i’m 32 and i have a tattoo, oh my!

so it has been a week now with my feathers and, quite frankly, it has been a tumultuous beginning.  my first night was a high, i was proud of them and felt, well, cool – i had just a teensy bit of a strut when i exited the tattoo studio : )


the next day tripped me up when the first few people i revealed it to had nothing but negative things to say.  while i understand that people have strong opinions about tattoos, i was shocked that they didn’t have the tact to keep it to themselves.  at first i thought that their disapproving bafflement was amusing, but then as others joined in and it escalated to scolding & disgust, i wilted.  i wish i could say that i got indignant or even angry (although that did come later), but i was honestly still too sensitive about my new piece of art to withstand the beating… so i slowly covered it up and didn’t show anyone else that day.  so sad!  you know when you say a word over and over again is starts to sound weird and loses meaning?  i did that to my tattoo.  i stared at it until i couldn’t see what it looked like anymore – it became shrouded in those negative remarks, blocking out the beauty and meaning.  i panicked.  tattoos are permanent!  did i make a mistake?!  was i being stupid?! am i a terrible mother?! (yes that was the content of the unwanted remarks) what will my grandma think?!  i really hadn’t prepared myself for such a backlash…  once i received the gift of tattoo money for christmas and settled on a image, i immersed myself in the world of tattoos until it was normalized and happily skipped down the path to my appointment without really looking back.  that night i had a little cry with my husband and absorbed his perspective until i regained confidence in my decision.

it sucks that my first day was so tainted!  but no matter where i am on the emotional spectrum, i am bonded with my feathers…  even at the low point when i frantically considered removing them, it felt like i was considering getting plastic surgery because someone said my nose was big or something equally inappropriate.  i’m an adult, darn it! and i made a decision that some might not agree with or like, but i didn’t do for them, i did it to express myself and to try something new and because i wanted to.  and i like it, so there.  ; )

i wonder, does a prominent tattoo place a person in a new category where others can brush aside common social graces and let their unwanted opinions fly?  was this an anomaly or have you experienced anything like it?

~ rena

falling feathers

ahhh! i did it!  it’s done!  4 hours of the happy buzz and puncture of wee needles into my forearm… funny i spent so much thought & worry on the potential design disasters that i forgot to weigh in the pain that i was going to inflict on myself (see blank flank for back-story).  the first line into the sensitive inner wrist made me wince, but compared to childbirth it was a mere tickle (or at least that is what i told myself : P )…  so i managed to get through the session without passing out or having second thoughts or getting the urge to run away – all in all, a success.

first of all, this tattoo is WAY bigger then i imagined it to be and i’m a little shocked at myself for being so relaxed about it… but when i saw the stencil on my skin it felt like they belonged.  the placement makes them fairly hidden when my arm is relaxed at my side, only the tip & tail are visible… then i turn my arm & bam!  the colouring, which consists mostly of watercolour-style browns & sepia, with bold little strips of blue, red & yellow, is inspired by the work of Michele Maule, a talented artist out of Portland.  and i have the wonderful hilary from electro-ladylux to thank for the feather illustration, fine needle handling and all-around good time : )

tattoo-2 tattoo-1

so there they are, my two feathers floating down my inner forearm.  they represent my girls, they represent freedom, and they represent releasing control that i never had in the first place.  i’m really happy with them.


~ rena

blank flank

for christmas this year i received an envelope with cash and a cartoon of myself with a sleeve of tattoos.  something odd happened inside me when i opened it, a sort-of gleeful/fearful feeling, an “oh fun… uh-oh!” response.  that’s because i love tattoos… but up to that moment i guess i only really loved the idea of tattoos.  darn it, now that the opportunity stared me in the face i had to quickly think it through and moderate what emotion to expose to my husband who was anxiously awaiting my reaction.  he knew it would be a loaded gift, but he was right to risk it… the excited side of me eventually won out.

so, feb 9 is the day!  this unmarked skin of mine will bear an image of my choosing.  although i have always reasoned with myself that there would never be a design i would want to bear for a lifetime, i decided right away that i could get something that represented my girls.  no possible regrets there… right?

ok, ok portraits aren’t the way to go… but what should the image be?  darn it!  such a huge decision! when i start thinking too deeply about it, it scares the perfectionist in me to death!  oooh, that perfectionist side of myself ruins everything!  or not…

yes, there is a LOT of evidence out there of unfortunate tattoos (take a look at “ugliest tattoos” for a giggle), but there are also few that are quite beautiful and meaningful… i definitely prefer to be on that side of things.

but i have to ask myself… why?  why am i considering doing this to myself?  i am terrified that i will regret the final product, and given my critical side i will likely analyse the thing until it warps into something horrible.  it’s true!  i do that to myself!  i’m a terrible candidate for a tattoo, right?  BUT, i want to challenge it – i want to get a tattoo in spite of the perfectionist, as a part of my journey to overcome/accept those parts of myself.  plus *some* tattoos are cool, darn it!  🙂

so!  the tattoo i’ve decided on may be a tad overloaded with meaning… when i look at it, i want to be reminded of freedom, of releasing control, and of my two beautiful girls – the style of the image will represent my character as a maker and my connection to the creative community and to the creator.  ya, that’s loaded…

i’m leaving a cliff hanger here… but will post pics of the process on feb 9, the fateful day.  say a prayer for me ok?  once the virgin skin is broken, i’m sure i’ll get all de-sensitized and decide on a portrait of my cat next!

do you have a tattoo?  why did you get it?  what would you get if you don’t have one already?