Life path · Self Discovery

Tattoo Ever After

Cathie waiting for her tattoo
Devon made me stand like this. If you could have seen all that was going on inside me when this picture was taken, you’d know just how much this smile was hiding.

Well, I did it.  I followed through on one of my bucket list items from waaaaay back, and got a tattoo.  Honestly, if my daughter had not come with me, I know I would have chickened out.  I was that scared.  In fact, after it was all over and I was driving home, I could feel the adrenaline draining from my body and the extreme fatigue setting in.

After consulting with Sarah at American Tattoo in downtown Vista, we decided that snowflakes would be too hard–or at least the ones I wanted done.  I had selected snowflakes that were delicate and detailed; they wouldn’t have translated well into being small.  And I was perfectly clear that I wanted something small.

Fortunately, I had arrived at the tattoo parlor armed with another option: a dandelion.  I love dandelions.  I love the idea that, as a child, you really think that if you wish hard enough and blow the seeds just the right way, that you’ll get what you wish for.  Don’t you wish life was that simple?  Oh, to be a kid again blowing dandelions all day in the summer.

Sarah disappeared into the back to create a line drawing to make sure she could make what I wanted.  While in the waiting area, I looked at all the kinds of tattoos that can be created for people (or had been created).  It is truly an art form.

One guy walked into the parlor while I was seated and he talked to Sarah at length about the meaning behind his tattoos.  I realized that every tattoo on every person who has one has a story.  It’s like their own personal totem.  I also realize that some tattoos were simply a mistake and that’s where LaserAway comes in.  Just ask my daughter who is going through the process now of getting rid of a tattoo.

My choice of a dandelion is to convey hope.  I also added on three floating seeds to represent my girls.  I have nothing but a hope filled heart for each one of them.  If you’re interested in other meanings of dandelions, you can find them here.

Once Sarah had sketched my dandelion and three seeds, she brought it out to the waiting area to get my approval.  Of course I loved it!  It was perfect: just the right size, shape, and color.

She disappeared one more time to get her station ready for me, and then she welcomed me onto her table.  My daughter sat in a chair next to me and documented the event.  I was now freaking scared out of my mind that I was having out of body experiences.  I was floating above the table looking down on myself and wondering what the hell I was doing!

While I was freaking out, Sarah was busy prepping my leg and then she put the template on and asked if it was in the right location.  I got down off the table and walked over to the mirror to see if it was in the right spot.  Gazing into the mirror at my ankle, I kept telling myself that I could leave.  I could say, “Not today,” and walk out but being less than brave in front of my daughter was not an option, so I said, “Looks perfect.”

Devon asked, “You ready?”

“No but I’m doing it anyway.”  I really hope she remembers those words every time she’s up against something she’s afraid to do.

Before the Tattoo
The template has been placed

Before I knew it, Sarah was tattooing my leg.  Did it hurt?  Yes it did.  It hurt a fair amount.  It felt like a thousand bee stings all at once except when she moved the needle in upward strokes–then it felt like razor blades.  I twitched every once in a while but only when she hit a more sensitive area.  I must admit, though, that there were times when I zoned out and I got used to the pain–it wasn’t that bad.  I tuned it out.

Finally, after about 20 minutes (a time that felt more like 120), my tattoo was done and another bucket list item had been checked off.  I conquered my fear (with help from one of the little seeds), got to spend time with Devon, and ended up with a small story on my ankle that I plan to look at every single day.

Cathie is Tatted
Dandelion tattoo representing hope and my three darling daughters.
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2 thoughts on “Tattoo Ever After

  1. That looks so beautiful, love it! And I’m so glad that you went through with it. Sometimes we need to do things like that. It just goes to show that it’s usually not too late to do something we’d like to do.

    I laughed when I read this blog post, because a snowflake would be what I’d want to get, if I wanted a tattoo… and if that wasn’t possible, I’d go for a dandelion myself! (As you can tell from my blog, I LOVE those things!)

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