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My first tattoo - a profound and painful experience

I always felt like I was a nerd. Okay, a weird way to start an experience, but it's where the whole story starts. I use the word nerd, but by saying that, I just mean to say I always felt different, like I could never fit into a norm of society. I tried for years and years to be who people wanted me to be; I liked what they liked and I hated what they hated, but it was all in vain, I still wasn't enough like them. So as I grew up, I changed and I changed and eventually, not long ago, I came to a crossroad and I chose the path that would make me happy: accepting myself and my weirdness.

I love books, and my favorite book of all time is The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. It's a beautiful fantasy with fantastic imagery and just general coolness, and the AURYN always fascinated me. It was the Gem of the Childlike Empress and it gave her her power, though she judged no one, she saw everyone as equal and beautiful no matter what or who they were. The idea is powerful, that someone who is so accepting and serene can truly be respected and loved. After much, MUCH thought, I decided that I wanted to mark myself forever with the AURYN though I chose the AURYN from the movie instead of from the book (they're different, but I chose the one from the movie because it's vaguely Celtic and I'm Irish, so it fit.)

I picked the design and heard from someone that Chris Giles at Love -n- Hate was amazing at making something look metallic, so I went to check him out. I met him and liked him right away. He was happy, personable, and had impressive experience, so I thought about it and chose him to tattoo me. About a week before my appointment, I got terrified and in a bad financial state, so I cancelled my appointment, but a few days later, I made the appointment again. The days just crept by as I waited for my appointment, and finally, today, it came.

My sister got her tragus pierced first, and then it was my turn. I sat in the chair and he put the design on my back, repositioning it three times to make sure it was absolutely centered and perfect. I leaned over and hugged the stuffed bunny I had brought with me. The machine began buzzing and I felt alone in the universe with my terror, which is so silly now that I look back at it. The outline was painful, but surprisingly the shading was worse, which was surprising to me because I had heard the shading would be much less painful. Every minute seemed to last forever as the needles buzzed over my shoulderblades and spine. I think I crushed my sister's hand from squeezing so tightly. She hovered around, taking record of the whole experience with her camera. I refused to see anything besides the outline until it was completely done; I wanted to take it all in at once.

Chris worked amazingly fast, he took only about an hour and a half for a fairly detailed about 4.5" design on my upper back. I sweated and I hurt, but I didn't cry, didn't squeal, didn't whine, and didn't complain. It was really a unique pain, like burning and stepping on tiny shards of glass, but all on my back; it was the kind of pain that I desperately wanted to run from, but couldn't, or rather, that I absolutely wouldn't. Finally, it was all finished. I opened my eyes and stood up, every muscle shaking from being so completely tense the whole time. I walked to the mirror and turned around, then took the hand mirror.

I was just so blown away by the absolutely beautiful piece on my back that I started crying. I looked at it for a moment, felt the tears come, and then looked again. I was...just so amazed by the realization that I would carry this beautiful, amazing, breathtaking piece of art with me forever. Chris was just amazing beyond words; he stopped without complaint whenever I asked him to, which was admittedly a few times, he was quick and he did what I asked him to. He didn't even mind my sister hovering around with a camera the entire time. The AURYN means so much to me; it represents my love of stories, it represents the Irish blood in me, it represents my belief in fantasy, it represents so much of me, but most of all now, it represents my dedication to always being myself without fail and without question, without regret and without fear - something I had never been able to fully embrace until the pain of this rite of passage was complete.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 07 April 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Christopher+Giles
Studio: Love+-n-+Hate
Location: Lewisville%2C+Texas

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