So yesterday, I told you all about why I got my second tattoo. Today, I’m going to tell you all about the experience in the best way I know how…with bad illustrations.
As the clock ticked toward Sunday, I started to get REALLY nervous–for three reasons.
Number one–the only other tattoo I have took less than 10 minutes to complete. So I was worried how my pain threshold would handle being in the chair for closer to an hour. (Read: I was terrified I was going to cry all over the big, burly man who was scheduled to brand my skin with a very sharp, pointy needle.)
Number two: I had never gotten a color tattoo, and though most everyone I know who has a color tattoo had told me that color and shading doesn’t hurt as bad as solid black, I was still scared it might hurt me a lot. (Read: Still terrified about the crying thing mentioned above.)
Number three: I’d decided to get the tattoo a few weeks ago, and had spent a ton of time trying to find the perfect design. I’d found one that I liked, but I never really fell in love with it. And because of that, as the appointment loomed, I actually found myself having second thoughts about getting the tattoo at all.
Deciding to play the “I’m a woman so I can change my mind whenever I want” card, I turned again to the internet in hopes of finding the perfect design. After about an hour, I found a tattoo that I loved. And when I found it, my nerves settled.
So, Sunday morning, I jump out of bed, totally psyched about my new ink. Brian and I head to House of Ink, and as soon as we walk in the front door, my nerves start to pick up again. I had never actually gotten the opportunity to talk to Steve (The Artist) after I’d changed my mind, and instead had relied on the internet and email to convey my desire to switch things up a bit. After a short 10 minute wait, Steve emerged from the depths of the studio with a tiny little sheet of paper—and on it was his concept of the design I’d sent. And it was just exactly right. Perfect size, perfect detail, perfect everything. Nerves settled again.
We head back to Steve’s room, and he instantly puts me at ease. He was funny, easy to talk to, and the art work that papered the walls of his office were ah-maz-ing. I knew I was in good hands with this guy.
As Steve set up, I climbed up onto the chair, laid back, and prepared myself for the pain that comes with body art. And I’m not gonna lie. It hurt like hell. Even though the design I’d chosen was outlined in burgundy instead of black, and even though Steve had assured me that if I could survive a wrist tattoo, I could survive anything, I was literally gritting my teeth.
However, other than a few pleading glances at my husband, who was sitting across from me, the casual observer would have just seen a brave woman, relaxed, eyes closed, getting tatted up. (That’s right, I use the cool lingo.)
In my head, however, I kept thinking about the burning fires of Mordor.
Conversation bloomed around me. I know I participated somewhat, when the needles weren’t doing their work. But when Steve put needle to skin, I retreated back into my brain, thinking of Frodo and the gang, and wondering when the pain would stop.
Truthfully, as the outlining stopped and the shading began, the pain began to lessen. And then, after about 45 minutes, it stopped all together. I waited, eyes closed, for the needle to touch my skin again. And when it didn’t, I peeked over at Steve, who sat back, arms crossed, a big grin on his face.
“Well, what do you think?” he asked.
I craned my neck to look down at my shoulder, and could barely make out the bottom of the ribbon. Even with my fuzzy vision without my glasses, I could tell that it was beautiful. And I said so.
“Wanna see it in the mirror?” he asked.
And I did. Brian handed me my glasses and I walked over to the full length mirror on the opposite wall. I couldn’t contain my glee. It was EVERYTHING I’d hoped for, and more. The placement was perfect, the color was outstanding, and the scroll detail was even prettier than on the original concept I’d sent in.
In short, I was really, really, really, over-the-moon excited.
Two days later, it’s still a little tender. It’s a little dry, and itchy, and I’ve been putting Aquaphor on it every couple of hours or so, just to keep the dryness to a minimum. And as easily as I bruise, it will probably be the end of the week before I stop wincing when I put on a shirt in the morning.
But every time I look at it, I’m filled with that same sense of glee that I felt when I first saw it in the mirror, Brian and Steve looking on.
And I’m already coming up with ideas for tattoo #3.
Thanks, Steve. I’ll be back to see you soon.