Aaron’s word of inspiration today is tattoo.
I LOVE TATTOOS.
I love them on me, I love them on other people, I just love them!
As I’m sure you all know from reading my blog, I grew up in a fairly conservative Christian home. Like not overpoweringly so, but there were standards and rules that were just expected to be followed. I still had a lot of freedom to be myself but there were some expectations that I was not allowed to break.
One of those was tattoos.
My whole childhood, if I wanted a tattoo or a piercing other than my ears, I was given the response “not while living under my roof”. So like yeah ok. Shut down.
My cousin has piercings and tattoos though. So many of them. I remember one Christmas, we were having our family get-together and I heard some noise coming from her mouth. I was swimming and she was sitting by the edge of the pool and I was just staring at her. Yes, I know, it’s not polite to stare, but I couldn’t figure out what was making that noise! So she waves me over closer and sticks out her tongue – it was a tongue piercing! WOOOOOWWWWWW. I loved it. She already had a few small tattoos and her nose pierced and stuff so that just rocked my world and I wanted to be like that.
At 16 I got my nose pierced for the first time, and at 18, the summer between high school and university, I got my first tattoo. I have written about my tattoos many times so if you have read those posts, feel free to just skip today, but if not, sit back and relax and listen up.
I had to get permission from my parents first. Yes, I was 18 and legally could do whatever I wanted, but I was still under their roof ya see! But I had beat that rule with my nose piercing! So maybe I could beat it with my tattoo!! I asked my mom and she was like “pft it’s your body! But you have to ask your dad.” I HAD TO ASK MY DAD?!!? Peeps, I am a daddy’s little princess to this day! At 35!! At 18 I did not want to ask him for a tattoo haha. But I did it and he was basically the same “what? I don’t care!” so I decided to get one.
I wanted a maple leaf with hockey sticks crossed behind it. I LOVED hockey, and lived in a hockey town so it was like something that I just really really wanted. At 18, it was a bad choice. Anyway, so I also had just finished high school and was really into Buddhism and life mantras and stuff and mine was/is “respect, faith, compassion” My friend lived in a building with a tattoo artist and he just came to her apartment one day with his machine and gave her one. While hanging out with her one afternoon, she suggested that I just go to his parlor and see him and check things out. So we did. And that day I got my first tattoo! A Chinese symbol for “respect” on my leg. It was like $40 and I was all “ahhh I don’t have my design” and he had a book full of them and we found it, and I was all “aahhh my leg isn’t shaved” and he’s all “I have a razor” and I was all “ahhh I have to pick up my mom from work and he’s all “it will take 20 minutes, I can do it now or in 3 months” so now it was! So that is on my left leg. I am so happy that I didn’t get the leaf and hockey sticks!
My next one was my left wrist. I went to the guy who did my nose piercings for my wrist. It was a booked appointment and it is just the word “faith” in English and it’s pink. I spent a whole week staring at different-sized fonts on my fridge trying to pick the right one. I got it before class one day and went to university with my wrist all wrapped up which drew lots of weird looks from other students and one talking to from a concerned professor.
Next up! Two years later, my right shoulder. My friend’s dad was an artist and he had just got his tattooing license and was trying to build a client base. So he was offering single colour simple $20 tattoos for a little while just to get some exposure. So I messaged him on Facebook and decided to book an appointment. I trusted him and knew him and it was all good. I was getting “compassion” in Thai on my shoulder and he approved the design since it was very very simple. He didn’t have a professional space yet so it was legit done at his kitchen table. I went over and from the first moment it was a disaster. He seemed really nervous, and didn’t have the right transfer paper. He went out to get some so I hung out with his wife on their back patio reading magazines and drinking lemonade. He returned and made sure my parents were ok with this since we all went to the same church. The second transfer paper didn’t work so he drew the design on with a pen. WITH A BIC PEN PEOPLE! And yes…21 year old T did not leave. She was not the smartest. Anyway….so he gets started and we are talking and about half way through he tells me I’m his first professional client. Ummmm ok…..thanks….that information would have been nice to know before this whole process started. He finished and bandaged me up. Apparently my shoulder likes to bleed a lot, so that also threw him off a bit. He didn’t accept my money, and said it was free for life since I was his first professional client- any touch ups or add ons, just let him know. When it healed, it was not good. Like it was what I wanted but blotchy and not filled in properly. So I booked again to get it touched up. While there, I actually fainted. I didn’t eat before I went and my body went into shock. As it hurts more the second time, going over scar tissue will do that, ya know. So once he was satisfied that I wasn’t hurt or needing medical attention, he bandaged me up again and I left. I still don’t really like it and want my new girl to fix it, but that’s going to be a lot of time and money and probably pain and I’m not sure it’s really worth it at this point to go through with it.
At this point, I thought I was done. I had my 3 mantras, my dad had made the comment “when are you going to stop being a billboard” and I was like, yeah, I think I’m done.
ON TO TATTOO NUMBER 4!!!!
My right foot.
During university, I worked as a cashier at a grocery store. And I had an override card for the system because I was an assistant manager. The cards were boring but one of the teenagers drew pictures for them and we taped them on. My card always had the same butterfly/dragonfly thing. So during my last term in university, about two weeks before I turned 23, I decided I needed another tattoo. I booked with artist #2, who did my wrist and my nose piercings, and got this butterfly/dragonfly on my foot. The artist is this huge biker guy and is such a sweet man. We shared smarties and talked about whatever while he inked up my foot.
I shared the fact with my family only after it was done, and said it was my last tattoo.
Number 5 came about 7 years later. In September of 2017. It’s my hippo on my right wrist. I was living in Toronto at that point. I had just started dating and the guy I was dating and I were talking about how much I love hippos and how I wanted a hippo tattoo. He totally encouraged it and I had been looking at designs for a few years but since I was moving around so much, I never had the time or opportunity or trust in an artist to do it. Then we broke up and in that moment of ending my first real relationship of my life, I booked a tattoo appointment! HAHA I did have to get it cleared with my employer at the time and after they had a family meeting (I was a nanny), they said it was ok. I took some drawings with me and met with the artist. She took them and said to come back in a week and we’d get it done. I did! And I found my forever artist! She is amazing! My little cutesie water colour hippo sitting on a bed of flowers isn’t really her style but it fit me perfectly!!
I had 3 on my right side, 2 on my left, and I said I was done.
The summer of 2018, almost a year after the hippo, I had my wrist and foot touched up. It had been almost 10 years for them and they were faded.
I said I was done getting tattoos.
March of 2022 rolls around! There were just whispers of covid now, schools were going to be closed for just 2 weeks and then we’d be back in person. I was in my first year teaching and wanted to get a tattoo as a gift to myself at the end of the year. I decided to just book a consult with my girl. She said to come in on the Friday of March Break for a consult, then called back and said she was free for the whole afternoon. I had 2 weeks off anyway, plenty of healing time! I sent her some ideas of what I wanted, which was a Scottish Thistle wrapped around the side of my left breast. Now I’d have 3 on each side and I could be evened out and be done! I arrived and the shop was basically closed down now due to the early hysteria over Covid that we all had. The door was locked, so once I was let in, I had to put on a mask and sanitize and all the things that are so normal now. She showed me the design she had mocked up and then she got to work! We did it right then! Good thing too because that was Friday and on Tuesday their shop was closed for almost a full year due to the pandemic.
And now I am really really really done.
Like for reals. Until maybe I’m not haha!
I love my tattoos! I really do. Even the one that I don’t like, I still love because it’s part of me and who I have grown into being. But what I love the most is when people meet me, I am usually so sweet and innocent and a marshmallow cupcake that it shocks them that I even have tattoos to begin with! But I also put that sweet and innocent vibe out. Or I try. Work Husband says he knew right from the start that I had more depth to me than I show at work. He won’t tell me how he knows that considering I didn’t even have the courage to really talk to him until Christmas, but he says he “reads the whole book not just the cover”. Guess that’s why we are work besties haha!