Getting tattooed for me is more than just getting inked. Every piece has a story and meaning. Every session is a meditation and lesson in pain tolerance. Like being in labor, breathing and focus help.
I remember certain sessions being better than others. When me and the artist were alone and in sync with each other. He’d notice me clenching and/or not breathing and stop to remind me to relax and breath. Maybe even take a break. We had a good rapport.
Now, I’ve gone through 8 hours of undrugged labor so I’m no wienie. The good thing about getting tattooed is that I can stop when I’ve reached my limit. That limit varies on where the work is being done, how many passes over the same spot and the energy in the room.
My longest session to date is 3 hours. The shop was full, music blaring and I’m sitting topless between 4 men and my artists hovering over me. I’m not going to go all sissy girl now! The owner is tattooing the inside of his client’s arm with the name, date of birth and the foot prints of his new born daughter. I congratulate him and mention how painful that has to be. His reply is golden. He shows me the other arm with the name, date and foot prints of his son. “After what my wife went through this is nothing.”
I can’t argue with that and I breath into the painful art being needled into my back. The music is good and the buzz of tattoo guns is strangely, hypnotic.
The other guy looks like your typical, college, Bro. He’s not joining the group chatter about kids and pain. When I get up to take a break I walk by and smile at him. We’re all inkaholics. He’s getting a classic, Dia de los muertos tattoo. The jerk doesn’t smile back, but gives me the hateful glare of a man-child that says, “You’re not what I think is hot. How dare you cross my field of vision.” I just wanted to spit on him and tit bash him with my “old lady boobs”. Instead, I stood in front of him while I admired the new work in the mirror.
My pain tolerance was high that night. Maybe a little too high. When I got home I began to go into shock. It was mild and I knew how to deal with it. But, still! My back was weeping like a burn. I have very tender skin.
The last time I got inked was not a good experience for me. My artists was late. It was at a new studio. The music was terrible and too loud. All the artists were chatting with each other over the music. I didn’t feel like a person but rather a blank canvass my tattoo guy was working on. Other artists came by to look at his work without acknowledging me. The rapport I had with my artists had decayed and I was trying to get myself into a meditative state. Then, a couple came in and totally killed my vibe. The woman’s shrill voice and her man’s stupid laugh drove me to nearly scream. I couldn’t breath through the pain, both physical and emotional. This piece on my back isn’t going to be finished by the artist who started it.
The human ego is such a bitch. It ends up destroying everything.