So I am far from being an authority on tattoos, this is merely an interpretation of my experiences.
Yesterday was my 6th time getting ink and needle on my flesh. Before the process began, I was just as nervous as I was the very first time. Its like the feeling you get before a fight, adrenaline, a rush!
Prior to first contact, Powder asks “Are you ready”, to which I responded: “Yup!”. At this point there is still doubt, fear, voices in my head echoing “you are doing a bad thing, bad Angel”. Then once that needle meets my skin for the first time this session, once that first line is drawn, there is only peace.
The nerves, the anxiety, the doubt, “voices” and all feelings of fear disappear. Those are replaced by acceptance, curiosity, intrigue and an overwhelming commitment to not moving a centimeter! Its an interesting dynamic, it hurts, there is no question about that, but you can’t move or pull away, lest you risk ruining your tattoo.
Pain is pain, and pain hurts. I asked Powder yesterday “Is there any area that doesn’t hurt much?”, her answer was “No, all of them hurt! Rule of thumb, more bone, more pain. So arms hurt less, maybe”.
It is your body’s natural instinct is to jerk away, pull back from pain. But when getting a tattoo you must embrace the pain, continuously, for hours at a time. You know its going to hurt, keep hurting, and probably hurt more, but there you are, you’ve started, you are commited, you can’t stop, and you can’t move! Suck it up! In the words of many a jokester: “Just lay there and take it.”. Literally, you lay there and get poked. Lol.
I believe once you accept the permanence of this act you are engaged in, your mind becomes powerful. Once you realize that you cannot fight or avoid this pain, and in fact you don’t want to stop, you want the tattoo, then you embrace the pain as a lover.
Once you have reached this mental point, the pain becomes like a background annoyance you have to deal with in this process. In fact its almost enjoyable, an old friend visiting again!
This latest tat was a design I wanted because I’m paranoid. After the military, I seldom ever go anywhere without my dog tags, I feel paranoid if I’m not wearing them, like I can’t be identified. Brainwashed a bit? Lol. Last time I went running, and forgot them, I decided its tattoo time.
I decided that I would tattoo my Air Force dog tags on my leg. It appears to lay under my skin and to be ripping out with tears, and blood, etc.
I included the last 4 of my social, my full name, blood type, branch and religion. Identical to my real military dog tags, except for not including my full social, I’m not that crazy. Hopefully whoever finds my body has the common sense to find the tattoo and identify me. Lol.
Choosing how to display them was difficult, because they belong on the chest, but I didn’t want to put a dog tag tattoo smack dab in the center of my chest. So we played with a few ideas and finally ended up with the flesh tear idea.
Now I feel more mentally comfortable with the tattoo there, it is sore and hurts, but it will heal. Today I’m not wearing actual dog tags, since I’m wearing my permanent dog tag. Lol.
Thanks Powder and Red at the Red Parlour. You guys rock!
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I have been to Red Parlour 2 times to get inked, and many other times to talk, or simply discuss ideas… So far both times getting inked have been great. I’m working on designing a new Mayori/Runic 1/4 sleeve for my arm with Red Parlour artist Powder.
Red (owner) is as cool a dude as can be, always informative and helpful with any questions or concerns. For instance “if I get fat/lose weight, will it ruin my tattoo”… He even offered life advice in discouraging me from breaking the windows of some furniture people that pissed me off… (Though I didn’t really plan on breaking them, I was venting.. LOL..)
Powder is patient and very helpful in designing my art work and working with my ideas.
I’m going for a vacation soon, and upon my return we will finish designing and start the work on my next piece… 🙂
I won’t go anywhere else for all and any of my inking needs……
Growing Up Bronx
Please note the date on a post as it may be an old viewpoint. I keep old posts to show my evolution. The opinions and views expressed here are solely those of the author.