28 – Complete the Tattoo Project

7 Jul

It was the summer of 1999 and I was a new high school grad. I was the last of my bff trio to turn eighteen so on my birthday the three of us rode BART into Berkeley to get tattoos. We made appointments ahead of time at a shop on Telegraph with an artist we’d never met. I wanted a tribal turtle on my shoulder (why the turtle fixation, nobody knows), my bestie wanted a Pi stamp (the cutest math nerd you’ll ever know) and our third wanted a Celtic cross. We took turns in the chair, holding each other’s hands and acting tough. In the end I’m not sure any of us were satisfied with the tattoos we received. My simple small black tribal turtle morphed into something much more sizable and colorful because I was worried about looking cool and pleasing the artist.

The turtle and me on our wedding day

The turtle and me on our wedding day, 2008

As soon as the ink dried on this tattoo, in a random act of maturity, I decided I wasn’t allowed to get another tattoo until I was closer to 30. That was the magic number. I’d be a true adult. Then and only then could I be trusted to make good choices that reflect who I am, what I believe, and of course, good taste. (Although at 19 I pierced my nose, which lasted about a week. This is a story for another time.)

Turtle Tattoo and I lived together in harmony for a good ten years before I decided enough was enough and it was time to cover up this teenage mistake.

This brings me to number three on the bucket list: Complete a half-sleeve tattoo.

Maybe it’s odd to add that to my life’s To Do list, especially since I’m STILL not exactly sure about what I want. I need to have the cover-up that I started over a year ago completed so this is not happening any time soon.

I do love me some body art. This is fueled partly by my obsession with the show LA Ink (and now NY Ink… I love to hate Ami). Tattoos + reality tv drama. What’s not to like about those shows?

Whatever fills the space needs to coordinate with those art nouveau poppies, which are a tribute to my first home state of California. My ability to continue to add to this tattoo at will is perhaps one of the most advantageous effects of infertility. This is the bright side of not being pregnant (well that, and semi-regular hormones, not having to give birth, etc.).

I have an appointment with my fabulous tattoo artist later this month. My lovely husband’s birthday gift to me is contributing some funds toward the cover-up cause. I am hoping to talk with her about some of my ideas for the rest of the space.

If you’re reading- tell me about your tattoos! When did you get them and why? Do you regret it? Do you have plans for more?

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3 Responses to “28 – Complete the Tattoo Project”

  1. Val July 7, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    I LOVE your poppies. They’re so pretty! I have also thought of poppies, also as a tribute, but am still on the fence. I am getting a tribute to Portland on my right bicep in September though, the Hawthorne Bridge, my favorite of the 5-6 bridges of my other adopted home. I have an appointment in August for sweet-peas over my left shoulder, for Penelope obvs., with my favorite tattoo guy in SF, Jesse Tuesday. He did my phoenix wings and I love his work. I also have “don’t stop” tattooed on my right wrist, this will have to be redone someday. I got it with my oldest girlfriend, Ashley, as a reminder to keep going and with a nod to Journey, as my as I am embarrassed to admit. Today at the grocery store my checker asked me what it meant. I sort of raised my eyebrows and looked at him quizzically “don’t stop”, I smiled and we both laughed.
    This is a great item for your bucket list, I am totally a body art enthusiast!

    • mondayinthekitchen July 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

      Val, awesome! I know it’s really cheesy these days to love Journey but I do, oh so much. Classic San Francisco and it reminds me of my parents growing up. Love the tribute! I am also very impressed by the two tattoo appointments in two months thing you’ve got going on.
      Have you had any issues with the job and your visible wrist tattoo? I would really really like a forearm tattoo but am really worried about getting a job in conservative South Dakota.
      Also I have always wanted to get either the Bay or Golden Gate bridge tattoo’d either on the inside of my bicep or top of my thigh! Because really, there is no such thing as having too many CA tribute tats. 😉 For a while it was my plan to get the state flower for every state that I’ve ever lived in, but now I’m up to so many that I think it might look a little insane with roses, bluebonnets, poppies, lady slippers, purple pasque flower, and the yucca flower. Too many flowers up in my bidness.

  2. Rachi July 10, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Aw, your turtle! I remember that 1st day in class when you showed me your tattoo and thinking how fearless you were and how feminine your ink looked. I wanted one immediately. I got my first tat (a crescent moon & shooting star) at 21, my 2nd (a heart incorporating a star) at 24 & my 3rd (& last?) hibiscus at 29. I do not regret my 1st two & much smaller tattoos; they are reminders of hope & possibilty. However, my 3rd was much more thought out, the artist & shop thoroughly researched, & means the most to me. My mother never was a fan of my smaller 2 and I was dreading showing her my latest being sooo much bigger than the rest. Upon revealing my art & explaining it to her, Mom was moved to tears. I felt like I had chosen ink that could be timeless, not just representative of the moment. I think the decision to get inked matures with you. None of mine were chosen out of the book, and my 3rd is the only one I did not design myself. At an earlier age, I put faith in strangers to permanantly put my own art on my body. And being closer to 30 I let someone who put me at such ease in charge of a piece that I was not 100% sure what the outcome would be. I like to think it’s a metaphor for how we develop trust as “grown ups.”

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