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Where’d you get that tattoo?

Posted by Mick on June 27, 2010 – 10:38 pm

In as much as this blog has become a record… and make no mistake, it has become a record.  Whether or not that was my intent has become irrelevant; the blog has transmogrified into a series of snapshots of my life.  On some days, it’s a chronicle of my adventures.  On other days, it’s more of a transcript of my thoughts, which on any one day is nothing spectacular, but taken as a whole becomes a glimpse into my state of mind, at this unique time in my life.

What’s so unique about this time in my life?  It’s the culmination of everything that ever happened to me.  Everything I have learned, everything I have lived through, every decision I have made… they’ve all led to today.  And if I’ve learned anything from doing this blog, it’s that I like today.  I like who I am.  That’s a new sensation.  I’ve never really been happy with who I am.

Returning to our original story…

In as much as this blog has become a record, I should record the events of January 26, the day I got sleeved.  For some experiences, the telling is as fruitful as the doing.

If you missed the conversation about how I came to get the tattoo, you should read this blog entry.  All caught up?  Then let’s continue.

I arrived at the shop with a can of RockStar, my trusty Camelbak water bottle, and two full e-cigs.  I was a little nervous;  this is a big piece, and it’s a very intricate piece.  We were going to do the entire outline, including shading. in one session. That’s a profusion of punctures into my flesh, and although much of it was to be in the meaty parts of my arm, there would be some bone involved.

And now, let’s meet Jason.

Looking around a person’s work area can be informative, particularly in an area where creativity and personal expression are encouraged (I think a tattoo parlor fits that description easily).  Here are a few things I found in Jason’s work area.

Cthulhu, a sleestak, and a dessicated bat.  My type of cat, indeed.  Side Note:  There were actually two bats, but I only took one picture.  If you want to imagine the other bat in your head right now, you should know that it was smaller than this bat.  Go ahead and imagine, I’ll wait for you.

All done?  Was it everything you hoped it would be?  While you did that, I was playing around on my guitar.  I’m actually working on an intersting little number right now.  It’s an acoustic cover of Jackyl’s She Loves My Cock.  I’m doing a sort of folk-y thing with it.  It seemed like something someone should do, and since no one else seemed to be doing it… but that doesn’t matter right now.

Jason did his thing, resizing the art a few times until he was happy with how it lay on my arm.  Once he found the magic size, he applied the stencil.

The purple area you can see on my upper arm is the result of a slight change Jason made to the original art.  He had to pull Magnificent Bastard’s arm down a bit to help cover a previous tattoo.  If you look closely, you can see the feather there in the arm.  It’s kinda cool at this point, it almost looks as if my tattoo has a tattoo.

I’m a little sad to cover the feather up.  It was meaningful at the time I got it, but to be honest it was impulse ink.  One of my closest friends was getting his first ink, and wanted another friend and I to get ink with him.  I’d like to keep it for sentimental reasons; sadly, it must be sacrificed for the greater glory that is the missmonster sleeve.

The feather isn’t gone, it’s just tucked away.

3, maybe 3 and a half, hours later, the outline was done.  And I was hurting.  Melita’s drawing was very detailed, and Jason is being meticulous.

I expected the elbow and the shoulder to be fun, and they were.  I also discovered a few other special places.  Sensitive places.  I found the inner elbow to be particularly special.  The edge of my armpit came in a close second.

And we were done.  Oh no we weren’t.  There was still… shading!

The shading wasn’t that bad, but the cumulative effect of the entire ordeal was taking it’s toll.  Was it worth it?

I have to say yes.  This piece is epic.

As you look at it right now, bear in mind that I’m swollen, bleeding, and bruised.  In a few days, it will look much better.

Now I heal for two weeks, and then we start the coloring.  That may be one session, it may be two;  I’m not concerned.  It will take as long as it takes, we’re going for quality, not speed.

At this point, some of you may be asking yourself “Why in the world would you do that to yourself?

My first tattoo was done at one of the lower points of my life.  I was unhappy, miserable even, due to a series of bad decisions.  I got that tattoo, a bleeding heart made of twining rose vines, as a memorial of that time.  The process was a ritual, a rite of passage to mark the end of one chapter of my life and the beginning of a new one.

I saw it every morning, and every evening, for nearly a decade, and I remembered.  I remembered how unhappy I had been, and  I remembered to avoid those mistakes.  I made some new ones, of course;  it was a learning process, and I screwed up a few times.  But I grew.  I stopped worrying so much about who I thought I should be, or who I thought everyone else thought I should be.  I learned to be more comfortable being who I am.

And now, today, I’m happy.  I like who I am.  I’m still learning who that guy is, but I’m liking him more every day.  And thus, we start a new chapter.

That’s what this tattoo is.  It’s a memorial of this time, the struggles I took to get here, and the joy of arriving.

When I started thinking about this piece, and what I wanted, I decided that it was crucial that this be a piece of art, something exceptional.  It’s a big deal for me, I’ve never been happy with who I am, and now I am.  Or at least, I’m learning how to be.

Do you have any idea how easy it is, when you’ve made major shifts in your behavior, to fall back into old habits, old patterns, old ways of reacting to the world around you?  I do.  I’ve done it more times than I care to admit, even to myself (and I’m brutally honest with myself).  This is a reminder.  I’m not that guy anymore.

I can’t speak for everyone with tattoos, but I can speak for me.  I didn’t get this to upset you.  I didn’t get this to impress you.  It’s intensely personal.  I needed this.  I did it for me.

It just means I’m happy.

Be good to each other.


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