Some of you might know I am a collector of Art; specifically I am a collector of body art or more commonly known as a Tattoo. I received my first tattoo when I was just 17, yes, I was underage but people weren’t quite as careful way back then. I don’t remember the shop but I still remember the why and the where. Tattooing was different those many years ago and Crazy Charlie, though he did a great job and I had that tat for many a year, I long since covered it up.
Over the years, I have covered a few of my originals; sometimes I cover them simply because I want something new and sometimes because the meaning is no longer meaningful. I have never, not once walked into a shop where I didn’t know what I wanted, never looked at Tattoo flash and pointed at something and said, ‘put that on my body’. Everything inked onto my skin has meaning, most is custom designed from art I take into the shop with me, but sometimes it is concept art I have worked with an artist to design for me. All of my art is specific and personal.
I get there are people out there in the world who take great exception to my decoration. Some who even feel the need to express their opinions to me regarding my personal choice to tattoo my body. I find their need pathetic frankly, this being especially true given their contribution to my life otherwise. Some of my favorites from the otherwise non-contributing members of my life:
- What will they look like when you are 80?
o Who cares? You will not be here and it is likely those who love me will continue to love me whether my skin is inked and sagging or not.
- You will go straight to hell (Leviticus 19:28).
o According to the standard you are using for my eventual afterlife residence, so will you; see you there save a room for me, preferably not next door you judgmental twit.
- No one will hire you with all those tattoos, you look like a cheap slut.
o Really? How would you quantify whether I am cheap or not? Someone has to pay for my rather costly artwork.
During the course of my marriage, my desire for new art was a point of contention. In fact the words, ‘If you get a new tattoo, I will leave your ass’, were often said. I wonder, why the hell did he ever marry someone with ink if he felt that way? During our first separation, I got new ink. Within a month of his most recent departure, I got new ink again; in fact, I have been adding the ink I have been thinking about for a decade.
Now to my favorite part of being part of the approximately 21% of all adults who are Tattooed in the US today:
Does it hurt?
Why of course not it feels like Unicorn Kisses!
Who does my work? James Yokum of Saints and Sinners, I love them all, but he has finished two of the three pieces I have added since December. We are in the process of adding my largest piece ever, four sessions, with two down and the third starting tonight. Does it hurt? My friend and favorite photographer Christ Hanna (he continues to be my hero and did a fabulous job under less than ideal circumstances) of Posture Studios agreed to something slightly different in terms of a photo session, here are the results:
The meaning of this piece, why she is important to me:
- Gerber Daisy = Innocence
- Peony = Healing, Compassion, also the Greek God of Healing (Paeon)
- Peacock Feathers = Compassion, Wisdom, Knowledge; also, in ancient times used for writing of importance.
- Sugar Skull = often used to celebrate lost loved one, in this case I have placed it where I have lost an entire part of my body feeling due to my injuries. I am celebrating I am still standing, living and whole despite it all. In effect, she is I.
Victorious, yes I am that though I might feel slighty overcome at this moment in time. This piece in particular reminds me I have overcome obstacles including being told I would never walk again, let alone dance in high-heels. I am learning though life can be hard I am Victorious it is simply a matter of slipping on my stilettoes sometimes and dancing.
The Wheel of Fortune (beautiful isn’t she) reminds me I cannot control everything, despite being a bit of control freak by nature. Outside influences may direct my life and I must learn to let go of both my expectations and my demands even while not becoming complacent.
The last one, it is a bit more complicated. Suffice to say it is another victory symbol that allows me too remember I remain in charge of my destiny. I rise above the ashes of failure and I am my own knight in shining armor.
Does it hurt? Yes, it hurts. It is no worse than many other things that hurt. Some people say you will never meet a person with two tattoos. Either the pain is too much and you stop at one, or you fall in love (grow addicted) to the sensation. Some of us who collect ink, we also know there is a correlation between this level of pain, chocolate and one other thing all of which sends the same hormone to our brains, which might account for the rising number of women who are inked.
Other pieces I have added over the years:
Ours don’t come as easily, you have to work for it. Do you know what I am talking about? Feel free to leave your guesses in the comments section.