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The best of you

Warning: This experience deals with some rather touchy subjects such as drug use, and potential suicide. Read with caution and please do not do some of the things I did.

I'm getting tired of starting again somewhere new were you born to resist or be abused? I swear I'll never give in I refuse

Lyrics- best of you by Foo Fighters

I knew it was happening, I think I seen it coming long before it actually happened. Funny how sometimes you can just tap into yourself and you know that something is going to happen and it's like a freight train that's going out of control. Your helpless to stop it yet you can't quite tear your eyes away from it either... I knew it was going to happen, not all marriages are meant to last forever and apparently mine was one of them.

Jeff was in a band when we met and because of him I learned to not only appreciate several different genres of music I also learned to appreciate that music for some is an outlet. Much like tattoos are for me. Musicians go through whatever it is they go through and write awesome music. I went through what felt like hell and back and I get awesome tattoos to deal with the pain of it all. It's interesting how when I first heard the song Best of you by the Foo Fighters that I knew if/when we broke up that I would get part of that song tattooed on me. Of course at the time I thought I was being silly my marriage was fairly new but it was off to a rocky start.

We both made some serious sacrifices to be together and the biggest one for me was giving it all up and moving to Montreal to be with him. It was something that I felt the need to do and I was very unhappy for a long time and for the most part I blamed him. After all in my mind he was the whole reason I was there. No I wasn't being fair not only to him but myself either. We tried, and we failed I'm not going to go into detail about that. This isn't about why we broke up, it's more about how I dealt with it. In typical Steph fashion, I got a tattoo.

I've said it before and I will say it again for me tattoos are therapeutic and give me closure. Losing him even though I was partially to blame was tough. Once I knew what was happening and I knew deep in my heart that there was nothing I could do to stop it, I also knew deep down that we were better off that way. I couldn't deal, I was horribly depressed in a lot of ways which is one reason why the line "you die to heal" really hit home with me. I wished I was dead the pain that I felt at that moment was so annihilating that I didn't want to feel and I didn't want to go on any longer. I should have sought help, but I just didn't care, I felt defeated.

I acquired some methadone, which for those of you not in the know is synthetic heroin, and being a recovering addict resorting to such measures was obviously the dumbest idea I had ever had and I really don't recommend that to anyone. It served its purpose at the time being because I didn't want to feel anything anymore and I didn't for the brief period of time I was high. Had I consumed the whole bottle I would have died that night but I didn't so I feel that fate somehow intervened and I'm still here for a reason.

I packed my bags and I left, he walked me to the bus stop and hugged me good-bye and kissed me for the last time. For the next three weeks, I got looks of pity, and sad glances from my friends, and the odd reassuring hug. I just wanted to move on and have been done with it. I know one thing is for sure; I don't ever want to feel the way I did ever again. I worked all the time, I didn't want to be where I was living, I wanted to be in the bed that I shared with him, with all my things and my 2 cats. I knew that was never going to happen and things got pretty ugly between us for a while. He wanted to be friends; I wanted him to get run over by a bus at the time. My boss gave me as many extra shifts as I could handle because I needed the distraction and of course money for my tattoo. I had planned that tattoo out years before, and now I had a reason to get it.

I needed to be ready to get it done and mentally prepare myself. I knew that I wasn't mentally and emotionally ready and in order for me to be able to get what I wanted from the whole experience and not sell myself short I waited, worked some more, saved up, made my peace with the situation for the most part and then I called Gil to book the appointment. That was the tough part because Jeff works there as a piercer so I was sure to book my appointment on a day that he's not normally there because this was my time and I really didn't want him there. We were pretty civil at this point but I wanted to obtain the closure on my own. He respected my wishes and didn't come into the shop that day which was very kind of him.

About a week before my appointment I dropped off what I wanted and left it to Gil to play with and the remainder of my deposit as well. He was concerned about it fitting and looking nice. It's a lot of text so I scaled it down some which I will admit disappointed me to an extent, as I really wanted the entire block of script. Although Gil was concerned about what my tattoo was going to look like in 20 years because we couldn't make it too big so of course blow out is always something to take into consideration as well. However the day of my appointment arrived and I was given a really nice surprise.

Jeff picked out one of my favorite fonts and fixed the printer so that Gil could print it off the computer and get a stencil from it as well. I hadn't really decided on what I wanted the text to actually be in at that time. I originally wanted it to surround my black bleeding heart but because of the placement it wouldn't fit right and Gil just felt that it was an all around bad idea. So I decided later that I wanted it to be in a scroll. Like old parchment, strictly black and grey with maybe a hint of brown added in later on. We wanted to add a plume pen and an ink well but because of the way the scroll somewhat wrapped around my thigh it would have been on the back of my leg and wouldn't have made much sense to anyone that looked at it. So he says to me, how about we do it on your ribs, I said jokingly how about you stay off the crack. Someday I will venture into the realm of getting my ribs tattooed as I hopefully and eventually will run out of skin, but that wasn't the time for it. I wanted it on my thigh where I could see it.

So after some bantering and stenciling and debating and drawing the scroll out we finally nailed it. Gil drew the scroll in with sharpies and then used a stencil to put the script in. He does beautiful script on his own but I wanted something similar to handwriting and he even admitted that he couldn't have pulled it off on his own without some help with a pre made font. I had very little work done on my upper leg area at this point and I really didn't know what to expect either. I felt quite at home that day in my boxers and socks just hanging out making sure that everything was dry before we proceeded. So while I was doing that Gil sanitized the tattooing area and got his machines wrapped and set up his power supply, put on a pair of gloves and got comfortable.

I followed suit and hopped up on the now familiar massage table and as Gil put it "assumed the position". I hate outlines; they suck at least for me. Gil thankfully works fast and usually favors a magnum needle for most of his work because he can cover more area in a shorter period of time, thus saving his clients time and money. We knew that we weren't going to get it all done in one sitting so he did a basic grey shading to hold in the scroll since there was no real outline to that. The script was long and tedious, more so for Gil then myself as he was the one who was doing all the work. Lying on my side like that for so long was making my hip ache so I had to get up on occasion and move around so that my leg didn't get cramped up on me.

Script work was done and I took a look at what he had accomplished and it took my breath away. I was in love, with my tattoo of course this far and I couldn't wait to see the total outcome. So we took a break and Gil asked me if I was ok to go on for a little while longer. It was up to me, we could have packed it in or he could start on the shading. I said ah might as well start on some of the shading, so he cleaned me up as I was bleeding a little and I was waiting for him to get started again and all he said was this is going to hurt. I popped my head up and said what exactly is going to hurt? This he says, he was holding a wash bottle with rubbing alcohol in it. I said are you nuts! Why do you need to do that? The sharpie wasn't coming off and he didn't need the stencil there anymore so it had to go. He said" I'll do my best not to get it on the areas where the script is but it might seep in a little bit and if it does it's going to sting. I said fine, do what y ou got to do then.

So he soaked up a piece of folded paper towel and was cautious I will give him that, and as he was wiping me down he would occasionally look at my face that was slowly contorting and Gil was saying wait for it... Wait for it... Then it hit me and he said and now she hates me! I won't lie, it stung and that was something I could have done without and I told him as much but I also reassured him that I didn't hate him and even though I didn't exactly enjoy it, I knew that it had to be done. So we were off to start the shading and that was the tough part, after the alcohol and having the inner part of my tattoo being worked on for over an hour my skin was starting to burn. Gil worked as fast as he could because he wanted to at least get the bottom part shaded out and then we could move on from there. I swore a lot, and gritted my teeth but I stuck it out for another 45 minutes and then my skin had decided that enough was enough and we were calling it a day.

So he cleaned me up and wrapped me up and sent me on my way. I left him with another deposit and said that I would get back to him when I was ready to get tattooed again. Walking was difficult because it was right above my knee and finished off close to the underside of my rear end so it was absorbing a lot of shock. I wished that I had one of the scooters or something to get myself around in for the next couple of days. All in all it healed really well, there was minimal scabbing and for the most part it was just really flaky. I followed my usual routine of come home after the appointment, wait a few hours, take a cool shower and leave it alone except to moisturize it after a few days. It healed well but I loathe the un-finished look of tattoos on me.

Then my work situation changed and it was a while before I was able to come up with the funds to go for round 2 and get it finished off. All we needed to do was some shading and then it would be done for now. So when I was ready I made my second appointment and it was just Gil and I in the shop that day along with a friend of mine to document the tattooing process for me as well. It was still fairly warm out so I wore a skirt this time to make things easier. Went through the usual routine of getting sanitized and Gil did his set up and had 6 ink cups all set up with various hues of black to achieve just the right type of shading.

So I hopped up on the table once again and he was figuring out where everything needed to go, so he smudged straight black ink onto my skin to create a stain to use as a guide for the darker spots.
Then we were off once again, this time I had a really difficult time with it. For some reason it hurt more then normal and my blood was really thick. Gil said that it had the consistency of jam and was somewhat worried about that. I asked him if I should be overly concerned and he didn't think so, but he had never seen that before.

This time around it took about 2 hours of straight shading with a 12-magnum tattoo needle. More effective yes but for me just a tad more painful. The areas that really got to me the most were mostly by my knee; the feel of the machine vibrating through my joints wasn't overly pleasant. Not totally horrific mind you but it's a sensation that I can mostly do without. Because of the way I was lying down it also felt like he was tattooing the lower half of my rear end and that didn't hurt, it was just really strange to feel something like that so close to my butt cheeks.

This appointment was pretty relaxed for the most part, we just hung out and talked and Gil was tattooing away while Alison was happily taking all kinds of pictures. I was starting to feel the burn again though and I knew that my skin was starting to hate me. I hate to be a whiner but I asked Gil if we were almost done. I was emotionally exhausted and physically drained and I wanted some chocolate. Then we were finally done, I had a hard time getting up off the table mostly because of the way I was lying down for so long and had myself a look at my latest acquisition. I loved it, I was stoked that it was done and I couldn't wait to see it healed in all it's glory.

The healing process was pretty much the same as the first time around. No real scabbing and minimal flakiness. I babied it for a few days because it was getting really dry and making my skin tight so it was a little uncomfortable but aside from that I had no major problems with it. I went into the shop after it had healed and Gil was quite pleased with his work and so am I. Getting over my marriage was a very long and painful process. Jeff and I finally had a talk about what went wrong and for the first time ever we let each other be heard and it was good for both of us. When he asked me why I didn't go running back to Ontario like he had expected, I simply said because I wouldn't let you get the best of me.

So I was able to move on and appreciate life in Montreal for what it is under my own terms. It was Jeff that brought me here and for that I am thankful now. I have made some great friends, met some amazing people and acquired an awesome tattoo artist. I didn't move back to Ontario because I needed to prove to myself that I could make it here on my own, and so far I'm doing ok. I hit the occasional snag and the odd bump in the road but that's life. Like the song states:
I'm getting tired of starting again somewhere new. Were you born to resist or be abused? I swear I'll never give in I refuse.

If I hadn't gone through what I had gone through, I wouldn't have this amazing piece of art of my leg that pretty much sums up what I was feeling at the time: Has someone taken your faith? Its real, the pain you feel The life, the love you'd die to heal The hope that starts the broken hearts...

Except now, I don't hurt anymore.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 30 June 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Gil+Crocker
Studio: Jolly+Rogers
Location: Montreal+%28Verdun%29+QC

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