Thursday, August 29, 2013

New Tattoos!

Tattoos!  Whether you have them or not and whether you like them or not, tattoos are a fixture in the rockabilly/vintage culture.  Despite the fact that mainstream society still hesitant to accept body art, I have never felt more proud to collect and display my tattoos! 

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.

As some of you may recall, my father has Alzheimer's and as a result, he is not able to write much anymore.  This tattoo was created by tracing my dad's words he wrote to me in a letter on my 18th birthday.  A couple of years ago, I found the letter whilst sorting through storage bins in my closet.  This letter is one of my prized possessions and I can so happy Liaa captured the little subtleties and nuances of my father's once beautiful handwriting. 

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.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Girl World" Strikes at the Makeup Counter

First and foremost, I would like to apologize for my absence!  This summer has been chock-full of travel, work, a vicious cold, sick kitties, and more work.  Nevertheless, now that life is seemingly 'back to normal' (what is "normal" anyway?), I am anxious to jump back into blogging!

With that said, I would like to address the post at hand: Girl World.  What exactly is "Girl World" you ask?  Let me explain.  Girl World is what I deem the subtle nuances, behaviors, and that energies that occur between women.  When we are young, we learn quickly what sly glances signify and how whispers literally speak volumes.  Moreover, we become familiar with the way a girlfriend can say "I'm fine" but we know she's is not.  With a few questions along with that look that says, "Girl, I am here fore you. You can lean on me," she's confiding in you.

As we age, we develop a sixth sense that heralds a power that can be used for "good and evil." This sixth sense so-to-speak can be an amazing tool to reach out and connect with the other women in our lives. However, this same element can be utilized for sinister intents like spreading gossip, being catty, and basically talking smack to bring down your fellow sisters-in-arms.

To the outside world, the delicate and elusive forces at play go unnoticed. A snicker accompanied by a fast glance can often be construed as mere happenstance but in Girl World, it's a crushing cacophony of alienation and shame.  We know they are talking about us.  We feel it.  In Girl World, we have a language all our own and we know it.

So, let me tell you how Girl World came to "strike" at Macy's Impulse Beauty in Boca Raton Town Center in Boca Raton, Florida.  In early June, I went to Boca Raton to visit family and one day, I went to the Inglot counter for some needed products.  As I approached the counter, I noticed a sales associate sitting in a chair at the adjacent Benefit counter.  She sneered at me and turned to other employees and loudly stated, "I am NOT helping her."  I was shocked. What? Did she just say that out loud?  She knows I can hear, right?  Wow.  Just Wow. 

After a deep breath and not wanting to get upset, I proceeded to browse at the various eyeshadows, pencils, and lipsticks.  Within a few minutes, the Inglot sales associate came over and assisted me with my purchase.  I ended up buying stuff because I wanted it but I really wanted to walk away and deny them the satisfaction of that sale.  In addition, as the Inglot associate rang up my final purchase at the register, I overheard hushed voices saying, "Oh my god! I know! Her dress! Ha ha ha!!"  The sales associate at the register was trying hard to keep a straight face as her colleagues carried on like bitchy teenage wannabes.  I could tell she was in on the joke at my expense yet I did not have the chutzpah to say anything.  Dammit.  I feel like my makeup lust made me into a sitting duck, gossip fodder, and basically a sucker.  I walked away and went back to my in-laws, feeling shitty.

When I returned home to D.C., I immediately filed a complaint with Macy's regarding my experience.  I will tell you this, despite my cosmetic addiction and admiration for Inglot, I will NEVER EVER set foot in that Macy's again. 

Even though I took the high road, I so wanted to tell those women to "**** Off!"  I wanted to say, "Hey bitches!  I know you are throwing shade at me! Cancel the sale! Where the **** is your supervisor?!" But, I didn't.   I walked away.  Was my lady-like demeanor and handling of the situation not the right way to conduct myself?  I think I have more to lose if I "lose my cool."  How do I navigate Girl World while holding my head high?