Monday, June 28, 2010

Tattoo U

So, yesterday I did something I've been meaning to do for a long time: I got a tattoo.

Here is the finished tattoo, wrapped in saran wrap.

Some people who know me a little might think this is odd, but people who know me well won't be surprised. For about ten years, I've known the motif I wanted for my tattoo, I simply never made time to do it. I've been taking a class about making your dreams a reality (click the Mondo Beyondo button to the right if you want to know more) so I decided that it was time to get inked.

For a design, I wanted a Pisces symbol formed by two catfish. Why?

Pisces: I was born under the sign of Pisces, and while I don't believe in astrology, I have always felt a deep affinity for my sign. Pisces are known as "old souls" -- creative, empathetic, fluid, and loving shoes. Well, that has to do with the fact that the foot is the body part related to the Pisces.

Catfish: Obviously, I'm known by the name Catfish by many. I was given the name during my summer camp-counseling days, and it's become a part of my identity. The catfish is an amazing animal, perfectly adapted to the many environments in which it can be found. Often thought of as an ugly bottom-dweller, the catfish is actually a triumph of evolution. There are walking catfish that can walk from puddle to puddle when water dries up; electric catfish that zap their food with 350 volts; giant catfish in the Mekong River which are revered by the Lao people; and even catfish fathers who protect their young by keeping them in their mouths. The catfish reminds me of the power of flexibility in the face of difficulty.

So, knowing that I wanted to deck my skin with these symbols, my friend Sara talked to a tattoo artist who has worked with her and her husband, Jason Phillips of FTW Tattoo in Oakland. Jason worked up a drawing, which he had ready when I showed up yesterday.

I was thrilled with the drawing and excited to get started -- I really wasn't too nervous. I was prepared for the pain, which I'd had described as the level of a bee sting -- a bunch of bee stings, going on for a couple of hours. But I'm not afraid of needles. In fact, I'm sort of fascinated by them.

This is an unflattering picture of me getting the tattoo. Ironically, I was wearing my "preppy outfit." I had to hold this position for a couple of hours.

I thought the pain was quite reasonable -- in fact, it actually tickled in a couple of places.

The outline was done first, and hurt the most. We took a quick break when the outline was done. I walked around -- it felt a little like a sunburn. The hardest part was actually holding still while lying on my side.

And here's the finished piece:

Thanks to Jason and his beautiful design, and Sara for sitting with me and talking with me for a few hours while Jason worked his magic.


Unknown said...

Yay for doing something on your list!

Mondo Beyondo looks really interesting... must explore it some more.

Anonymous said...

Great design - and the ideas and meaning behind it. I always said I wanted a tatoo. Now I'm 52 - hmmmm - wondering if I still do. Seeing yours inspires me. If I do get a tattoo it will be visible to me and others - i don't see the point in one I can't show off without pulling down my underwear or taking my shirt off. :)

Darci said...

I like your label for this one.

PS...move back to the NW!

Catfish said...

@Wombat, I'd definitely recommend Mondo Beyondo!