One of the things that distinguish me from the rest of the human race, other than the fact that I stand a TOWERING four feet eleven inches (yes 4’11”) is that I have eleven (12) tattoos. I got my first one when I was nineteen and have no intention of stopping anytime soon. I’ve been obsessed with them since I was little. They’re my favorite part of me.
I get asked about them a lot; what they mean, why I picked it, if it hurt, the back-story, etc. So, I’m writing this so I can give people the link to my blog instead of spending forever talking about them.
So without further ado. . .
1. (Purple heart with eight note) I was 19 when I got this one. It was totally unplanned. I was sitting in the Chinese place in what was then Parkway City Mall in Huntsville with my friend Mark, and we were discussing what we wanted to do that evening. I tossed around the idea of getting second holes, no, third holes in my ears, when all of the sudden I knew it was time. I’ve been obsessed with tattoos since I was little, and I was ready for one. I didn’t even know what I wanted. After eating, we were off to Magic Needles in Huntsville. I would recommend them to anyone. I looked at the flash on the wall, and looked in the portfolios, and didn’t see anything I wanted, and I was bummed. We rode around for a while, to look for more tattoo shops, and didn’t find one that didn’t look WAY shady. I decided to go back to Magic Needles to look at more portfolios. I flipped and flipped and flipped until I saw it. This tiny heart no bigger than a quarter with an eighth note inside. I knew that was it. I had been into singing since I was a kid, and was a member of the Street Singers at Snead. I asked if the chick artist could do it because the dude that hooked me up with the paperwork looked scary. I know, major faux pas. It only took about ten minutes to complete, and I couldn’t stop giggling the whole time.
2. (Writing around the heart) It was a few days before a trip to Nashville with a group of friends when I decided that it was time for another one. It was one year later, so I was 20. I figured Nashville would be the perfect place to get a new tat as there are bunches of shops there. So, after one failed attempt at finding a place, on the last day, we found one that was open and could take me. My friend Mandy videotaped the experience. The tattoo reads “La Vie Boheme” which means “the bohemian life” and is also a song from RENT which I and a few of the group saw a couple days before, and I love it. Still do. It was done at The Queen of Hearts studio.
3. It’s on my upper right thigh if you’re wondering. This was done in October of 2002 at a shop that for the life of me I can’t remember the name of in Auburn. Two special ladies by the name of April and Leslie got this same tattoo because we were in a play called “Dancing at Lughnasa” and the play was set in Ireland. Not to mention, all three of us are Irish girls to the core. Our feet may be planted in ‘bama, but our hearts are in Ireland. It’s small too, a little bigger than a quarter.
4. I got this one a couple months after I moved to Jacksonville. . .summer of ‘03. I got it in Jacksonville at a place called Exotic Tattoo and Piercing. I picked it out about ten minutes before I went to get it. The original flash had this ugly black tribal marking behind the flowers, but luckily the artist could do only the flowers. He liked the end result so much that he took a picture. This one doesn’t really have any specific meaning, I just liked it a lot and wanted something colorful to mark this new chapter in my life.
5. This symbol is called a triquetra. I know you’ve seen it before. It’s typically done with a circle where the heart is. I got these (I got this one and number six on the same day) at a huge turning point in my life that I don’t want to go into. This one just is just another little symbol of my Irishness. It is widely believed that it’s a pagan symbol, but the first known instance of this symbol being used is on The Book of Kells, which is an illustrated book of the Gospels. Because of this it is also a popular symbol for the holy trinity. I got the heart instead of a circle to remind me not to give away my own heart so freely. This was done in the fall of ‘06. Yes, it hurt. A lot.
6. This is a claddagh. I know you’ve seen it before. Like I said, I got this one the same day as number five. The heart symbolizes love, the hands friendship, and the crown loyalty. I’ve always loved this symbol. This is another symbol that echoes the turning point I was going through, because without my friends and family I could not have gotten through it. These two were done at Exotic, which was under new management by an AMAZING artist named TC. He’s not there anymore, and it makes me very sad. I would take that two hour trek to get inked by him.
7. Another TC piece done in the spring of ‘07. This is known as a celtic tree, or a version of it anyway. The Irish view the tree as sacred because they symbolize protection and sustenance. So, why I got “mom” tattooed under it should be self-explanatory. It was her Mother’s Day present that year. Yes, she cried. Well, first she was miffed because she only saw the tree part, but then she saw the “mom” part. Then she cried.
8. Again, by TC in the summer of ‘07. This one is a sad one. In 2004 I got this precious kitten who I named Helena. She was my little companion, and hated everyone in the universe but me. She really helped get me through those aforementioned tough times. In the summer of ‘07 she started having seizures unexpectedly and the vets could not get them to stop. I had to have her put down, and it was so hard. To me she was still a baby. There’s a line in the musical Wicked that says “You’ll be with me, like a handprint on my heart.” Well, in this case, it’s a paw print.
9. This is the symbol for Chi (Qi). Chi is defined as “the basic circulating energy of life”. I got this one as I was moving home after I lost my job due to my having Fibromyalgia. Having that, along with the Chronic Fatigue almost makes you lose that, as sometimes it takes everything you have just to get out of bed. This was done November of ‘07, by another WONDERFUL artist named Kao at Artistic Ink at the top of the mountain in Guntersville. Definitely go check him out.
10. This was done in the spring of ‘08 at Magic Needles in Huntsville, also a good place. It’s another Fibro tattoo. The symbol for the National Fibromyalgia Association is a butterfly, and the color for chronic pain illnesses is purple. I got this design from a lapel pin, and decided it needed to be on me forever. The funniest comment about it I ever got about it was something like - It’s going to be super cute when you’re a granny, with your short white hair and pearls, with that neck tattoo. LOL
11. I always said I would never get a tramp stamp. “They’re too trendy.” I said. “I don’t want to look like a slutty club girl.” I said. Well, this was the only place where this could be put and easily shown. . .and I love this line a lot. Again, it’s from RENT. If you can’t read it, it says “The opposite of war isn’t peace… it’s creation.” This is probably my favorite tattoo out of all the ones I have on me. Kao did this one too. . .go check him out! Girls, he’s a cutie pie too. ;~)
Number 12 is coming soon. I’m excited about it!
(Edit: I type my entries ahead of time)
Number 12 is on me now, and here he is:
I ran across this image as I was looking for a cool anchor for a tribute tat to my Grandpa, who was in the navy. This design was even better because it contains a cross, an anchor, and a heart. The anchor, I've already explained, is because he was in the Navy. He was a dental assistant during the Korean Conflict. The cross, because he had my happy tail in church unless I had a major illness that could result in him getting thrown up on. The heart is self-explanatory. I was the only grandkid with a nick-name. He called me "Baby".