Day 204-My Essay Tuesday-Got A Tattoo Late in Life

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Since I served in military, one would think I would’ve gotten a tattoo back then. Although I accompanied my friend Teresa when she got her tattoo, I chickened out. No,  I had to go and wait until I was in my 40s, my sidekicks being a couple of burly firefighters who’s combined work took eight hours to do, leaving me a measley hour to get mine done! By then, the tattoo artist affectionately known as a Boog, was tired, cranky,  and in a hurry to get me finished.

When we lived in North Richland Hills the first time, we live next-door to a couple who became our best friends, Dave and Michelle. Dave was a firefighter for Irving, and he already sported several tattoos. One night while over there playing games, David I got into a conversation about my desire to get a tattoo. He then told me about a upcoming convention in Dallas where he and his buddy wanted to get new tattoos. After glancing sideways at my husband for his reaction, I then told Dave I’d love to go with them as this might be my only chance to get one. My husband thought I was crazy, having been all over the world and never getting one himself, even though he was a marine in the service, but he didn’t deny me the opportunity. “It’s your choice'” he said,  so Dave and I started making plans.

Now this convention was open to the public, so you can imagine the sights I saw there! A couple of weeks before going though, Dave had a artist friend of his draw up my tattoo, which was my zodiac sign– Pisces–but with an artistic flair. I had him draw actual fish one above the other, swimming in opposite directions, and the artist put water underneath which was a nice touch. In our drawing, the tattoo had many colors. Due to the fact that Boog was so tired however, he elected to only use blue-and-white. In the photo you can see one of the dolphins peeking out from my bathing suit. This is because the tattoo is too large for one thing, and not as low as I wanted it, number two.

When the day finally came for us to go get our tattoos, I was excited, nervous, and thought I completely lost my mind. Maybe my husband was right, why did I wait so late in life to do this? No, I wasn’t going to chicken out this time. I had tattoo fever! So, with drawing in hand, Dave, myself and his friend Miles, piled in the truck and headed to Dallas. We arrived an hour later to a sea of people of all ages, parading up and down the aisles, watching people getting tattoos and receiving them. My anxiety grew as I looked into the faces of people sporting piercings in every spot you can think of. I saw people so full of tattoos there was barely any blank skin left. What am I doing here?! This is crazy! The guys tried to reassure me that everything was going to be okay. I’d worn a bathing suit under my clothes, knowing where I wanted my tattoo placement. These people weren’t shy however, I saw more skin that day than a beach in Bali. (not that I’ve ever been)

After waiting a grueling four hours apiece four Dave and Miles to get their tattoos, it was finally my turn. Boog studied my drawing, made some adjustments–like taking photocopies and shrinking it down a couple of sizes, and after seeing he wasn’t in the mood to mess with it much more, I reluctantly agreed, I was ready. He laid me down onto two chairs facing each other, I lowered my britches, and with that parade of people walking by, staring down at me as I was about to receive the worst pain of my life, he began the outline. Oh my god! As the first needles pierced my skin, the sensation was like hot pokers being pressed into my flesh. As I gritted my teeth and took it, David peered down at me and asked, “You okay Kimmy?” I answered back through gritted teeth that yes I was let’s just get this over with. After a few minutes I got used to the pain and then it was time to color it in. I just thought the outline had been painful! I guess there’s more needles involved with the coloring in process, and when he approached my hip bone, I thought I wasn’t going to make it. But I wasn’t going to stop now!

I kind of felt short changed when 30 minutes later I was done. I was also disappointed that he’d only used two colors, but I was so happy with my new artwork, I let it go. After getting a bandage, and instructions on how to care for my new tattoo, I pulled up my pants and we were off. The guys were tired as well, and I was excited to show my husband Boog’s handiwork. I was now a tattooed lady! I worried about what my parents and brother would think, yet this was my body and I thought it was tasteful, since it was in a place no one would see, unless I was in my bathing suit. I didn’t tell my dad for quite a while, instead he saw it one day when I was at the pool. He never said a negative word about it. When I arrived at home after receiving my tattoo however, I was bummed out at my husbands reaction. After removing the bandage he viewed it and said, “Wow baby that’s big!” I replied, “I know, Boog was tired and had already shrunk the design down several times-I finally agreed on the size because we were all just ready for me to get done.”

Over the years we’ve both gotten used to it, but in the beginning every time I took a bath or shower, I’d gaze down at it, not believing it was there forever, yet loving it just the same. Unfortunately, the fact that Boog was in a hurry, the outline bled dye into my skin, making the edges look blurry. My son has a friend who could touch it up, but I keep putting it off, every time I remember that pain. They say when you get one tattoo, you want to keep going–not me, although I’ve fantasized about a couple more, I’ve never really thought of anything important enough or meaningful enough to go through that torture again. On second thought, after recently reviewing the design, I realized the design is flawed. Should I care this late in life that one of the dolphins is swimming upside down? Good grief! Evidently, no one else noticed including myself that I’ve been sporting an incorrect depiction of my zodiac sign! Maybe they didn’t want to hurt my feelings, maybe they thought that’s how I wanted it to be. I feel like such a fool, I might have designed it wrong myself…I don’t have the actual drawing anymore,  yet now I’m inspired to go get it corrected– maybe even removed and redone completely! I just don’t know, as I consider the big picture, is it really that important that an out of shape, middle-aged grandma really need to have a perfect depiction of her zodiac sign for the rest of her life? Now there’s some food for thought!

My one and only tattoo
My one and only tattoo

Then again, it doesn’t look too bad considering I’m an about to be 56 year old grandma who still sports two piece bathing suits. I can always tell anyone who cared to question the design that I meant for it to be whimsical… That should buy me a few more years. 😉