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When I first turned eighteen my lifelong best friend and I decided to get matching tattoos. We both received a small pair of angel wings on the back of our necks. About four months later I was craving a new piece of ink. I decided since I was starting college in about a month this summer was the most appropriate time to get my second. After much consideration I decided to get a black and white Camellia flower tattooed on my rib cage. The flower was a symbol for my mom who is a landscape artist, it is a very tough flower, it is Coco Chanel's favorite flower and I am starting fashion school in the fall, and in my favorite book of all time "To Kill a Mockingbird" the camellia is a symbol of teenage rebellion, a stage I have just past in the recent few years.I feel like the tattoo was just made for me to get on my body. I found a picture of a half blossom, half blooming flower and brought it to my parlor.

I had heard the horrors of rib piece tattoos, and I have an extremely low pain tolerance so I was terrified. The wings on my neck had hurt enough, I wasn't sure I would be able to handle it but there was no turning back now. Some people who had never had rib tattoos told me it was just a myth, and some people with them said it wasn't bad at all. Then others told me that it was the worst pain they had yet to experience. Ouch. I went with my boyfriend at the time and just concentrated on breathing, and taking a few shots of vodka which in the end just made me very tired and even a little more scared if that was even possible. The artist showed me his sketch, It was about four by four inches, a little larger than I had wanted but I realized any smaller on that area would have looked silly.

He laid me on my side and I took my shirt off.I think my heart was about to beat right out of my chest, I kept shaking, it was really the fear of the unexpected. I remembered the razor dragged across the skin sensation of my first one, but since the brain has a special way of forcing the body to forget some pain, I couldn't exactly place what I thought the pain would be like. I could tell that this tattoo artist didn't think me, a playboy looking girl, could sit through a rib piece. I proved him wrong. When he first started it was very painful, about the same amount of pain as my neck tattoo, but he was in the least painful spot, more on my side than the actual ribs yet. The inner petals were painful, it was no walk in the park, but I had no idea what was to come.

As he progressed to the outer petals my mental tolerance was being tested in ways I didn't think imaginable. The petals near my breasts at the top of my rib cage hurt so badly I just counted to three and he usually brought the gun up to re place his hand by then. I wasn't allowed to talk because my lungs would fill and my ribs would move. I centered myself for two hours and just squinted my eyes. The artist was joking with me but it made me laugh, and when he rubbed the vaseline on after each ink stroke, it tickled. I think the artist was very confused as to how I was tight lipped in pain one moment and giggling the next. The shading, which I usually think is the easiest part, felt like someone pouring rubbing alcohol onto a skinned knee for forty minutes. All around it took about two hours. Afterwards the tattoo artist and I were great friends and I could tell he was still in shock I did this, he kept telling me about a girl he had the previous day who got a rib piece and s quirmed and complained the whole time, looks can be deceiving.

He told me I could look and I was so dizzy from pain. It was the most beautiful tattoo I had every seen. Large, but appropriate and feminine, all that I had wanted. I was so proud of myself.I didn't speak much for the next few hours, even though I had a dinner party to go to right after. I think I was just in shock about the whole situation. The next few days were hell, I felt like I had broken all the ribs on that side, and it stung too, which didn't occur with my first tattoo. A few days of intense pain was well worth it in the end and a month later I couldn't be happier.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 23 Sept. 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Brynn
Studio: Godspeed
Location: San+Mateo

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