A big, beautiful sun and moon are etched across my left side. I absolutely love the art, but i no longer wish to display them on my skin. Read below to learn more about my journey into the tattooing world.
It was summer 2015. I was a fresh from high school graduate about to embark on my unknown life journey. My best friend named Blaise was OF COURSE going to be by my side through everything, so when he went to visit the trendy Camp in Costa Mesa, he invited me to come along. The shopping center is quirky, featuring succulent shops in trailers and Urban Outfitters-esque clothing companies housed in the center’s facilities. Next to an umami-type burger restaurant is a cute little tattoo shop. We walked inside and i went through all of the tattoo artists’ plastic binders filled with collections of work they’ve done. Whilst scanning the artists’ portfolios, i was drawn to one whose business cards were inspired by lotería [Spanish] playing cards; with images of la rosa, el diablito, la corona, and etc on one side, his name and phone number on the other. I was drawn to his creativity and sharp-lined work.
I ended up getting inked twice by the artist with lotería business cards named Mario. The first thing i got done was a small tattoo underneath my left breast which reads “heal” in cursive Hebrew. The session lasted a mere 20 minutes, and then i was on my way, a freshly tattooed woman.
Now, rational Abbie would’ve stopped there. But alas, two weeks later i ended up in the shop again, without a clue as to what type of work i wanted done. After some discussion with Mario, i decided on a sun and moon piece. My intentions were to get very tiny tattoos that would be easy to keep private. However, i ended up going with his first sketch design, which was massive. I don’t know why i didn’t ask for him to scale it down. I was so excited. I enjoyed the rush of doing something i knew i shouldn’t be [my parents are not tattoo fans], with no one to tell my recently-turned 18 ass that i couldn’t/shouldn’t. His work is incredible, and the 5 and 1/2 hour session ended up being quite pleasant due to his mastery of small talk.
You see, i had no intentions of ever getting a tattoo; my being impulsive by nature yet anxious at the same time usually kept me from doing rash things, but my inner artist was calling out to me, and my heart wanted to go forward with the inking.
As the months passed by afterward, i made a few realizations. First, that my extreme impulsivity at the time possibly had a root. Due to my emotionally taxing high school experience, i was assigned a therapist and a psychiatrist around senior year to help get me back on track. Thus began the process of trial and error in terms of medications, with the ultimate aim of finding a balance which would allow me to function at the utmost capacity in my everyday life. During a session with my therapist, we discussed the new medications i was currently on. One of those medications (likely an antidepressant/anti-anxiety formula) served as a cause for concern on her end. She went on to tell me about her personal experience on the drug, which she no longer takes.
“When i was on this medication, i got some speeding tickets and i ended up impulse shopping at the mall quite a bit.”
What is that even supposed to mean?!, I asked myself. Medication couldn’t do that to a person, right? Wrong. I do believe that was what ultimately pushed me over the edge. I have a major fear of needles, so the whole concept was just so not me from the start.
I’ve included a poem written by Amanda Lovelace which somewhat correlates with how i feel about the whole situation:
green eyes left,
and cut off
all my long,
the only thing
~over before it began.
My dragon is my ex, my innocence i took away from myself in the end.
Tattoo art is absolutely beautiful, and i admire people who dare to be bold and go for it and get inked. It is a cultural practice i approve of and find quite amazing.
My skin is alabaster, pure and milky. Personally, I’ve come to believe the ink stands as a blemish, something meant to be removed. I am fortunate enough that my parents are willing to fund my Picosure laser tattoo removal process, which i started at the end of May 2017. In a few weeks, i will be entering my second session. The process is incredibly painful and expensive, hence why i want readers to take note: make sure you KNOW what you’re doing and what you want before rushing into decisions like the ones i made.
So, that is my tattoo story so far. It is not close to being finished yet, and as i continue to make progress over the next few months, i will add a Part 2+ to comment on my removal process and provide new photos of the fading ink. I will also explain the meaning behind these tattoos in future posts.
Below is a photograph i took yesterday of my skin. My cursive Hebrew tattoo is slowly starting to fade after one Picosure session. The moon and sun are still sharp as day; it will take more than a few sessions to really see progress.
Update: today (July 13) i recieved my second round of Picosure laser tattoo removal treatment, and it hurt quite a bit! Below i’ve included a photo of my post-treatment tatts. Ouch!
Do you have any tattoos? What about your friends? Let me know how you feel about them, I’d love to hear from you. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and stay tuned for My Tattoo Story, Part 2.
Abbie Leigh 🐰🖤