I have two works of art of my body. Two butterflies, both with similar meaning, but one with moreso than the other. My second tattoo is a constant reminder of the pain I have suffered and also of the woman who brought me through the pain.
Background: Almost all of the way through my senior year of high school, I met an incredible woman. She was a new teacher at my school this year, but due to the fact that she taught underclassmen, I never saw her. Near the end of year, I was asked to tutor seventh graders in order to help them pass some classes for the year. A good percentage of them were failing her class, so I conferenced with her on what needed to be done with these kids to get them to pass. The first time I met her, I mentioned that I had read her book "The Patron Saint of Butterflies" and thought it was the most beautiful novel I had ever read. She was flattered and immediately signed my copy. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
A few days after this initial conversation, I was involved in a car accident. It wasn't major, but I still had whiplash and pretty bad back pain. The day after the accident, I saw her at school during tutoring, and I blew off tutoring to talk to her. And that's when it all came out. I confessed to details of my life I hesitated admitting to my parents and best friends. She made me realize that nothing I did was wrong, and she reinstilled a confidence that I had lost over several difficult months. Before she left for a book conference in California, she gave me the best yearbook message I have ever received, and I gave her a letter thanking her for everything she had done. In the four days that were left in school after she came back, we grew supremely - and somewhat surprisingly - close. Saying goodbye to her was extremely hard for me, even though I know it wasn't a permanent goodbye. She was - and still is - a huge inspiration to me, and as soon as I reread her book, I knew
what my second tattoo would be.
On page 210 of the book, right near the end of the page [I know this without looking] there are the words "Sometimes the longer the silence, the longer the shout". These nine words hit me with the force of a tractor trailer collision, and everytime I saw them, I felt sao much emotion that I didn't know what to do with myself. I knew that these words were kind of meant for me. I used to be the type of person that couldn't express emotion - I kept everything locked away. But eventually, I just exploded and couldn't hold it in anymore. My silence was for years, and the "shout" was absolutely incredible, in a destructive kind of way. After I got my first tattoo, I began thinking about my second, and I couldn't get this idea out of my mind.
Enter Bob. Bob is the artist that did my first tattoo, and since it was absolutely beautiful + had no problems with scabbing, peeling, etc., I decided to return. I told him my idea - the quote with a zebra longwing butterfly incorporated somewhere into the design - and he agreed that it would be a beautiful tattoo. I scheduled an appointment for four days later, and could barely wait to get into the studio again.
On Sunday, the day of my tattoo, I woke up early and picked up my friends Haley and Nicole so they could come with me. When I walked into the studio, Bob showed me the design he had done. I was floored. It was absolutely gorgeous, beyond all expectations. A zebra longwing butterfly is in the middle of two lines of text, and there's a lot of "foliage" [a leaf and some out-of-focus flowers] around the butterfly. After telling him how much I loved it, he went to set up and the ten minutes that took were the longest of my life.
Before I knew it, I was in the chair. Bob put deodorant on my back and applied the stencil to my back, right on my ribcage. Then, he laid me down on my side and prepped the needle. He asked if I was ready, and I nodded.
The pain was ridiculous, but I know it's because of the placement. Nevertheless, I was almost in tears. It felt like my skin was being cut off with a blade. Once the words and the outline were done with and he put Bactine on me, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I knew the hardest part was done. The shading was basically nothing, I was able to rock out to Queens Greatest Hits and carry on conversations with all present while Bob finished working.
When the tattoo was done, I got to see it in the mirror. I teared up looking at it because it means so much to me and it's absolutely beautiful. I couldn't believe how perfect it was. Bob took a few pictures for his portfolio, wrapped me up, and took me out front to pay. I paid up, threw in a few extra bucks for the tip, and was on my way.
So far, everything is great. I'm still in a little pain, but it's definitely not unbearable. I'm using Aquaphor like I did on my first tattoo and it's again working wonders.
However, the best part of this is not in the planning or in the tattoo itself. When I emailed my teacher and told her about it, she said she was really, really honored. And I could tell she was sincere.
That's how I knew that this was all worth it.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 23 Sept. 2008