it has been 11 days since physical realization of my tattoo. it is by no means my first, but it is most definitely the biggest and the most noticeable. the others are mostly small and inconspicuously placed so that unless you know i have them, or catch them in a quick glance, you probably are unaware that i have a total of 6. in fact, there is even one that nine times out of ten, people think is drawn on by myself (which was entirely the point). what i am working my way towards here, is that this latest one is both noticeable and definitely not inked on by my own right hand every morning.
my own history with tattoos has been ongoing since i was of legal age. i have had mixed responses to them, even once having customers walk out of the boutique i managed once they saw the inside of my arm (which is also a koi fish). i went through the typical unveiling of the college student to the parents when i came home with the word "love" scrawled across my left forearm and three outlined sparrows on my left shoulder. and while at first, some people may see tattoos as irrational or rebellious (or even drunken) choices made at the drop of a hat, i am very proud to say that none of mine have ever been spontaneous purchases. and while i do joke that they are the ultimate accessory and the cost per wear is virtually zip after so many wears, i do not take the markings i have placed on my body lightly.
this most recent piece of art has been in the works for well over five years. it first manifested when i was 19 and was developing an idea for a koi fish on my inner left bicep. after two years of planning that one, i knew that it would be only half complete and that it would one day be matched by a koi facing the other direction on the outside of my arm. the first koi was my 21st birthday present to myself. for the past three years i have been mentally preparing for this next step. i had to be at peace with everything this tattoo would bring - both pure happiness for myself, and the occasional disgust at it from the public. after i had mentally committed, it still took me another year to physically commit to even making the appointment. the instantaneous excitement and anticipation once i did alerted me to the fact that waiting so long and really being prepared was worth everything.
the artist who created this one, and three of my others, is a pure genius. and i know i am biased when i say this, but without his artistry, trust and genuine enthusiasm for what he does, i don't know if i would have the relationship that i have with tattoos. it is so important for me to feel safe in the hands of someone else when i am making huge life changes (which i truly feel that tattoos are because they become a part of you) and there is nothing more this guy could do to make me feel that safety. i know that when i am in his chair, i am with one of the best. nothing can replace a talented tattoo artist, especially one that devotes so much time and energy to creating a piece of art that makes you both happy. i am eternally grateful for the effort, time and talent that he put into creating this for me.
so while tattoos are not everyone's walk in the park. they are definitely one of mine. i completely respect that people have different approaches to how they choose what they place on their body. for me, it is probably one of the closest moments to a religious experience that i will ever have.
the artist that created this amazing work is Tree. he owns his own shop called West Side Ink in Tuolumne City, CA and you can visit their facebook page here!