Beauty By Blindfold
As we get older, wiser (or in some cases, less so), we find that many of our tattoos tell stories or express what we, the 'canvas' have gone through. We've come a long way from our first words and steps.
My most recent experience (06.07.08, no less), is probably going to be the most amazing thing I've done in my entire life-- it least to this point, of course. Granted I've lived through two car accidents, a benign staph infection, and more splintering heart stories than I care to talk about, but this was a completely different bottle of ink.
Dating on the Internet is horrible. You find hundreds of sites, add yourself to a few, and only a handful gives you decent free listings. Then is it about sex or really having a connection. Yet, sometimes, it is just about the art.
When 'Ink_Artist' sent me a message admiring my tattoos in early May of this year, I felt...well, sexy. I found someone truly interested in my artnot just the body that it was on. Fetish sites are good for something after all, I suppose.
After a month and a half of planning, rescheduling, and cursing about being ill, we finally managed to meet each other at a Days Inn in Brooksville, at 1:30pm. The door would be ajar to room 108, his email read. I was to enter, and just be ready. At the rate I was going, I could definitely relate this feeling of being 'called upon' to a religious experience. In fact, it was indeed a pilgrimage of sorts.
Armed with the last shred of cash for gas and two apples, I had left my part of Orlando at around 7am, getting to the desired location after a pleasant but lonely drive by 8:30-9am. Everywhere I drove I ran into low flying crows (a familiar link for me, to Spirit and Memory, the two crows of Odin), graveyards, and houses that seemed to 'pull' as one drove past them.
I waited until the appointed time, parked my car in a shady spot, and sent a message to my newest tattooed buddy, David. He said he was there in spirit for me, and that I had to be a brave li'll Indian and go for it. After telling him his father was smiling at him from above, and that I appreciated his long distance support from Sanford, I turned my cell phone off. With a gulp of the cleanest air I've taken in some time, I entered the room with the desire to be made into a true piece of walking art.
He was much taller than I anticipated, and we talked for a few moments before I was blindfolded and told to sit still. The shuffle of papers, inkbottles and various metal instruments tapped against the glass table. I steadied my breathing and worked myself up. My heart was in my throat, and my I could feel my pulse deep in my forehead. This was it. I would not even get a glimpse of what he was putting on me, except with the ideas I had sent him, and the banner with a Latin phrase in it. That was the deal made.
I picked my Latin banner centerpiece, and he went from there. All we shared was time, space and a set of needles.
Once I set my blindfold in place, he readied himself above me as I sat back in the hotel's little wooden chair. A few 'test buzzes,' and the outline had begun. I had forgotten how it felt, though the sound I had heard plenty of times, as all of us have. He was precise in his work, and from what he told me afterwards, he actually stopped breathing while working on the outline, taking it in steps.
I gripped the chair as best I could, making sure to always stay out of his way as he worked. My blindfold would occasionally slip upward a bit, my eyes bulging as the pain from my sternum became a bit much, my breathing labored.
I slipped into a whole other dimension it seemed. The colorseven the taste in my mouth-- were different, as dry-mouthed as I was at one point. I could feel myself rise from my body, move about the room and feel the 'colors' of the experience itself. Deep blue hues I've never even seen before, pale pinks and roses, deep greens and oranges so brilliant I never thought they could be made on earth.
Finally I couldn't take it anymore and snapped back into my bodyat least I felt the thud. I then ask for him to stop so I could adjust, and he ask if I was peeking. I of course told him no. I had no idea what he was doing, I could only guess. With that, I heard the tattoo gun settle on the glass table.
"Here's some incentive to sit still," he said, taking a small stencil, adding it to the left side of my neck.
"I bet it's the cherries you talked about, isn't it, Artist?" He laughed a bit, as I felt for my water bottle, which he refilled for me, most kindly. I downed half of it before we continued onward toward my becoming a masterpiece.
"You know me all too well, don't you?" I just smiled as I felt him come back over and settle on his folding chair again. "Now behave, or that one is next." I could only smile and nod in response. Regardless of the pain, I did my best to behave. White knuckles and all.
After an hour of line work and careful breathing (on both our parts), he began to change things around the room. My Jedi skills were certainly in high gear as I could envision him changing out needles, moving the colors over and so forth.
Again the all too familiar buzzing sound echoed in the hotel room. It was time to start shading. I got so excited before he even started, I had to adjust twice before I felt I was ready.
I don't think I recall being in so much pain, to be brutally honest. I was a pussy, but I had never been so wet under the needle, either. Gritted teeth, moans and growls got me through that next hour or sotime not an issue to me, not to my Artist. He saw me through it, and I thought of David.
Even so it got to be too much for me, a few tears rolling from my eyes finally. Artist noticed them creeping under the blindfold and commented on it. I told him I wasn't crying, they were just escaping and I couldn't help it, the moment was intense for me. He said he didn't want to stopand I snapped, telling him I was trying to be good, and that I never asked him to.
Gripping the chair in any manner I could, my ice cold, bare feet digging into the floor, I arched my back, thrusting my chest closer to him as if it would make the job go easier on him, and quicker for me. A magnum needle set, a specially crafted color, and a few little touch ups, and it was done. A few sprays and a wipe down, and he said I could removed my blindfoldif I was ready.
I took a few deep breaths, used the blindfold to dab my eyes a bit so I could adjust my contacts to their use again, and slowly made my way to the bathroom mirror. My entire body was shakingpartially from shivering from the room being so chilled, and the other part wondering if what I was starting to envision was actually what I received in kind.
I was speechless. He just smiled. I wanted to touch it so badly, but found myself encircling the remaining empty space on my chest with a white-knuckled pointer finger. I couldn't stop saying how gorgeous it was, and how different I looked. He asked if I was pleasedand of course I was. I had to be at this point, right?
At the center of my once pale, scarred chest sat "Dum Spiro Spero", the Latin phrase for 'As I breathe, I hope.' The phrase seemed so effortless in the banner at the grip of the dagger now on my chest. Thrust into a rose with custom-colored pink thorns, an old school stylized rose was in full bloom at my center. Its leaves, feathery like those of a true rose bush, glided ever carefully to the base of my breastsI had never seen such a tattoo before.
As I continued to study my new focus and center, Artist turned me about to spray me down a bit, the yellow of the rose's center still weeping, being the last color added to my masterpiece. I laughed in the back of my heada true pirate I was now, more so than ever before. I breathed, and the colors and shapes pulsated on my chest. I was fascinated.
We decided that working on a few other pieces we had discussed (again, to be blindfolded while they were being done), would be too much on me. My entire body was shaking, a strong mixture of needing something to eat and excitement, fueled by my adrenaline from the experience.
As he said he required no payment, I offered to help him pack up his things if need be. He said he would be fine, as I needed to get back on the road. I reluctantly agreed, as it was nearly 5pm already by the time I finally took to my feet to see my chest piece for the first time. Being a short 5'4'' to his 6'7'' or so, I gave him a half hug, donned my bikini top to cover my charms, and made my way to the door. I'm sure he snickered as I took yet another deep breath, opened the door, and drifted to my car in a cloud of amazement at what I had just done.
Driving home, I blasted A Perfect Circle, as I did at the last thing that truly changed my life, the cutting on my back. 'Snip away and sever this' the lyrics echoed in my head, as I rolled down the windows and cried out in southern joy. I had finally killed off the pain of the first part of my lifetime, and was blasting like a rocket into the next.
When I returned home to show it off, my sister was shocked, a far greater pirate than she had I become.
When David saw a picture posted of it on another website he and I frequent, he nearly burned himself. Apparently nearly setting himself on fire from his cigarette is a positive in his book.
However, when my close, spiritual friend Rimon took a look at it, he said it was a beautiful piece of work.
...And that's what I've always been, but only saw at that moment when the blindfold came off.
I was indeed, a piece of work.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 16 June 2008