As you all know, I’ve had a tattoo on my inner left bicep for awhile now. I got that first one back in 2012 and had a nerve-producing but fantastic experience getting my first tattoo with my momma. Ever since the pain from that first one passed, I knew I would eventually get more. So, after three years, I finally decided it was time again. But, before I get into the story of this second tattoo, I want to share some backstory about the first one.
My first one, which reads “Yesterday is experience, Tomorrow is hope,” is part of a longer quote that was sent to me by Meem (Cade’s momma), so thinking of her is an added bonus with this one. The quote came to me at a time in my life where I was really struggling to overcome all of my mistakes in life, every bad thing that had happened, and forgive myself for all those I had hurt. I was trying to make sense of it all, and this quote perfectly explained my situation. I thought of all those mistakes as something that was difficult to live through but experiences that I didn’t want to lose because of the growth that I gained. So, I viewed all of my past as being experience that I could grow from and placed hope that I would make better choices tomorrow. But, what about that purple peace sign? That component also holds tons of meaning. The purple color stands for domestic violence awareness, an experience that has affected my past, and the peace sign was in the hope of finding peace with the lasting effects.
Like I mentioned, I also was able to get this first one with my momma. She told me that she had always wanted to get one but had never taken the plunge. So, when I decided I was going to get one, I convinced her that it was time to knock a tattoo off her bucket list. While I think it was a bit more painful than both of us had expected, we both came out wanting more and got to bond over having the experience together.
That brings us to the second tattoo. After three years, I decided that it was finally time to get another. I had picked out a design and let it sit and process for a year to make sure that it was definitely what I wanted. And with being in Boston, I could seek out a new artist in a new city.
Side note: One of my tattoo goals is to get one tattoo in each place that Cade and I live, or maybe visit. The thought behind this is to create a deeper story and journey to my tattoos. We’ll see if I can keep to that..might depend on how many times we move..
After finding an artist not far from our apartment, I went in for the consultation and have to admit thought about backing out..or passing out when he told me it would likely take about 6 hours to complete. I thought I had gotten in too deep and wasn’t ready for something that large on my second tattoo. But, after scheduling my appointment, getting some motivational words from friends, and doing lots of positive self-talk and deep breaths, I decided to just go for it.
And, now on the other side, I can say that I’m so glad I did! It did, in fact, take us at least 6 hours of active tattooing, split between two sessions to finish, but the pain wasn’t nearly as bad as I remember it being. This could be the placement or, my preferred reasoning, I’ve built up my pain tolerance. For the first session, I was accompanied by my dear chickadee, Alyssa, who patiently sat by my side, held my hand, and talked to me all day. The end result was a gorgeous outline of what was to come.
After the long first day, I scheduled a second appointment and we headed home to rest. In a couple weeks, the second session came around, and while Alyssa had planned to come with, circumstances left me going solo this time. This actually allowed me to spend the afternoon talking to the artist, which was a fantastic experience leaving me feeling bonded to him and the artwork he was putting on my body. After another few hours of being under the gun, I left with the amazing end result.
Shout out to Gonzalo at Pino Bros Ink in Cambridge, Massachusetts for both this gorgeous piece of work and the amazing experience. This is after a month of healing.
Now, for the meaning behind this one..it’s funny, while I allowed myself a year to make sure this was what I wanted, I thought far less about the meaning and focused more on just wanting something beautiful. I think there’s less pressure to have a super deep, layered meaning to a tattoo after the first one. This one started with knowing that I wanted to add to my first arm tattoo and possibly create a half sleeve. After thinking for a bit, I decided that I wanted to create something that symbolized how growth and beauty can come out of struggle. This led to the design of flowers. It’s interesting, too, how life tends to steer you in certain directions..right around the time I started the process of getting this tattoo, I began to work through some of the past that I still hold on to and think more about how it’s positively shaped who I’ve become. So, as many tatted people will tell you, this tattoo had some healing properties to it. This was a continuation of the journey that I began with the first one in letting go of the past and working towards growing into something beautiful. It’s also incredibly empowering to be able to be on the other side of a 6 hour tattoo. The thought of having to endure pain for that long seemed impossible, so accomplishing it gave me strength in knowing that I could overcome the challenge.
An exciting side note, in between the two sessions, I randomly was looking up state flowers and found out that the peony is Indiana’s state flower. So, this retroactively become somewhat of an ode to my home.
In the world of body modification, I certainly am not done, but as I’ve told myself I’ll give myself a good break and wait for the next stop in life to create another meaningful tattoo. I already have some ideas brewing…