Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name

This is actually the story of a cover up, so to fully understand the experience, a little history is needed.

Back in December of '07, I got a black and gray fleur de lis tattooed on my left wrist. There were a myriad of bad decisions associated with this tattoo. I was trying really hard to win back my ex-boyfriend, I was drunk, and I didn't really think through the design. I wanted a wrist tattoo, so I just picked the first kitschy piece of flash off the wall. I was in New Orleans at the time, so a fleur de lis seemed like the thing to do. It wasn't.

After I finally cut off all contact with said ex long about September of '08, the tattoo was nothing but a reminder of all the bad choices I'd made. It made me nauseous every time I had to look at it. I decided it was time to cover it up. I went to see Mark and get his opinion on it. It was going to be a tough one because it was black and gray, but he was confident he could make something work. We decided on an antique style rose. I scheduled the appointment for the following Saturday.

That Saturday rolled around and I was so nervous. This was going to be a big tattoo (about halfway up my forearm) and impossible to hide from my extremely judgmental parents. However, it was either this or live with a tattoo I hated. After a few deep breaths, I was ready to go for it. Once the design was ready, it was time for the process. I was prepared for the pain. I didn't remember what happened the last time because I'd been drunk. We ultimately decided on a pink rose for several reasons. Firstly, a red rose is a symbol of love and passion and I just didn't feel that was the right message to go with this tattoo. Also, I didn't want to go super cliche like I'd done with the one being covered up. Even though my skin takes red beautifully, it just wasn't right this time.

We began with the tattooing and, true to expectations, it hurt. It hurt more closer to my hand than farther up on my arm. It makes sense as I have very tiny wrists and pretty much nothing to cushion the needle. Two other girls in the shop were amazed at how well I was taking it. I guess I'm just good at grinning and bearing it. I was highly amused when they acted like someone was sawing their arms off during their 10 minute tats. I guess I'm just tough.

This time, I think the shading at the base of the fleur hurt the worst. Normally, I don't deal with color well, but it probably had something to do with the thin skin. I ended up taking two breaks, just for us to get up and move around. I'd like to think I didn't really need them and could've just powered through it. Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of breaks because I have to get used to the pain again. I wouldn't say it's endorphins, but just the simple fact that I'm used to the constant pain I'm feeling in whatever part of my body is being worked on.

After about 2.5 hours and 90 minutes of actual tattooing time, we were done. I was amazed with the end result. The underlying fleur de lis was completely invisible. The rose itself was gorgeous. Yet again, Mark proved himself the genius I know him to be. We photographed it and he wrapped it up for me. I couldn't wait to show it off.

It's been about a month since I had it done and it's healed beautifully. I haven't had any problems with color loss or blurring. I think there are a few patches of mild scabbing left, but nothing too serious. It looks just as good as it did right after it was finished. While I'm extremely happy with the results, I wish I'd never had to have anything covered in the first place.

Take home lessons from my mistakes are:

1. Never get tattooed drunk. Aside from being illegal in most, if not all, states, it's just a bad idea.

2. Don't get a tattoo because you want something there. You'll end up paying twice as much to get it covered up. I literally paid twice what I paid for the original and that's with what I like to call the "addict discount".

3. Never shy away from the pain. Get a tattoo where you want it. Pain is only temporary.

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