process, you have to be patient about everything. So we started from the beginning and asked around from our friends for names. We also tweaked around our designs some more. I did more research and Youtubed for videos.
Finally, I found an artist from another co-worker who has beautiful lily flowers on her side. And I’ve never seen one so daintily and brightly colored. Our hopes went up when he came highly recommended not just from my co-worker but from online reviews too. It wasn’t until two weeks later when we were able to make an appointment to see him. It didn’t matter that we have to drive close to an hour to get to his shop. What mattered was that he was a really cool guy, a talented artist and that we bonded instantly and that sealed the deal.
To me, there has to be some kind of special relationship between you and the artist because the act of tattooing itself is a very intimate process. He/she is sitting in close proximity to your body and although they may see it as a canvas for their art, I don’t think I would want any stranger I am not comfortable with to draw on me permanently.
Another two weeks, he showed us his drawings for us to approve and we got ourself our tattoo dates! I was nervous and excited at the same time. I worked the previous night so I told my hubby that I would probably fall asleep on the chair. We came with sweet provisions as advised by him and other articles I’ve read online to keep your sugar and energy levels up. We also brought pain relievers for afterwards. Nothing like being prepared.
I sat first. And I sat great, for two plus hours he worked on me. As he was doing his thing, I was on my belly trying to be in my zone, deep breathing and stretching my calves and feet every so often to distract myself. For some strange reason, the vibrations of the tattoo gun sounded hypnotizing to my ears and the buzzing sound pattern helped calm me down. It indeed felt like sunburn, first a slight one and then later turned into a really bad stinging sensation, I was looking forward to the wiping of green soap in between. I was relieved it was over but at the same time I couldn’t believe two hours had passed. It wasn’t so bad. I guess it was the anticipation of pain that made it appear painful. I was happy with my new tat!!!
Hubby had his done next, albeit with a more painful experience due to location and design. In less than six hours we drove back home, happy and hungry from all that tattoo euphoria. We didn’t tell anybody about our plans until after the fact. Of course, Facebook was the best way of reaching out to family and friends at the same time.
Out of all the comments, this one stood out the most to me –
such a [sic] beautiful & flawless skin and now gotten stained.
I didn’t really expect everyone to agree to or like what we did. Remember when I was younger? But to think this came from a relative, he should have just shut his mouth or sent me a private message. In the interests of “world peace” and insistent pleas from my hubby, I ignored the comment instead and took the higher ground.
Such a beautiful stain indeed!!!
(Tattoo artist: Craig Bishop of Intrusive Art Tattooing)