Many years ago, as some of you know, I was in a relationship with someone who was bad news bears (thank you Ashley for teaching me my new favourite expression!!). I’m not going to go into too much detail – it was hands down the most difficult period of my entire life, and led to my darkest hour – a story to save for another day. But during this relationship, in a fit of pre-deterioration, honeymoon period infatuation, we decided to get matching tattoos. Smart cookies, no? Luckily we were slightly smarter than getting red hearts and lovebirds carrying scrolls bearing each other’s names forever branded on our skins, but we still went ahead pretty hardcore. We got a design comprised of our initials, superimposed on each other and stylised in a way that looked nothing like letters, but some sort of chunky tribal symbol.
The relationship declined, the heart was battered to a pulp, and eventually the memories disappeared into the archives of Life Experience, yet the mark on my back remained. A constant reminder of the naivety of my younger self, the mistakes, the time I sometimes wish I could take back. But I constantly remind myself that life throws us these things to give us opportunities to learn and grow. Perhaps I was a stubborn girl back then. Perhaps, had I not gone through what I did, I never would have had any reason to push myself forward, and strive to reach the potential I hope I possess. We can become bitter about the past, or we can become better because of it. With everything, no matter how difficult, I try to stick to the latter.
But last week, I came to the realisation that I wanted this thing off my back more than I was scared of the pain it would undoubtedly cause. Many of you know about my back condition, and may remember my desperate attempt at relief a few months ago, involving dozens of injections along my spine… and promptly going into uncontrollable convulsions. (You can’t say I’m not a trooper!)
So the thought of getting this tattoo reworked into something I’m not ashamed of, though extremely tempting, is also extremely scary. I met with an artist this week who informed me that to get what I want (and effectively cover up what I have), will in all likelihood end up being half a back piece. The size doesn’t scare me – I love tattoos, and I love the idea of having something meaningful on my body for the rest of my life – but the extreme pain does. Don’t get me wrong, I’m HARDLY a wuss – I sat through this one in one sitting while heavy black shading was done over my SPINE – and I know if I didn’t have this problem with my back muscles, it would be a walk in the park (I have a second one on the nape of my neck, which is pain-free, and I didn’t blink an eye). But this is in Prime Pain Area, which leaves me more than a little nervous.
Nervous, but determined. With less than 8 months to go until my wedding, I want to get this taken care of. Pronto. Even if it means going every three weeks just for an hour at a time until November. The trouble now, is finding something that will work with what I already have. I loved this one here – but it has too much white space to really go over the chunky black I already have. I love Celtic style tattoos, too – but they have the same problem. I’ve decided I really want to get a phoenix – I love the symbolism of continual growth and new beginnings. But I don’t want a big chunky tribal symbol taking over my whole back because it’s the only thing that works. This is where I come to you guys. Do you have any idea what I could do to cover this thing up, in less than 7 total hours (I don’t think I could tolerate the pain for more than an hour at a time), that doesn’t involve a thick black MAN tattoo?