Yesterday I did something brave.
At least it was for me.
I walked into a tattoo studio and got inked.
All the way down my spine!
Now, this was something I have thought about for a while. But the last few months have made the “Need” in me grow.
I NEEDED this tattoo.
It was to become a ritual, a marking of sorts.
It was a point in time that screamed out, “Life is right!”
And life has become right. It took a hell of a long time to get here. Where each day I blossom in the love and support of my husband, and each day I celebrate the fact that I made it, I am here.
Everyone has shit in their lives at some point. When mine was the shittiest, I wallowed. I guess I needed to at the time. Angst, disappointment, guilt, and beration. It was all a part of me. And I made myself as a victim. I looked outside of myself to have someone fix me. I was too exhausted, pained, and frail to do so myself. And I landed in the wrong environment to recover and grow.
Without going into details; and yes, they are in the memoirs I am writing. I did eventually make changes, with Glenn – my rock of Gibraltar – beside me.
After our wedding, and a purge of all the unnecessary, San Miguel drew us back, this time permanently.
And I, like a lotus, flourished out of my muck.
So, yesterday when Glenn and I walked into the most beautiful tattoo studio in San Miguel and met tattoo artist Mariana, I instantly felt at ease. Mariana, whose studio is called Estudio Ritual, knows that tattoos have meaning to those getting them.
Their inking is a “marking” in more ways than one.
To start, we went over the design, made a few alterations, and discussed the symbolism of my choices.
The lotus – of course, the elephant – my totem, of sorts. A highly intelligent, comforting to friends, nurturing, loyal, compassionate creature, with complex emotions – an elephant is who I have become. They love to “chat” – well, anyone who knows me knows how true that is. And they roam but return. I like that trait.
A sun is on my back. I can’t live life without sunlight. I love being warm. Bright uplifts me. When I am cold I freeze up, literally and spiritually. You wouldn’t like me in the dark.
I was going to have a compass in the mix but decided to leave that for above my ankle. Symbolic for being on a path, adventure, and moving forward. I will have Mariana design that too.
So, after she finished the design – on her iPad no less, will wonder never cease; she made stencils of it and applied them to my spine.
I had Glenn memorialize the last of my virgin back days with photos. A back that needs tightening, but at this time, I didn’t mind that it had rolls like the Tuscan hills. Today, I owned it and it was a canvas.
Then I lay full length, face down, on a comfortable table and the work started.
Mariana has a fabulous playlist and as she worked – and I whimpered a bit – I was soothed by the almost tribal, African beat of well-chosen music and the smell of incense.
The mood was soft and enveloping and perfect for a newbie to tattoos.
Glenn took a few videos. Some more photos.
I got used to the slight papercut feel. Not nearly as bad as I imagined. Like Mariana says – our minds can be way worse than our reality. Take that to heart.
Our friend Phyllis dropped by for a bit; inquisitive and pondering a tattoo of her own one day. When her time is right.
And then, two hours later, the work was done. A few strips of protective film for the next 5 days to keep it clean and let it heal finished the job.
I felt different, sexy (Glenn likes that), and confident. I emerged from the studio as though from a cocoon.
There have been many markers in my life. I am sure there will be many more.
This was among my favorite, shared with Glenn; we went forward into the day – painlessly.
P.S. for your own lovely tattoo experience contact Mariana through messages on her Instagram site. – Estudio Ritual
Need some inspiration for your own tattoo? Check out my Pinterest Board – Tattoo.