I love its smooth curve and bold points. I love the stark contrast between the heavy dark ink and my pale, pale skin. a story is written in those lines; a story of pain and terror, of betrayal and doubt and dread – but it is also a story of survival, of hope and light and love fiercer than fear. Above all, it is a story of strength…a strength I didn’t know I had until I was tested in the worst of ways. That’s what it means, that little symbol up there – it’s the Japanese kanji for strength - a beautiful reminder permanently etched in my skin. How it got there is also a story…
My sister wanted to be there with me when I got my tattoo, sort of cleansing for both of us, which meant I had to get it done back home. So I did my research, checked out various places, their work, safety procedures, etc. When we arrived, the artist (who I will call Al)was working on another customer - that guy’s entire back was covered with a cemetery scene, which while creepy, looked amazing, plus I got to watch Al work first hand.
Now, my tattoo is just above my right ankle, so the best position for tattooing was to place my foot just above his knee and for him to work from there. I was very nervous at first, not sure how much it would hurt, if I would jerk away, but he buzzed my leg a couple of time with the gun before he started so I could get used to the vibration – he was actually very good in putting me at ease. Once he started, I relaxed more and more and watched my sister wander the shop looking at his work on the walls. Eventually I looked down and started watching my tattoo come to life…and that’s when I noticed it – or them, I should say. Apparently my tattoo artist believed in always going commando…even when the crotch of his jeans had a huge hole.
So yes, ‘the commander and the boys’ were hanging out for all the world to see…freeballing, taking in the breeze, however you’d like to refer to it. In my endorphin-induced high, all I could do was giggle. my sister finally comes over to see what I’m laughing about, takes one look, turns a shade of red I’ve never seen on her before or since, and practically runs to the car, mumbling something about forgetting her purse, lol. Al never missed a beat – he looked up, winked at me, and went back to work.
The experience was amazing – a highlight for me in every sense of the word – my sister, the adrenaline rush, laughing all the way home, the sunlight on my skin and the freedom of it all. my body, my skin, mine to do with as I please…all wrapped up in my tattoo, all in a few lines of ink.