catharsis & a nontraditional review part 1 (aka if you are female, you need to read this)

good morning everyone! i’ve sat down several times to write this post only to backspace the entire thing. i’m splitting it into two parts because it would otherwise become a small novel. i’ll describe my reasoning behind my decision and follow up with the finished products (my flower is healed completely but my globe is still fresh, raw and painful)! at some point, i just needed to scrawl this out and leave behind the contents for you to read. please forgive any typos/run on sentences as i go forward to explain an experience that has left me changed (i’d like to think for the better).

it’s been no secret to those around me that i’ve been wanting a tattoo for the last decade. even before i met nate, i was carrying around artwork in my wallet ‘just in case’ the moment struck and i wanted to follow through with getting myself inked. hindsight being what it is, i am relieved that i stayed patient but hungry for the right art, inspiration and time in my life to complete this process.

i regrettably spent most of my 20s in a state fixated on my shortcomings, and allowed insecurity and the opinions of others dictate my sense of self. on one hand i feel like i lived so much, but in other aspects emotionally just fell stagnant. i’m not really sure what clicked when i hit 30 but i just became so conscious of my life and the fragility of everything (getting real deep you guys ;p).

i finally decided on some artwork and began researching an artist who i felt could imagine something that would both capture my spirit and put forth the vibrant color that would leave a lasting impression. i was on a waiting list for this artist for 5 months before i got a call in late december that my consult and ink session would be over a couple weekends in january. i would be lying if i said the reality of this situation wasn’t a little jarring. i’d flaked out so many times in the past waffling for one reason or another. this was the first time i’d ever committed to a particular artist and waited months for my opportunity. perhaps by a stroke of fate, my friend gillian passed along this article and i felt at peace once again. it’s a piece about being a woman and owning your body; refusing to accept ‘unmarked’ as a condition of femininity.

“The most perplexing part of the equation is that no one changes when they get a tattoo. Their behaviour doesn’t change, the way they relate to the world doesn’t change, it’s just, in the words of Joni Mitchell, ‘ink on a pin underneath the skin’. So why we think we can tell a good woman from a bad one by whether or not she has a tattoo is evidence again of the obsession with keeping women ‘pure’ and palatable.”

for a long time, i was so concerned about judgement from others as well as the art itself. at the end of the day, i was most taken by the experience itself and the art as a secondary measure. this isn’t to say i am not in love with the art because i am! despite my reservations, i felt more liberated staring at that shop ceiling with arms outstretched than i have in a very long time, perhaps ever. i felt free, like i was in complete control and remarkably still despite a gun whirring pigments of glycerin into my skin. there is really nothing quite like this feeling…perhaps some biological response driven by pain receptors being over ridden by a near euphoria. it’s nothing and everything like i thought it would be.

i had as perfect of a first experience as one could hope. i was in a complete state of living in the present, calm and excited, nervous and assured. all of those things— and the love of my life was there to witness and experience the entire thing. life isn’t about how many material objects you own or have the ability to buy. i am dedicated to the richness of life’s experiences and right now i feel like i’m the wealthiest woman alive! more to come. . .

just a bit terrified
photo (2)

8 Responses to catharsis & a nontraditional review part 1 (aka if you are female, you need to read this)

  • Mego says:
    January 18, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Good for you! I’m waiting for Nate’s tat. : )

    • Melissa says:
      January 18, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      :) i’m excited to see what he comes up with!

  • Gillian says:
    January 18, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    They look incredible – so happy for you and admiring from here!!!

    • Melissa says:
      January 18, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      :) thank you, it was so rewarding!

  • Katie says:
    January 21, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    So exciting! Can’t wait to see it!

    I got my tattoos when I was very young (18 and a week before turning 19) and was kind of thoughtless about it. I think I was trying to prove something to myself, my parents, my boyfriend at the time… but years later, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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