Monday, May 5, 2014

Inked and Loving It

After 3-4 years of planning, researching, and waiting for the proper timing, I have finally crossed out another item from my bucket list. I finally got inked.
Last April 26, 2014, while my parents were enjoying their Marian pilgrimage in Europe, I mustered enough courage to finally get my first tattoo. It was a tattoo of my all-time favorite creature - the mythical phoenix. The tattoo was a colored one. It was about 5-6 inches in length and was placed on my upper back which spread a little along my spine. It was done by Ms. Katz Lorenzana at 55Tinta Tattoo Shop along Maginhawa St. in Quezon City.
Funny, but it really took me 3-4 years to plan for it. The first stage was thinking about the design. This was an easy step as I've always wanted a phoenix. Why? There are several reasons. A phoenix symbolizes resurrection - "to rise up from one's own ashes". I can proudly say that I am a survivor. I have been through several challenges in my life (personal and in my career) and was fortunate to survive it (with God's help of course). Another thing with the phoenix. This mythical creature is the highest form in my astrological hierarchy (i.e. Scorpion - Eagle - Phoenix). At the back of the phoenix was a Celtic sun. I have always been fascinated by Celtic designs, and just as the phoenix rises from its ashes, the sun always shines everyday.
Second stage in my planning was to research about the tattoo artist and a reputable tattoo shop nearby that can execute the style that I want. I was lucky enough to find a female tattoo artist – Katz Lorenzana - who's very good with line works and outlines, and very good in colors as well. I must admit that I was mesmerized when I first saw my tattoo design on the computer. I immediately loved how the colors worked together. And I loved it more after Katz executed it on my skin. There’s a difference between seeing it on screen, and seeing it on your own skin. And I loved both. Katz Lorenzana also has that light touch (i.e. in Filipino, we call it "magaan ang kamay") that made my 1st tattoo experience a non-traumatic one. I cannot say that it was totally painless. The longer strokes which hit the more bony areas (near my shoulder blades) made me cringe a little, but overall the 3-hour session was very bearable (bragging aside, I even dozed off during those times when the tatt was being shaded). To compare, my bikini/brazilian waxing sessions were more painful than my tattoo session. For the tattoo shop, I initially chose 55Tinta because it was near my home. I was a bit hesitant at first, because I had an initial impression that people in tattoo shops were snooty, but I was proven wrong when I went into 55Tinta. The staff was accommodating and friendly – from my initial email inquiry, to my 1st shop visit, and until the day of my tattoo schedule. I had several revisions of my design but they were professional and attentive to my ideas. It was like discussing my ideas with a friend. The vibe inside 55Tinta was also super A-OK. The shop smelled like fresh soap. One would think he/she entered a spa, instead of a tattoo parlor. The airconditioning was a bit cold, but hey, I would rather have it that way than no aircon at all. They also had this wide screen television and a wide array of video selections. My cousin and my friend who accompanied me did not get bored as they enjoyed watching videos during the 3-hour session. Pricing was also reasonable. The price they charged was worth the design, the size and the colors scheme applied to my tattoo. I inquired from another known tattoo shop, and the price they gave me was way higher than 55Tinta.
Now you may have noticed that I have mentioned “waiting for the proper timing” in my first paragraph. This is the toughest part. I have to wait for a couple of things. I have to wait till I have saved enough for the tattoo, as this is an additional cut to my already-constrained budget. And the biggest timing issue – waiting for my parents to leave for their pilgrimage trip in order for me to get inked. Yes I’m in my 30’s, have my own work, and even have a son. But in a conservative family like mine, having my uber conservative Dad around while I’m getting inked will be an added stress factor. I had to wait till they have finalized their travel pilgrimage plans and scheduled my tattoo session on the 1st weekend they are away. There is no other date but that date. Having my tattoo done last April 26 would allow 2.5 weeks for my tattoo to undergo healing, so that by the time my folks arrive (2nd week of May) my tattoo has already passed the critical stage of healing (i.e. 1st 2 weeks). Talk about “Patience is a virtue” and “Timing is everything”. What would I do once they arrive and discovered my tattoo? Perhaps, I’ll just smile. I’ve made more infamous decisions in the past so I think the tattoo would just be a venial sin as compared to the more grave ones I’ve done before. *evil grin*…>:-)
Overall, I can say that my first tattoo experience was an awesome one. I am also thankful to God (and St. Pio my favorite saint) as I also prayed to them to keep me safe during the tattoo session, and to please give me a high threshold for pain on that day. I have no regrets in getting inked. My design was meaningful to me, is well-thought of, not blasphemous nor offensive. The location is decently and discreetly located. And my intention for having one was more of a personal statement bound by commitment than just being a fashion or beauty mark.  :-)

(L) Stencil of the Tattoo (R) Finished product

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