I finally got a tattoo. I don’t know why and I don’t know if I will regret it at some point, but I really wanted it. I cannot explain to myself (or to the ‘rents) why in the world I was scarring my body. Yet, I feel it’s that inexplicable desire, that innate gut instinct that convinced me undoubtedly that I wanted ink.
The spark that etched this desire was a best friend. After an incredulous five years of college shenanigans, we decided to get a life-defining song title inked onto our body, in some abstract, funky form. Corny? Yes. Let’s leave it at that. The other best friend studying graphics design in Florence was the perfect contender to conjure up a sketch. Several months later, after crucial insight from my sister, and a few variations, we decided on something not-so-final. What the sister said was golden – it’s bloody permanent so irrespective of what it means to you, it has to look good and have enough abstractness to keep it mystifying and beautiful. So, after sucking in all the great feedback, and juggling a number of body locations, I finally decided on something concrete. But that wasn’t the end of that – that tattoo artist added his own twist to the tale. I loved where he went with it and allowed him to take what the Florence best friend designed, and make it his own. He kept the best from the original design, and redrew it to flow well with where I wanted it on my skin. And alas, the creation was complete and incorporated everything I wanted – abstractness, intricacy, meaning and a touch of originality.
Part two of this story is the actual entering-of-the-needle-into-my-epidermis-thousands-of-times escapade. As it was my first piece, I didn’t know what level/type/sort of pain to expect, and that rattled my brain a little. A lot of the people I spoke to right before didn’t help with their elaborate explanations of how painful it could be. So, yes I psyched myself a little far too much beforehand. But, it was all downhill smoothness after the first prick. It’s really not that bad, and I am not just saying it out of desire to seem brave or out of some ridiculous pompousness. Yes, it’s not a pleasant feeling but you know what you’re getting yourself into and with that in mind, the stinging is bearable. The three hours went by quickly enough. It ended with a permanent adornment on my body (holy shit) and a stellar conversation with the tattoo artist. He talked about how being a tattoo artist is heavy because most of the tattoos people get, are connected to tragedies or losses. Yes, there is stupidity to contend with too, but only a handful of people ink celebrations of life. Embracing happiness seems harder than dwelling on pain. But that’s for a different conversation.
The general feedback post needlework was positive. I was sublimely pleased with it, my tattoo artist was fascinated at his skills and the friends only had good things to say. The mother did give me a grumpy look with a “too-big” stinger of a comment, but that’s mum being mum. What I like about it is that everyone sees something different in it. I’ve gotten interpretations ranging from a dragon, a snake to a musical note. It incorporates all that means everything to me and is inspired by the work of a best friend cum graphic designer. It also kind of erodes me from this sheltered approach to life I’ve been blessed with, which for some strange reason, I see as a good thing. Too much of anything is plain bad.
However, my true appreciation or hatred for it will only come with time. Fingers crossed, it’s the former.
P.S. Thank you College Friend, Florence Friend, the Sister and the Tattoo Artist for making this happen.