Monday, August 10, 2009

My Vintage Tattoo

While I was visiting my sister in Long Beach I got my first tattoo. It was something I'd planned for months and months. The idea was born when I saw a sewing pattern that pictured a woman with a rose tattoo over her shoulder. It was barely showing in the photo, but it got me thinking...if I was ever going to get a tattoo (and I would NEVER!!!), it would be something like that. Then one of my sisters told me that they can use, etc. That made me actually start to consider the idea. I am very feminine, not necessarily "conservative," but certainly not "edge-y," at least as far as my appearance goes, so the idea of garish, bright "tattoo colors" was not appealing. But pastels...that made me think.

Then I had the idea that I could use a vintage embroidery pattern as the motif. I had one in mind that I have hand-embroidered on all sorts of things many times, so as the idea grew, I always pictured something like the embroidery pattern in my mind over my shoulder like a strap.

Once I made up my mind that I was definitely going to do it, I also realized I would be in Long Beach visiting my sister this summer, so I started planning that if I was going to do it, it would be then. But still I didn't know the exact motif I would use. I figured I'd decide that as it got closer and would probably end up combining a few embroidery motifs and kind of tweaking them. A few months ago I started to picture where it would be (left shoulder) and whenever I looked in the mirror I could almost "see" it.

About a week before my trip I realized I needed to nail down what the motif was going to be. I looked on flickr and other online tattoo sites and didn't see anything that was quite the look I was after. But then I pulled out the embroidery pattern I'd had in mind as a possibility. I decided to experiment and just shrink it 50% to begin with. But when I did that, cut it out and put it over my shoulder the way I'd been picturing, it was almost was EXACTLY RIGHT. It started on the front of my chest where I wanted it to, arched over my shoulder the way I'd had in my mind and ended in the exact spot I wanted it to on my back. I actually got a little misty-eyed because as I looked in the mirror, I just KNEW that was exactly what was "supposed to be there."

So when I went to Long Beach I took my little embroidery motif with me! My sister arranged an appointment with a guy named Chris who does floral work, among many other things, and I nervously awaited the day. Everyone had told me that it would would hurt a lot, but might hurt more than some because of where it was being done and because I don't have fat under my skin in that area, so there would be needles near bone for a lot of the tattoo. So I was nervous but still very excited.

Chris was exactly how I pictured him, except for his height! I am 4'10.5" (yes that .5 inch counts!) and Chris is 6'9"!!!
I was surprised how little it hurt. I was prepared for terrible pain, and although it did hurt, it wasn't at all the kind of pain I dreaded. I didn't feel like crying and just winced a few times, especially in the front. That skin was particularly sensitive. We decided on red with pink inside lines, which gives the illusion of the roses being dark pink. We tried the roses in pink but it was just not showing up at all. He used both dark and light green for the greenery.

Indoor shots....this first one was taken by Chris looking down at my shoulder from above.from the front...
In sunlight standing above me, looking down at my shoulder....
It is better than I ever imagined! It feels "right." It's almost as though it was always meant to be there. Feels really "me"...feminine, vintagey, reflects my artistic stuff and is just downright pretty. I'm so pleased. I never thought I'd get a tattoo, but there's a lot of things in life that turn out differently than we planned. This is a season of change for me, so getting this tattoo right now seems fitting. And I love it. :)


Fleur de Bee said...

You know the second to last photo looks as if it is "sewn" on you. How fitting and how pretty. I am not really into them, mainly because I have no idea where I would get one put on me or what I would do. BUT this is so beautiful it makes me rethink that. I love it! Very beautiful and yes, very YOU! x

Anonymous said...

YOU ARE SO BRAVE! It's beautiful! Well done! Boots and I talk about getting tattoos all the time.... Alyssa

dodger said...


Wendy said...

You need one on the other side to even it out :)

Anonymous said...

I like. And I disagree with Wendy, I like assymetrical stuff.

I got my first tattoo on my wrist in January '10. I've thought about it for nearly 20 years, but wanted to wait until I knew what I wanted. I have a few other ideas, and hope to eventually get both arms done fully ("sleeves").

Jonathan from Spritzophrenia :)

Anonymous said...

Love your tattoo

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