Following My Bliss
This is the story of my second tattoo, my beautiful ribs.
I found Senses Fail early in high school. The vocalist, Buddy Nielson, has a tattoo on his chest that reads “Follow Your Bliss.” Normally I’d think nothing of this since most of the musicians I like are relatively covered in tattoos, but he references the quote in two different songs on separate albums. Most notably (for me anyway) is “Follow Your Bliss, it reads on my chest, I knew I got it tattooed for a reason, why can’t I just hold it true?”
After hearing both songs, I looked up the words, figuring they had probably come from something else, and I wanted to know what it was. That was when I found the multitude of references to it in art, music, and other people’s lives in general (lots of blog quotes). Looking a little deeper, I found that the words were initially part of a larger quote first coined by Joseph Campbell. There are several variations of it, but the one I like best is “Follow your bliss, and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”
Once I read that, it became the dogma of my life. I have journals filled with free writes examining what exactly it means to follow your bliss, and the real meaning of bliss. Whenever I needed that little extra push to keep me going, these words gave it to me. I knew I needed to have it as a permanent part of my body. Knowing me, this meant waiting and thinking about it (I tend to get a tattoo idea I think is awesome and then realize a week later that it’s actually a really bad idea). In the meantime, I searched around for a font I liked, and once I found that, I spent some time figuring out where to put it.
I liked the idea of my ribs, since I need to hide it frequently for work and from my family (I know, I’m immature, but I pay my own rent, school loans, car insurance, gasoline, phone, and groceries, and I’m 20 years old, so I justify it). Also, I think it would just look really nice there with the flow of my body. I printed out a copy of the font that I liked and practiced putting it on so I could see what orientation I wanted it. I ended up deciding I liked it so if you are standing facing my side, you can read it like a book, right to left and right side up. Then I had to wait my standard two-year period before going to have it done. There were so many times I was tempted to walk into the nearest shop and just have it done right then. Luckily, I’m super picky and I spent hours analyzing artist portfolios from the three shops near my home (really two, Pores of Color is more of a death wish dressed up as a tattoo shop) and several down at school.
I finally decided it would be best to have the artist who did my first tattoo, Matt D of No Regrets, do this one as well. I thought my idea and placement was super original, but then I saw that a ton of people have the same words, and Matt even posted a Facebook status about being sick of doing lyrics on rib cages. I was disappointed but decided that my tattoo was for me alone, so it didn’t bug me that other people would have similar tattoos. I was still worried that Matt wouldn’t want to do it, so I emailed him about a month ahead of time to ask him if he would be okay with doing it and he said he would (it had been a few months since he’d written about being sick of them).
When we got around to actually making the appointment, I was really excited, but also nervous. I’ve always heard that ribs are the most painful part of the body to get tattooed, and I’m thin, so it’s all bone there. Matt said he would give me breaks if I needed them and just to let him know how I was doing. Then after placing the stencil and getting me into position on the chair, he started in with the gun. It wasn’t bad at all! I’d say it was a 3 or 4 on a scale of 0-10. It felt exactly like what it was, a needle being dragged through my skin and the pain always stopped as soon as he the needle left.
When he was done, he cleaned it up, which stung a little, and had me check it. It was so pretty! I love it so much! He wrapped it in saran wrap and went over aftercare, making sure I didn’t have any questions. I thanked him, paid, tipped, and left. Twisting around to see out the back window in the car hurt a little, but other than that the car ride home went well, no trouble from the seatbelt. Today, it’s been fine. I’m not sore at all, and it only stings a little to put lotion on.
All in all, I’m extremely happy with my new tattoo! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my experience!
submitted by: LoveAlways
on: 30 Aug. 2011
in Lettering Tattoos, Music Tattoos