Happy Wednesday friends! Last week I decided to cover up my first ever tattoo as a birthday present to myself. Me and my mom traveled to London to a talented tattoo artist to cover my insecurity and give me back my confidence.
Do you have tattoos? Have you ever seconded guessed your decision after the ink was already permanent?
When I was 18 years old a lot of changes were happening in my life and within my self. I was off at my first year of college, I was doing long a distance relationship, my mom was dating again, and I hadn’t identified my mental health diagnosis yet. Previous to this year I had one best friend all through grade 5-12. We did everything together, from sleepovers to prom. I hadn’t fully understood how toxic our friendship was until a few weeks after making the decision to permanently mark up my body with matching tattoos with her.
I don’t want to get into it fully but to make a long story short, she was never happy for my successes or gains in life, it was always about her, and thats not what a true friendship should be. The day after getting our tattoos I fell into a deep depression and was contacting all different agencies that could remove the tattoo. I couldn’t stand to look at it, it made me sick to my stomach. I couldn’t leave bed I was so ashamed of myself. I cried endless nights into Spencers arm of how much I hated it, and myself and bagged him not to leave me. At the time crying and sleeping made sense, looking back it was a bit dramatic but thats thanks to medication for my anxiety and depression and the constant support of my boyfriend.
It was a rash decision that went from a thought to reality within a week or two, certainly not enough time to actually think and plan something so permanent. I was also acting out against my mother, so that weighed heavily on why I wanted to get it. Once we got to the shop we had planned for the bows to be on either side of my ribs, but then were talked into getting them on our forearm. I don’t think I would have made such a big deal about it if I didn’t have to see it everyday, whereas on the ribs I could cover it and pretend it wasn’t there. Not to bash the tattoo artist either, he did an incredible job with the shading.
About a month after getting the tattoo I “ghosted” my friend before ghosting was even a thing. In retrospect I could have handled it better but I was too pissed off at the world and her to care. We had a good friendship but it was time for it to end and for me to expand my social skills and live outside of her shadow. If she ever does read this, I’m sorry for the way I handled everything, I should have handled it better.
Fast forward to today, I am 23 years old living with my boyfriend surrounded by amazing friends and finally decided what to do with my little bow. It needed to be covered up. No more explaining my past. Now I get to explain the growing love for myself the last few years have taught me.
The day after my 23rd birthday my mom and I went to get tattoos together. I went in with completely different thoughts on the final look, I wanted multiple roses and a moon invoked, but I was talked to by the experienced artist and decided one rose would be better.
THE MEANING BEHIND IT
I have spent years thinking about what I wanted to cover my bow, and usually it was some type of flower. But I love a lot of different flowers, and me being the most indecisive person ever, could never settle on one. Until it became clear. Rose. My Nana’s name, my mothers middle name, and the meaning of love. I thought it was the perfect way to show my love for myself and these two important women in my life.
During my trip to Thunder Bay, a drunken night turned into an impromptu tattoo planning session. I planned out what I wanted with Spencer and Nate and then texted my mom to tell her to think abut getting one with me. That text turned into reality a month later. I obviously didn’t get what I had planned then but everything fell into place either way. It took me a few years to figure out what I wanted but it finally happened. I’m 23 and feel more myself than ever and felt confident in my decision.
WHERE I WENT
I got my bow done at Neon Crab in London, ON. I cant remember who did the work but despite my thoughts on it, he did do a lovely job.
I got my rose done at Hanger 18 in London, ON by Sean Strouse. I was a bit hesitant going with this particular artist as his opinion is very strong, but he does know what he’s talking about as he’s being doing this for close to 30 years. He was pleasant to talk to while he was working, encouraging through the 2 hour process, and very quick for the quality I got. I was worried about the flower being too cartoony but I think it looks very life like and amazing detail in the shading.
During my appointment my hand seized and my face started to twitch, I was sure I was going to pass out. Numbing cream would have been a good call for a 2 hour appointment. I was anxious I made a bad call again, taking advice of yet another person besides my own. The car ride home was silent as I was falling down a rabbit hole of negative thoughts.
A day later I came out of my head and actually looked at the art on my body, and I fell in love. My best friend told me it looked “pretty and bad ass at the same time” and now I completely agree. It feels like me and a true part of my body, like it was always meant to be there.
Thank you Sean for doing such amazing work and covering up my past and making it into a flourishing future of self love.