Thing #68 completed: Get another tattoo!


IMG_3672So in May last year I got a tattoo, after many years of thinking about it. (You can read the story of why I wanted a tattoo here, and see the first one here.) It was a simple black outline of a phoenix in the shape of a heart, and I love it. But …. over the months I realised that much as I loved it, I wanted a bit of colour on there, but I had no idea what. And then it came to me – a small red rose inside the heart.

Being the daughter of a Yorkshire lass I guess I should have stayed well away – and everyone knows I hate red roses. Or rather, up till now I hated red roses. See, the relationship with my children's father, who I left in 2001, was rocky to say the least, and every time we had an argument he bought me red roses as an apology – and I quickly grew to hate roses as a result.

Sadly, he died seven weeks ago today. I've been completely side-swiped by the emotions that have hit me as a result. While we weren't close when he was alive he was the father of my children and I knew him for half my lifetime, and I've been left feeling not relieved but deeply sad for my children, sad that I won't be able to share their future with him and sad for the waste of a life.

And then it came to me. Why not reclaim the rose for myself, and at the same time have a lasting memory of someone who I did love, once, and who I find I'm missing more than I ever anticipated.

So this one is for me: for freedom, for emancipation, for love for myself and those around me. And it's for you too, Ian. Rest in peace, you old bugger.

Thanks to Amy at Real U Tattoo, Oxford for bringing my idea to life!


I got a tattoo!


About three weeks ago I wrote about why I wanted a tattoo and why I’d finally decided now was the time to get one. Well last Thursday I finally did it – one more thing crossed off the list! I’d already chosen a design though I knew it would need adapting for the place I wanted it – the inside of my right wrist. I also knew who I wanted to do it – Amy of Real U Tattoo in Oxford, who came highly recommended by a friend who has some gorgeous tattoos. So on Thursday, following a meeting which was shorter than planned and a time-killing trip to Maccy D’s for a pre-tattoo meal of Big Mac and chips, I found myself sitting outside Amy’s tattoo studio in Oxford, nervously awaiting my appointment.

The tattoo design I loved ...

The process started with Amy redrawing my design on some tracing paper, and then transferring it onto something that looked like carbon paper ready to put on my wrist. The design I’d chosen was wide and narrow and needed to be narrower and higher, and the first one Amy did was too big, but she was happy to redraw it. Then she transferred the image onto my wrist – first time I wasn’t happy with the placement, but she wiped it off and did it again – better to get it right when it’s just a transfer than when it’s indelible ink in my skin I guess! Actually, Amy was totally fab – I was really nervous but she was chatty and bubbly and reassured me that I’d be fine, and  by the time I was sitting in the chair my nerves had gone completely!

So there I was, in the chair, with my little heart phoenix on my wrist, ready for the needle. Amy got set up – and reassured me that she uses one use needles and tips, so there’s no risk of infection – and we were ready to go. I braced myself as the needle touched my skin …. but was that it? Really?! Rather than the searing pain I was expecting, the needle just felt like an annoying scratch. Very surprising! I think I only winced once or twice, and even then it wasn’t anything approaching unbearable pain. Giving blood is more painful!

... and my finished tattoo!

The design took about 15-20 minutes and then it was done – and I loved it! It was actually quite a lot larger than I had originally intended – but I think it would have looked a bit stupid any smaller. Amy wrapped my arm in clingfilm, gave me some advice on aftercare and I left the studio with a beaming grin on my face. I was an inked woman!

Four days on I’m still in love with my tattoo. It’s a bit scabby now, and the scab is starting to flake and break in places. It’s not particularly itchy but  my skin does feel quite tight, and I can’t wait for the scabs to go so I can see what it really looks like.

I’ve had lots of compliments on my phoenix so far, which is great. I was a bit wary of flaunting it at business meetings but I’ve been to two so far and not had anything negative happen. And anyway, if someone decides to change their opinion of me or judge me based on the tattoo on my wrist then that’s their problem, not mine!

Would I do it again. You know what? I think I probably will! I still want that poppy and butterflies I’ve yearned for for years, so that will probably be the next one. And maybe a dandelion, and a forget-me-not …. after that we’ll see!


Why I’m getting a tattoo


A couple of years ago I put together a list of 101 things I wanted to do in 1001 days – things like “see the Northern Lights” and “join a book club” and “dye my hair a mad colour”. There was one thing missing from the list though – but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for over 10 years. Get a tattoo. This is the story of why it wasn’t on the list … and why it is now.

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