Posted on | July 30, 2012 | 4 Comments
It’s no secret I love tattoos. I think the only secret is the extent of my love affair with ink. Should I ever be brave enough, I would continue my search for perfect tattoos to adorn my skin for years and years to come. As of today, the count is now five, and I’m not ready to throw in the towel on the neon lights of a tattoo parlor.
I have a celtic shamrock on my lower back I got at eighteen. Though it is nothing I would choose today (and I don’t particularly love the “tramp stamp” aspect), it was very important to me at that stage in my life. I was going through many changes including the ending of my first relationship and the months leading up to my freshman year of college. I was terrified and excited and learning that independence was more important than being with someone who didn’t treat me well and that my girlfriends were forever. And I had recently set eyes on a picture of the man who was to be my future husband, and I knew there were big, beautiful thing to come in life…I just didn’t realize how beautiful they were. So I got brave, spent hours picking out the perfect design, and chose green ink. I sat in the chair surrounded by two of my best girlfriends and sweated through the process. It was exciting and terrifying and awesome. And I was addicted.
My next tattoo was my wedding date in Roman Numerals on my honeymoon. Tay and I picked out, quite possibly, the sketchiest tattoo shop in all of Orlando and walked in hand-in-hand for our first couple’s ink. A guy named Jesus drank a PBR and told us about his life as we place a permanent fixture on our ribs to remind us of our lives together forever. We joked that we were really stuck together now that we had ink on bodies to prove it. Some people asked us what we would do if our marriage ever ended…I’m fairly certain we never spoke to those people again.
After the death of my aunt, my mom, sister, and I got small crosses on the backs of our necks. The crosses are rarely seen unless we have our hair pulled up high, but they always remind us of a woman we love deeply and miss every day.
When Taylor came home for R&R during his first deployment, we hit Savannah Ink downtown to get quotes of our favorite song. We took Sully with us. I got “Love, love, love, what more is there?” and Taylor got, “Just love will open our eyes. Just love will put the hope back in our minds.” Dave Matthews Band’s “Pig” will always be a special song to us. I think of him every time I glance at my arm.
(Tay crashed out from a glass of wine while on R&R. You can see his wedding date tattoo on his side, and the song tattoo on his arm. And also, his hot ass.)
It was only fitting that I finally get a tattoo for our boys. After thinking long and hard, I settled on two birds on my wrist. I narrowed my choice to Swallows. Swallows, a sailor’s favorite, are symbolic of long distances traveled. They are rumored to bring safety and prosperity. Some believe Swallows carry the soul to Heaven. I loved the idea of my boys being represented in two birds that provide safety during even the longest of travels. For now, they travel with us all the time. Their childhood may bring many, many moves as the Army calls us away. Though they will someday travel this world without me, I will always have them with me. I gave some ideas to my artists and told him to change them how he saw fit. I wanted two birds to look similar (brothers!), but be different enough to tell them apart.
My sister was excited for me…I think.
The stencil was on, I approved, and there was no turning back. At this point, I had no idea what colors he was going to use. I just asked for it to be “super colorful, a bit vintage, think ‘old sailor.’” Done.
The outlining was the most uncomfortable. People often ask me what it feels like to get a tattoo. Depending on the spot, it can feel anything like being pinched a little to a scratch on a sunburn to a bee sting. I’d describe the pain as more annoying than anything, and adrenaline tends to keep the pain at bay. Of course, I’ve never had any big pieces done. I prefer smaller ones (more room for more tattoos!), but the big pieces probably hurt quite a bit more just due to time under the needle alone.
When he started adding color, I started to get really excited. And kind of freaked out. But mostly excited. An hour later…and he was done!
Of course, I only had my crappy cell phone camera with me. A friend took pictures for me, but I haven’t remembered to ask her for them yet. I’ll share some of those later along with a few once it heals up and is done with the weird peel-y process. I love it, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to picture my babies. I’ve got several more ideas on tattoos I still want to get…guess it’s time to start pinning!
If you’re a badass mama with ink, send me an email that includes pictures, your story, and the reaction you usually receive from others. I’ve gotten a couple stories so far, and I would love to feature my readers in a big tattoo loving post! Email: email@example.com