Sunday, August 10, 2008

my human stain

Last Monday I got this notion in my head to do something special to celebrate 08/08/08.  I'm not sure how the idea of a tattoo came about but it did.  That's right kids, I decided to get a tattoo on 08/08/08. 

Of course, I had no prior knowledge of anything having to do with tattoos - that's why I love Google.  I ran a search for tattoo studios in south central Toronto (I don't like deviating from the subway line).  I figured if I found a place that had done tattoos for celebrities I would be in good hands - yet another example of my warped state of mind.  Yonge Street Tattoos was just the place.  Their website looked pretty reputable and lucky for me, they had a celebrity gallery that included the likes of Justin Timberlake, Marcus Camby and Damon Stoudamire.  I know I ain't no baller but I can fake the funk if need be!

I was always leery of getting a tattoo as I do get bored VERY easily and I knew if I got something superficial I would get tired of it and want it gone after a year or two.  Plus I didn't want some big Sistine Chapel painting all over my body or a tramp stamp - on some people it looks great (e.g. David Beckham) and on others it looks a little too pedestrian for my own personal tastes.   I knew my tattoo had to be simple in nature, incorporate my favourite colour (blue, in case you were wondering) and hold meaning for me.  Better yet, I had to pick a spot on my body that would be conducive to time and gravity. 

Next was to find something that I could live with for the rest of my days.   I thought about my name, a star, or an Aries symbol.  Yet again I turned to my trusted friend Google for ideas.  I wanted a symbol to remind me of these times - how I've learned so much about myself; how I've become more spiritually inclined despite my lack of employment and sudden financial downturn... then there it was.   An infinity symbol.

The infinity symbol I finally chose resembles an inverted '8'.   This symbol is representative of my astrological sign and my favourite/lucky number.  What better way to celebrate 08/08/08 with a human stain?

Off I went to Yonge Street Tattoos to book my appointment.  The facility was a lot more professional than I pictured in my head.   Artwork from various artists adorned the walls and 102.1 The Edge was playing in the background.  Truth be told I was expecting all kinds of skid rows all up in there however I was pleasantly surprised.   People of all shapes, colours & sizes were either browsing artwork samples or waiting for their scheduled appointments.  Once I arrived, I had an impromptu consultant and I put down a deposit.  As I left, I thought, good God, I'm really doing this.

The more I thought about it, the more I kept coming back to the same thought: why not?  I am not bound by anyone or anything as I once thought to be.  It won't change who I am - if anything, this tattoo is like a scar by choice.   I already have a ton of scars so why not add another in cornflower blue?  It'll be refreshing to know that my tattoo won't be a reminder of some sort of pain I endured - it'll be a reminder of the pain I survived.

My tattoo appointment was scheduled for 7:45pm.  I had no idea that Yonge Street Tattoos ran on IST (Island Standard Time) as I didn't actually get called until almost 8:30.  Oh well - someone must've got some kind of mural on themselves ahead of me.  My artist came to meet me and she was very friendly & pleasant.  I entered a room where was a rather beefy looking chap getting a testament to "Sadie" on his forearm.  Holy crap.  Once the heard the "zzzzzz" sound that reminded me of a dentist's drill, I started freaking out.  My artist explained the entire process and she let me pick out the tattoo colour (after all, this is a lifetime commitment).  She did a test stencil at first and once I approved it, she fired up that drill-looking contraption and my human stain began to take shape.

People always ask if tattoos hurt.  From the looks and sounds of their equipment, it's enough to make people lose control of their bowels.  However, it didn't really hurt - it was more annoying.  The needle used to apply the tattoo is not like a medical needle that penetrates through the skin to the muscle - it stays near the surface.  

Twenty minutes and countless deep breaths later, my tattoo was complete.  My artist explained aftercare procedures, bandaged me up and sent me on my merry way.  When I got home I felt so proud of myself because on that day I overcame a fear.  I never thought I could get a tattoo because I was afraid of it.  Boo to that!  I did it.  I got over that fear and best of all, I made a decision that will affect me for the rest of my natural days.  I can do anything in this life!