I’ve been interested in tattoos for the past 20 years. At first I figured I’d never get one because I didn’t want to be the old lady in the nursing home with tattoos. But then I started thinking what I’d really want as a tattoo. I wanted something meaningful, but I couldn’t decide what I wanted. Over the years I’d look at tattoo pictures online, from super nerdy things to incredibly artistic ones. I’d see folks on the CTA covered in tats and I’d admire them debating if it was an image I’d want on me forever.
Finally, about a month or two ago, I came across a tumblr of tattoos and while paging through them an idea hit me. And the imagery was exactly perfect. I wanted a phoenix. The past few years of my life have been total shit. But I’ve survived and I’ve managed to rise from the ashes that had become my life. Once I made that decision I realized I needed to find someone who could bring that image to life. I started doing my research to figure out where to get this done, and by who. After looking through a pile of portfolios and reading online reviews, I decided on Heath Rave at Speakeasy Custom Tattoo. Heath has that traditional style of tattooing that I pictured in my head. But also, I just like all the stuff he’s done.
I emailed Heath and he was immediately responsive, asking me to come in for a consultation. He was concerned that I’d want some other kind of phoenix than what he had in his head. I guess some people think phoenix and see a bird on fire. But I was all, “Oh yeah, no… I want the Asian style phoenix…like a REAL phoenix.” He was pleased that we were on the same page. We scheduled an appointment to begin and then about a week later he emailed me to reschedule. Apparently both of us missed that Riot Fest was the weekend of our appointment. So it was a good thing we rescheduled. Then the next appointment approached and Heath emailed me to reschedule again. (I LOVE EMAIL! I’m not kidding I’m all about emailing people.) He was recovering from a respiratory infection. I’ve been there, multiple times, it sucks. So we ended up with an appointment after work.
Naturally the day of my appointment was incredibly slow, until about 4pm when I was wanting to be wrapping up to leave. Luckily Heath once again emailed me to push back the time a half hour. I was so relieved. Others may have gotten annoyed with the constant changes, but I had no problem with it. It all worked out to my advantage.
So I know you’re biggest question is, did it hurt?
Well, yes… it hurts. You’re creating a wound on your body. A needle is electronically being jammed into your skin depositing ink there. Some people told me it was like a bee sting.But I’ve never been stung by a bee so I can’t really talk to that. I’d say it’s more like an electronic, vibrating cat scratch, over and over. In some places it’s not so bad, but in other places it’s kinda like you want to rip the dude’s eyes out of his head.
I know you’re next question is “But WHY?”
Well, I like the look of tattoos. And for about 20 years I’ve wanted one but I’ve held off. Good thing to or I’d be covered in dolphins, Tigger, kittens and skulls. It’s important to make sure you get something you can live with forever. If you’ve got any hesitation, don’t do it. The minute that buzzing needle hits your skin, you’ve got something that will be there forever. Make sure you’re cool with it.
I’m commemorating overcoming something that could easily have ripped me apart. Nearly five years of being beat down. I figure a few hours of pain is the price to pay to have this beautiful outcome. Exactly what has happened for me now, I’ve landed on my feet and risen from the ashes.
I manged to survive the hour and a half it took for him to outline the phoenix. Now I’m waiting for that to heal so I can go back and get the coloring and shading. I keep getting questions about what colors… I don’t know. I’m leaving it up to the professional artist. He knows what’s going to look good. I’m not trying to match this thing to my eyes or hair. It’ll be whatever color it needs to be to look bad ass. I think it already looks pretty damned bad ass as is.