Sunday, November 23, 2008
Only The Pretty Survive
As another story of a cover up, I have to tell one story in order to tell the actual story. For my 22nd birthday, I got a shooting star in blue and yellow on my left side. Mark decided to get a little creative and didn’t outline it. It also healed very, very poorly. When all was said and done, there was almost no color in the star itself and the trails behind it were virtually invisible. I kept meaning to get it touched up and just never got around to it. Then I lost track of Mark and when I found him again, we decided it might be better just to cover it altogether. I wasn’t that wedded to it and he felt bad that it turned out so poorly. We decided that a pin up girl would be something really nice to cover it with. It was something that got us both excited, so it had to be the right choice. Fortunately, he had a book full of pin up girls that I could go through and pick from. I decided on one of a girl sitting in a chair in a pink nightgown. The nightgown would be changed to blue to cover up the star underneath along with a few minor changes to make her more personal. It would also have to be done in two sittings. This would be the first time in ten times of sitting for tattoos that it would take two sessions.
The first session was the first Sunday in November. I was the first appointment of the day and got there right when they opened. It took a few tries to place the stencil because it had to be aligned just right with the star to cover it. As a result, her head was almost in my arm pit and the whole thing extended the entirety of my left side. I was momentarily intimidated by the size, but I knew it was the right choice. Finally, it was time to put needle to skin. Mark gave me the usual “stop me anytime” speech, which I never listen to. I’m extremely stubborn when it comes to sitting. I want to get as much of it done as possible and take as few breaks as possible. Of course, with something this size, breaks are necessary. The line work wasn’t so bad, though it did hurt a good bit near my waist. I was surprised that it hurt more there than on thinner skin over my ribs. We took one break after the line work and then it was time for her hair and face. Her face would probably take the same amount of time as the whole rest of her body or so I was warned. Mark explained to their apprentice, he liked to work the skin lightly for the face to which I replied “Couldn’t tell it by me!”. In actuality, the face was probably the least painful part of the process because he was working the skin so lightly. Her hair was the toughest part. By this point we were going on three hours and I was starting to hit the wall. Did I listen to my body? Of course not. I toughed it out for another twenty or thirty minutes. By the time Mark called it quits, the line work, her face, hair, arm, neck, and shoulders were completely colored. It was more than originally planned, but I’m grateful for that. It meant less would have to be done in the second session.
The second session was two weeks later. I actually had to change the appointment to work around covering for a co-worker. He had someone coming in at 8, so I booked the slot before at 5. He seemed skeptical that it could be done in three hours. I was undeterred. On the day of the appointment, I arrived right at 5. We didn’t get started until almost 6 for various reasons, but by that point I was more than ready to get going. The first hour wasn’t so bad. The second hour started to get to me. I was starting to feel dizzy, having trouble focusing on a fixed point, and just generally hurting really badly. I fought against it for about half an hour. Bucking my own stubbornness, I finally asked for a break. Of course, he was almost done with what he was going to do. I was annoyed with myself for needing a break with so little left. I took a breather and he finished off the color in one of her shoes. After we called it quits for the day, it wasn’t complete. Her body was done, but the chair she was sitting in still needed to be done. That meant another session to drag out the whole experience. I also started to get a migraine. Fortunately, they had some ibuprofen and I’d brought a Coke Zero with me. I took the pills, sipped my soda, and started to feel better after about half an hour. Because I’m extremely impatient, I opted to come in after a week rather than waiting two weeks for her to heal. The bulk of the healing would be done after a week, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
The third session, as promised, was a week after the second. I still had some scabbing, but Mark was just going to work around it. I doubt I’d even notice if he accidentally knocked one off. I’d decided gold would be a good choice for the chair and it harkened back to the colors of the original tattoo. In the source material, the chair was gold and black, but I thought that might end up being too dark. Once that was all said and done, it was time to finally start. I didn’t get the usual speech this time about asking for breaks. It hurt, but not as bad as the last one. It hurt the most near my waist and where there was still a little bit of scabbing. I made a few faces, but generally took it pretty well. Before I knew it, he said we were done. I couldn’t believe it. It had taken less than an hour. I hopped up and took a look. Everyone else who was around also oohed and ahhed over her. She will need some touching up, which is scheduled to happen in 4 weeks. That shouldn’t be nearly as traumatic.
She’s totally gorgeous I’m glad I decided to take a risk and go big. It did take a while and it was a lot of pain, but I’ll be so proud to show her off for as long as it’s appropriate for me to lift my shirt up for people.