One morning in late May 2000, I woke up and decided I wanted a tattoo. I was 25 years old and about to start graduate school. I was the antithesis of the impulsive 18 year-old hellbent on getting drunk and "getting inked." I was a married, mild-mannered travel agent with a mortgage who was eager to earn a Master's Degree in Spanish. By the end of the day, I had a simple black star tattoo on my lower left back/upper hip. The entire piece took 10 minutes and was the size of a quarter. I loved it. A couple of months later, I found myself getting another tattoo, a Celtic design that was larger, boasted some color, and located on my upper back, between my shoulders. That piece was a bit more painful and as a result, I told myself I was "done" with tattoos. Less than a year later, I had a black line moon tattoo on my lower right leg/ankle. So much for "being done."
Regardless of my suburban and professional life, I continued to get more tattoos. I am not sure if my fascination with tattoos stems from being an artist but there is just something about body art that enchants me. Nevertheless, as I ventured further into the world of ink, I transitioned from small, basic black outline pieces to large, full-color designs. Whenever I completed a tattoo session, I thought, "that's it. This time I am done." Nope. Not by a long shot.
In early 2007, I was preparing for my annual Colorado ski trip 2008 and I had this idea that it would be "cool" for me to get a half-sleeve cherry blossom and snowflake tattoo. I thought there's no better way to capture my love of Colorado than getting tattooed in Colorado. With this burning scheme in my head, I called a tattoo studio in Breckenridge and made an appointment for the last full day I was in town.
On the morning of my appointment, I woke up feeling a nervousness I never experienced. All of the tattoos I sat for previously were small and quick. This tattoo, however, would be the first "big piece." I took a few deep breaths and told myself I could do it. Later that afternoon, I met my artist, Kauri Tiyme, and after filling out necessary paperwork, I sat in her chair and the next five and a half hours flew by! When Kauri was done, I had a masterpiece on my skin. I felt amazing. I had the privilege of sitting in Kauri's chair for five more sessions, continuing in late summer of 2007 and ending on the 24th of September 2008. Sadly, on the 22nd of October, 2008, Kauri was killed. In the wake of Kauri's untimely and unfair death, I did not get tattooed for four years. I couldn't. I felt like if I got another tattoo, I would be cheapening Kauri's memory.
However, a year ago, I had a talk with a good friend of Kauri's and she told me that Kauri would have wanted me to move on and that the process of getting tattooed again could be a way to "let go" of the sorrow I was harboring for so long.
In October 2012, I sat for beautiful alpine forget-me-not floral and starburst tattoo with artist Liaa Walter of Cirque Du Rouge Tattoo studio in Washington, D.C. I had the piece done on my inner left forearm. After our session was over, I felt a cleansing and lifting that I cannot describe. Words will never do it justice.
Since last fall, Liaa has touched up a couple of tattoos and created two lovely pieces for me. In May, I had my father's words added to a flower tattoo I had done in 2006 and then fixed by Kauri in 2008.
And just last week, Liaa covered up my very first tattoo, the ugly star, with this gorgeous peony bowl of beauty flower:
I sat for this tattoo for nearly two hours. Let me tell you, it hurt. It hurt like hell. Due to the proximity of my spine, the nerve-endings are very sensitive because they branch out from the vertebrae. Thus, this was one painful piece. Despite the "ow factor," I am simply overjoyed with the stunning outcome! Moreover, in late October, on the afternoon of Halloween to be exact, I am going back to Liaa so she can touch up my Celtic design and add more to it. That tattoo is going to be a bit "squirrely," but I know I will endure.