I was about sixteen when I first thought about getting a tattoo. It wasn’t even an option at the time. I would think about what I wanted. Where I would put it. This little dream went around and around in my mind for quite a few years. I made a deal with myself that if I still really wanted a tattoo when I was 30 then I would get one. They are permanent after all and I wanted to be sure.
The idea never went away. The design changed many times depending on how I was feeling at any particular moment. When I turned 30 the idea was bigger than ever. I had a design idea I wanted that had meaning to me. I had a color scheme that was personal to me and I had an appointment at a place that had a great reputation.
There weren’t many things I did for me prior to getting this tattoo. This was a big deal. It was a way to stand out as me. It let me express myself in a way that no one could take away from me.
I went by myself for my tattoo appointment. There were not a lot of ways to do research on designs at the time. I knew I wanted to get purple roses because they were unique. They don’t exist naturally in nature. They would be a permanent gift to me and they would never wilt or die. I looked through the books of tattoo designs at the tattoo parlor and found the roses design I really liked. I had them put on my back left shoulder because I knew I could cover it up easily if I needed too. This was important as well. Yes I wanted to be free to do what I wanted but I also had this urge to not ‘go against the norm’. Things change over time though.
The purple roses remained my only tattoo for three years.
I was in the middle of a divorce from my first husband and dating a young man, much younger than me who wanted to get a tattoo. I went with him for his first tattoo and he insisted I pick one out too. This is when I got my female pirate with her leg up on a treasure chest. I call her Megan. She is the only tattoo that I wish I would have thought more about before getting. I don’t regret getting her but would have gone to a more reputable parlor. The tattoo artist was not very good and didn’t have good attention to details. Megan was originally topless with bikini bottoms & boots on. It was about six months later that I had a short top added and some sunglasses to fix her eyes. Megan resides on the outside of my left calf. Technically she counts as two tattoos because of the touch up round. She represents my badass side. I love female pirates, they represent standing up for what you believe in no matter what.
A year later I got a tattoo with my second husband Coal that said our last name with a swirl underneath on my upper left arm. This was done the weekend after we got married. At the time it seemed like a good idea because I was trying to convince everyone around me that this marriage was for love. What better way than to tattoo a name on your body. Yep, regrets for that one. My one piece of tattoo advice that many others have said. Don’t put a spouses name on your body. No matter how ‘perfect’ is seems at the time. 🙂 If you just gotta, then do a symbol of some kind that represents but not the name itself.
A year after that, for our first anniversary, Coal and I went for another tattoo to celebrate. That is when I got my mask tattoo on my left arm under the name/swirl tattoo. The mask represented me hiding. I was hiding from being my authentic self and was always looking at the world from behind a mask. It seemed fitting, still does. Most people think it is a butterfly but if you look close you can see the eyes peering out.
A few years later I got a feather on my right ankle with my closest friend at the time. She got one too. We got them because I was moving to Oregon and this was our way of staying connected. Feathers are always a message from the universe for me. When I find a feather I know it is a message letting me know I am on the right path.
For my bachelorette party for my marriage to Darren (3rd time is the charm), me and all my lovely ladies who were there to support me got tattoo’s. This is when I had a custom fairy created to cover up the name from my second marriage. Her name is Faye and she represents the fun, silly and sarcastic side of me. She hides the little annoyances of my past and keeps me remembering not to take life so seriously.
Talking to the tattoo artist at my bachelorette party we discussed the back tattoo I always wanted. He was open to doing it on his own time at his place. This was a big deal because it was going to save me thousands of dollars. It took about six months of Sundays at two hours a session to complete it. My back now has my goddess on it. She protects me and keeps me balanced through all the phases of life. Her name is Trinity. She is maiden, mother and crone. She represents the strength I need to get through whatever life presents.
My next tattoo is in memory of my daughter. Her name was Kat and she loved cats. It includes paw prints with claws because life wasn’t easy when she was fighting her demons. It is done in watercolors to say there are no borders any longer. It has the word Believe, so I never forget to believe that I am capable of getting through anything. It is on the top of my right shoulder so she has the ability to whisper in my ear if she is with me. I got this tattoo with one of Kat’s best friends Missi after her memorial. She got the same one.
The following July on Kat’s 1st Angelversary, I added a butterfly to the believe tattoo. The top of the antennas have the year Kat was born and mingled in the wings are the year she passed. This was a symbol of letting her fly free. My neighbor Mar’z got the same butterfly with me. We were on a trip to spread her ashes and it was a fitting end to the experience.
The following year on Kat’s 2nd Angelversary, two of her other close friends and I went and got a memorial tattoo together. We had a paw print Kat drew on one side of a swirly line and a butterfly on the other. The paw print represents her life here on earth. The swirly line represents the ups and downs of her life. The butterfly represents where she is now. We all see butterflies alot now where there usually wasn’t butterflies previously. This tattoo is on the top of our right foot so we can see it often. This one definitely hurt more than the others.
The next year on Kat’s 3rd Angelversary I felt the need to add one for me. One that could help me through the hard times. A symbol that was more about me than about Kat. I was tired of being sad and needed to move forward. I have a business called BluSparkle, which represents to me adding happy into the world. I asked the tattoo artist to do something with blue, and sparkles on my wrist. I said I also love swirls. She came up with the blue swirly bracelet with sparkles the resides on my left wrist. It is simple, elegant and always makes me smile. Mission accomplished.
The next year was big for me in the healing process. I wanted to really start helping people. I needed to make a difference. I took a Life Coaching class to find out I already have the skills. One of the things that came out of that class though was the I learned the phrase ‘Life Is A School’. Those words resonated with me. On Kat’s 4th Angelversary I had an anklet made of the words ‘Life Is A School’ on my right ankle making the feather that was there before dangle from the anklet/words. I had another feather added representing my two children.
On Kat’s 5th Angelversary, Kat’s friends had a need to celebrate Kat’s life. We added onto our foot tattoo the words “Eternally With Me”. Just so there will be no doubt that she won’t be forgotten. This is the end of the memorial tatt’s in Kat’s honor.
This past year I gained custody of my grandson, Kat’s son. On that day I got a tattoo on my right lower arm. The only tat that shows all the time. This has five large hearts representing each of my biological grandchildren with their names and birth years. Plus 10 little hearts representing my 10 chosen grandchildren. I will have to add an 11th heart later this year, as we have a new little one on the way.
Last I got a tattoo for the major loves of my life. My two kids. It is the most detailed and complex in meaning. It has two books stacked on each other. One larger one representing my son with his name Justin on the bind. It is green to represent his Army career. It has four blue lines representing his four daughters. It has a book mark about a fourth of the way through representing how far along he is in this life. On top of his book is a thinner book representing Kat with the name Catz and Kat on the bind. This tells the story of before and after bi-polar took hold of her. It also is a bright yellow on the side of the book that says Catz and transitions into and orange and then into a dark purple for the side that says Kat. This is to show the change in her through her battle. It is thinner with no bookmark to represent her shorter life of 22 years. On top of the books is an owl representing my spirit animal. The owl’s name is Hedwig for my love of Harry Potter and it’s representation of imagination. I love imagination. Hedwig is drinking a cup of coffee with steam in the shape of a heart rising from it. This represents my husband Darren who makes me coffee almost every morning that makes me smile and keeps me from being grumpy. Around this tattoo are the words from Dr. Who “We are all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.” This adds a little of my sci fi side with the Dr. Who quote plus includes a piece for the writer in me. I have always loved putting words down on paper. I also believe we each have the opportunity to be the author of our own stories. Making it a good one is the goal.
How many tattoo’s do I have?
- Purple Roses on left shoulder on back – July 1994
- Megan, female pirate on left calf – 1997
- Megan touch up (addition to 2) – 1997
- Name / Swirl on left upper arm – June 1998
- Mask on left arm – June 1999
- Feather on right ankle – May 2002
- Faye, fairy cover up of Name on left upper arm – Oct 2004
- Trinity, goddess on back – summer 2005
- Believe / footprints on top right shoulder – Nov 2008
- Butterfly front right shoulder (addition to 9) – July 27, 2009
- Paw Print / Butterfly / Swirl top right foot – July 27, 2010
- Sparkle Swirl bracelet on left wrist – July 27, 2011
- Life is a School / Feathers right ankle (addition to 6) – July 27, 2012
- Eternally With Me on top right foot (addition to 11) – July 27, 2013
- Grandkids Tattoo on right lower arm – Oct. 25, 2018
- Kids Tattoo on right upper arm – Nov. 20, 2018
The walk through memory lane of my tattoo’s tells a story of the last twenty five years of my life. Pieces of it anyway. The only additions I will be adding are the little one hearts for my chosen grandchildren.
All of my tattoos help me. They are for me. They are one thing that has always been about me. They each have a story. They each give me strength. They are my self-expression of me, for me.
Yep, they are addictive. 😉